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Women’s Spaces Radio Show with host Elaine B. Holtz and guests the Melissae Ensemble performing Balkan Music, recorded on 8/20/18, has been uploaded to the web archives. The show was recorded, broadcast and streamed over Radio KBBF 89.1 FM in the NorthBay on Monday 8/20/18 and repeat broadcast and streamed over Radio KPCA 103.3 FM in Petaluma on Tuesday 8/21/18.

The link to the show’s archive webpage is


Announcements    (See Links below)

Featured Guests

1. Melissae Ensemble , Members include Karen Guggenheim, Darina Drapkin, Natalie Hicks, Carol Singer, Joli Jacobs, Jana Mariposa

Melissae Ensemble


1. Our Guests are the Melissae Ensemble of 6 women from the North Bay gathered in the studio with a drum and Bulgarian Bagpipe to sing in harmony Balkan Music for today’s show.  The singers share how they were introduced to the music and their love affair with it ever since.  The music is from prehistory, adapted to the changing dominating religion, such as dedicating songs Saint holy days during the Chirstian era. The bagpipe design is over 2,000 years old. They sing a special Bee Song, welcoming the Bees and their pollinating and honey and wax making. Six years ago the six women encircled Elaine since she helps Ken keep Bees, and sang the song of blessing of the bees, while she held a bowl of water.  After the song the water was sprinkled on the participants and some water brought to our hive to be sprinkled.  That summer attracted 4 more swarms and the next summer 7 more swarms to our little yard, to which we attribute the vibratory power of this song as sung by the Melissae Ensemble.

The Melissae Ensemble sing 3 songs:

First Song: Pchelitse, from Bulgaria – what a beautiful song.
Second Song: Domakine, from Macedonia
Third Song: Vecher e Rado, from Bulgaria

Ken beekeeping

Ken Norton beekeeping.  2013 Photo by Elaine B. Holtz

About our Guests:  Melissae Ensemble:

Karen Guggenheim lived in Bulgaria in the Communist era and has performed and taught Bulgarian music for 40 years.

Darina Drapkin,
a lifelong singer, was born in Russia and teaches music to children.

Natalie Hicks, a singing grandma from Lagunitas, has been singing Balkan music since the 1970s.

Carol Singer has been Balkan dancing since the 80s and singing the music since the year 2000.

Joli Jacobs has sung with Gradina and Melissae Ensemble for over 15 years and Balkan dancing since she could walk.

Jana Mariposa has been singing, dancing, and playing Balkan music since the 1970s, and danced the polka at age 4. She also grows flowers for bees.

Guest Links: http://traditionalfun.org/melissae.html

Honoring the Sacred Honeybee Ritual – youtube video of event in San Rafael

Bee on Lavender

Bee on Lavender   – 2013 Photo by Kenneth E. Norton


Announcement Links


21st Annual Petaluma Progressive Festival

August 26, Sunday, Noon – 5:30 PM featuring the SF Mime Troupe, and authors Daniel Ellsberg and Peter Phillips at Wallnut Park, Petaluma Blvd South and D Street, Petaluma, CA http://progressivefestival.org/


Music Selections:

The Opening and Closing Theme song is with permission of the Composer and Singer Alix Dobkin: The Woman in Your Life is You by Alix Dobkin from the album Living with Lavender Jane (Women’s Wax Works) – www.alixdobkin.com

May You Walk in your Life sung by Betsey Ross from the Album Welcome to the Circle (2006 Paper Crane Music)

Link to Spinitron.com Playlist of the Women’s Spaces Show