Based out of Santa Cruz, CA, Zambra sings glorious global vocal music
in over 15 languages.
Founded by Therese Hall Johannesson in 1994, Zambra was originally
a bilingual community women’s choir (and for a couple of seasons also included
a children's choir), but has since evolved into a smaller performing
ensemble of ten accomplished singers.
We mostly perform a capella, but sometimes include traditional accompaniment
such as bodhran (frame drum), dumbec, dulcimer, fiddle, flute and guitar. Our
eclectic approach reflects the varied musical backgrounds of our members. A typical program might weave together Renaissance polyphony, early American shape note hymns,
traditional Sephardic laments, Scots Gaelic waulking tunes, Bulgarian wedding songs,
or French Canadian ballads. Though the repertoire is diverse, the sound and approach
is consistently "Zambra," featuring many original arrangements by member Kathleen
Loveless, and an attention to unifying musical and thematic threads across cultures.
Zambra is available to sing for public and private functions throughout the Bay Area.
Past performances have included the Cabrillo Music Festival, First Night Santa Cruz,
First Night Monterey, concert series of The Monterey Museum of Art and Santa Cruz
Public Libraries, Santa Cruz Accapellafest, Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, Voices of the People,
Cabrillo College Women's Conference, and numerous other events. Equally at
home in the stage, sanctuary, or home setting, we have opened for
feminist speakers such as Betty Friedan and Angela Davis, serenaded elementary
school children, and provided intimate music for healing and hospice.
We also offer special holiday programs of
seasonal vocal music for corporate,
community and family parties, and a concert-length set of Jewish music.
Besides being a performing ensemble, Zambra is also a close group of long-time
friends. The social and personal aspects of Zambra were highlighted in profiles on us in the
Santa Cruz Sentinel on June 25, 2009 and December 15, 2005.