ascent magazine 14 summer 2002
By Juniper Glass
During the performance of Zeellia, a Vancouver-based women's vocal ensemble, I feel connected to people from another time as well as another place. The ensemble brings alive the pre-Christian music of their Ukrainian foremothers. The group's affection for the music radiates. Introducing a song in praise of grain, they explain: "The belief was that the ancestors lived in the fields and orchards helping them to grow. The ancestors live in the songs as well, helping those who sing and hear them to grow."
Amazingly, I find that it is true- the music of these women who lived so long ago, passed on by the women here now on the stage, helps me. As I listen to the songs, which celebrate feminine power and recognize the joy and sorrow in daily life, I feel renewed courage to accept these aspects of myself.
Beverly Dobrinsky of Zeellia says that when she sings, she listens to "the entire sound that is generated." Her animated voice falls silent for a moment. She makes a rounding motion in with her hands, from her heart to the air around her. With this simple motion she conveys unity, a connection among performer, listener, and the essence of sound itself.'