Affectionately dubbed a “punk rock version of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares”,
Black Sea Hotel’s distinct yet unified voices create a harmonic blend that is often
called otherworldly, haunting, even spellbinding.
The ensemble (Sarah Small, Shelley Thomas, and Willa Roberts) gathers songs from
master singers, archival field recordings, and large mid-century choral arrangements,
and boldly reimagines them. The woman have carved out an unusual niche for themselves at the nexus between between Balkan folksong and new music. Repertoire ranges from lilting, chillingly sparse, and achingly beautiful
to strident, tightly dissonant, packed, and unpredictable.
The trio was featured on Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble’s GRAMMY winning album,
Sing Me Home (Best World Music Album of 2017). Other highlights include collaborations with Kronos Quartet, Kremena Stancheva (soloist, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares),
The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond,
The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens), beat-boxer Adam Matta (Carolina Chocolate Drops),
and a myriad of brass bands. The group has written and recorded works for film
and live installation, including for Josephine Decker’s
psychological thriller feature, "Butter on the Latch”, which landed on
The New Yorker’s “10 Best Movies of 2014”, and Dirt Empire’s 90’ diameter, 40-channel speaker, immersive ARC Dome. The work premiered at NYC’s Panorama Festival (2017).
Black Sea Hotel's performances and recordings have been praised by
The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, David Byrne, and National Public Radio. Their first record debuted at #2 on iTunes World Music’s top albums, and the trio has since been broadcast live on Public Radio International’s The World Global Hit Segment, on John Schaefer’s Soundcheck WNYC, as well as on
WFMU, WNYC, WAMU, KUNM, KSFR, and Sirius XM Radio.
The group tours regularly and leads classes, workshops and lecture-demos in Balkan singing across the U.S. In Fall 2018, the ensemble toured and taught throughout Scandinavia where they headlined the Lund Choral Festival.
Black Sea Hotel is currently arranging works for their third album
and is planning their second European tour for Fall 2019.