Village Harmony

Three Virtual Specialty Study Weeks: Corsica, Iran & Ukraine

Date: June 12-18, July 18-23, August 8-12, 2021
Venue: Zoom
Leaders: Frederic Vesperini, Reza Saffari, Nadia Tarnawsky, Inna Kovtun
Price: $250, with a tier of self-selected fee options as low as $100.

International Specialty Week Courses

This summer we are offering three longer and interactive genre-specific courses, offering singers the chance to dig deeper into some wonderful singing traditions with feedback from our teachers.

Each of these courses are timed to allow participation by singers on both sides of the Atlantic, with six days of live zoom sessions with direct and interactive teaching from expert native instructors. Following each teaching session, pronunciation, demonstration performances, voice parts recordings, word sheets and scores (as appropriate) will be uploaded as resources to participants’ personal accounts on Village Harmony’s online learning platform.

The main daily live zoom lesson time for each specialty week is listed below. Additional coaching and question-answer sessions beyond the scheduled daily session will be scheduled based on the time zones of participants.

The background resource files, audio and video practice and performance tracks and recorded zoom lessons will remain available to participants through June 1, 2022.

June 13-18: Corsican Week, led by Frederic Vesperini and other members of Spartimu Ensemble.

Above: The five members (one is joining in by zoom) rehearsing one of many traditional versions of the “Kyrie eleison” from the Catholic mass.

Fred’s classes will take place from 1:00-2:30pm EDT. This year’s plans include individual coaching and live trio singing via zoom—as inherent internet latency is not actually so bad for naturally-staggered Corsican polyphony.

July 18-23: Persian Folk Music Week, led by Iranian singer Reza Saffari.

Above: Reza’s version “Jinge Jan”, a traditional folk song from Gilan Province, Iran.

Reza’s classes (including that Sunday’s) will take place 11:00am-12:30pm EDT. Reza will teach us several of his own arrangements of traditional Iranian folk songs, demonstrate and discuss other folk and classical Persian songs, and teach us the rudiments of several styles of ornamentation.

August 8-13: Ukrainian Week, led by Nadia Tarnawsky & Inna Kovtun.

Above: Nadia (on the right) in an online collaboration singing “Oy zaydy zaydy”.

Nadia & Inna’s classes will take place from 1:00-2:30pm EDT. The week will include song-learning sessions utilizing lyrical songs, seasonal songs and ritualistic songs from a variety of the regions in Ukraine which feature polyphonic singing. Special emphasis will be placed on the vocal timbre of the distinct regions and their respective ornamentation. Time will be taken to share traditional folk dancing, stories and recipes from Ukraine. We hope to also enjoy visits with special guests (as the pandemic allows). Nadia will be teaching from her home in Cleveland, Ohio and Inna will be zooming in from Kyiv, Ukraine.


Full tuition for each 6-day course, with full access to the online learning platform resources, is $250, with a tier of self-selected fee options as low as $100. 

The financial impact of the pandemic era has been, to put it mildly, uneven. While our full tuitions have been set at levels needed to support our faculty, we are offering tiers of self-selected reduced price options for each of our courses with the aim to allow anyone who wants to do so to join us this summer. Please do not hesitate to choose a tuition level that you can afford.

If you are in a position to do so, feel free to make a tax-deductible donation over and above your tuition when you register.

Apply Now!


Frederic Vesperini

Frederic VesperiniSpartimu EnsembleFREDERIC VESPERINI of Ajaccio, Corsica is a long-time member (and currently director) of Ensemble Spartimu. Specializing in the traditional folk and sacred polyphony of Corsica, the ensemble is regularly invited to in prestigious international festivals, most recently including trips to Sardinia, to Poland and to Tbilisi, Georgia. Over the past decade the ensemble has have added brilliant performances of music from the Republic of Georgia to their repertoire. Spartimu has recorded two CDs. Village Harmony has met to share music with Fred and Spartimu in Ajaccio on nearly every trip we have made to Corsica since 2004.


Reza Saffari

Reza Saffari (born May 23, 1991), is an Iranian pop singer, songwriter, actor, painter and illustrator from Gilan Province in northwestern Iran. Reza started learning solfège and music theory since he was 13. Four years later, at the age of 17, he started his career as a pop singer. He also is in love with, and likes to perform, traditional folk music from his home region Gilan, sung in the Gilaki dialect. A good way to get an idea of what Reza is up to is by going to his YouTube channel:

Nadia Tarnawsky

TarnawskyNadiaNadia Tarnawsky has been studying Eastern European singing techniques for nearly three decades. In 2002 she received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship which allowed her to travel to Ukraine to collect folk songs and folklore. She has taught Ukrainian village style singing in workshops for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York city, Village Harmony in Vermont and Oregon, the Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble in San Francisco, and the Black Forest Fancies in New Orleans among others. In 2011 she received a Traditional Arts Fellowship from Artist Trust. She sang under the tutelage of Yevgeny Yefremov with Ensemble Hilka of New York in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster in Ukraine.  A recording of this repertoire was recently released on the Smithsonian Folkways label.


Inna Kovtun

Sitting at a table of elderly song-bearers, their table completely covered with food harvested from their fields as they sing songs that reach into the depth of your soul and remain in your heart.  Songs of love, of the changing seasons, of loss.  This is the manner in which Inna Kovtun, artistic director of the Rozhanytsia and Kalyna ensembles of Kyiv, Ukraine has collected songs and folk dances in the Ukrainian countryside. We are excited to have her join us from Kyiv for the first time this summer.