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Megan Danforth, left, Peia Luzzi and Cyrise Beatty-Schachter are Wild Honey. Photo by Nisha Burton

Wild Honey sings world folk at Britt

World-folk music is the thing that pulls Wild Honey — vocal trio Peia Luzzi, Megan Danforth and Cyrise Schachter — together.

The songs the women sing are not from any collective, ethnic background. There's something else that draws them to world folk — it's the peoples' music, the everyday commoners who sing about life, grief, celebration or feasting, Danforth says.

"It can be a lullaby, a song about losing a child, a song about spirituality," she says. "The music can be from any region in the world. If we love it, we sing it."

That is, if Danforth, Luzzi and Schachter learned each song from someone they trust is versed in its particular tradition. They will not bring anything to the stage unless they've learned it directly from someone who knows its source.

Such world-folk authorities are found by working directly through Rogue World Music, a nonprofit organization established in 2009 by Danforth. She works closely with another nonprofit called Village Harmony. Based in Vermont, it has hosted international world-folk music camps for the past 25 years, she says.

"The teachers that conduct those camps are just amazing," Danforth says. "They are South African, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and they travel back to their home countries all of the time. The camps can be found in South Africa, the Caucasus, Europe or even Macedonia. I've attended only one, and that was in Georgia. That particular style of folk music is one of my favorites."

Wild Honey will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, in the Britt Performance Garden, 350 S. First St., Jacksonville. Tickets are $18, $8 for ages 3 to 12, and free for kids 2 and younger. Tickets can be purchased online at brittfest.org, at the box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford, or by calling 541-773-6077.

Under the umbrella of Rogue World Music, there is an adult ensemble, which is Rogue World Ensemble, a children's ensemble called Rogue World Choristers, and folk dances and visiting artists' concerts and workshops.

"I bring specialized teachers here to the Rogue Valley to work with Wild Honey and our other ensembles," Danforth says. "Wild Honey often gets private workshops with these teachers."

One such incident involved an international Skype session with a Moravian folk singer from the Czech Republic.

"I was listening to an album by Marta Topferova, who was singing traditional folk songs from Eastern Europe," Danforth says. "There was a song on the album that I loved. So I emailed her and asked if I could learn it from her. We were able to create a Skype — with an 11-hour time difference — to learn that song directly from Marta. She worked with us on pronunciation and timing.

"We work hard at representing each of the traditions that we sing, which are many, with the right regional flavor, tone and language," she says.

The song, "Muzikanti," will be presented at Wild Honey's show.

"It's a song that calls the musicians to start the bass, the cymbals," she says. "It's a call to all parts of the band to begin performing."

Wild Honey represents the Caucasus, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Hungary, as well as Southern Americana styles of Appalachian gospel and bluegrass in their program. Look also for Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Corsican and Israeli pieces.

See a video of Hungarian folk song "Szerelem" online at www.mailtribune.com/tempo.

"We learned that song from a woman named Moira Smiley," Danforth says. "She travels internationally with her own group representing and singing world-folk styles."

Danforth, Luzzi and Schachter sing their music in first, second and third voices.

"I usually sing the middle part, Cyrise the bottom and Peia the top," Danforth says. "The parts are flexible, or at least our voices are flexible to move between the parts. Folk music tends to stay in a humane range. It's meant for all people to sing. It's not a crazy, high-octave operatic style.

"What we've discovered about our songs is that there's something beautifully raw and intimate about three voices singing with spare instrumentation. It's not over-hyped with grooves and big sounds. Our vocals are primarily very forward, and many of our songs are a cappella."

Wild Honey will mix several songs with instrumentation by percussionist Matthew Kriemelman and Kevin Carr playing Irish frame drum, pipes, fiddle and banjo at the show.

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