Where I learned to love girls.

For at least two of my three years at UCLA, I was a member of the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, aka “Superdevoiche”. (I was also a member of the Anglo American Ensemble, aka “Trailerpark McShank” but that’s another story altogether.) The choir usually had about 14 girls, which included only two Bulgarian speakers, and only one of those was actually Bulgarian at the time. They’re both Bulgarian now. Anyway, we girls would get together every Monday night at 7pm in the big ensemble room in the ethnomusicology wing of the Schoenberg Music Building. We’d circle up, link arms at the elbows, and sing utterly meaningless (to all but two of us) strings of syllables set to some of the most awesome melodies and harmonies you can imagine. We were asked to forget the vocal training we got from the concert choir. We were expected to be able to tap our toes to meters like 7/8 and 11/16. We sang loud, and in minor seconds. We wore all black with a “splash of leopard” to a gig once at a rock club in San Francisco, for extra exotic effect. I remember having to juggle parts around when one of us was out sick. I remember the stress of trying to remember the words. I remember the joy of having a whole room full of people circle up and dance around us while we sang. We had parties, roadtrips, extra rehearsals, all kinds of performances, and a cd recording project. I’ve never before and never since bonded with a large group of girls like this. For the times we stood together and sang together, these girls were my best friends in the whole world.

There’s a certain kind of music girls make when they’re together in groups. It’s kind of like when the starlings invade a single treetop, every branch covered in birds, chattering, squawking, flapping, giggling. The music of girls is laughter, words like “like”, rising/racing voices…and lots of touching. This is a piece of a rehearsal I recorded in May, 2001, in that big ensemble room at UCLA. It’s not perfect, but you can maybe imagine all of us standing in a tight circle, arms linked at the elbow. With special pre-song “girl music”.

Dragana I Slaveya:

This track is off Superdevoiche’s first cd, and was recorded in the organ room just off the courtyard at the music building at UCLA. This particular song was a duet between Lea Hume and myself. We practiced it together over the phone.

Makya Yana Na Daleko Dava:


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4 responses to “Where I learned to love girls.”

  1. Carmen says :

    Christie! Thank you for putting this up. I lovely journey back into that time.
    *Carmen (Doane) Barkan

  2. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile says :

    Hi Christie, I’ve been catching up on emails this evening, and listening to various interesting posts on your website – I’m obviously on broadband in a friend’s house, with little else to do this Sunday night. I really like this post of the Bulgarian songs… there’s beauty there. I think I can feel my ears smiling 🙂 le grá, Deirdre

  3. Laurel Isbister says :

    hey Christie! Remember me? Great to see your blog – very nice! I hope you’ve been doing well. Your kitten is adorable. Where are you now? I hope you are loving life…cheers, Laurel

  4. lynn says :

    hi there
    was just googling superdevoiche and came across your blog. thanks for your amazing description of how girls make music and bond together!!
    Next week I’m going to be interviewing women from the current group on Feminist Magazine radio – 4/29/09
    listen live at 7pm, 90.7 FM or streaming live or download at kpfk.org

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