Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Mary Sherhart (Seattle) is a singer, performer and teacher, honored and accepted as a gifted singer in the traditional urban genre of Bosnia and Hercegovina, sevdah. In June 2006, she toured for three weeks nationally with legendary artist Omer Pobric, from Bosnia and Hercegovina, to major diaspora communities throughout the US. This was a continuation of a collaboration started during her July 2005 residency with Pobric at the Sevdah Institute, located outside of Sarajevo. Sherhart’s recordings, Nostalgic Songs from a Balkan Café and Somewhere Far Away with her group Balkan Cabaret are broadcast in Bulgaria and throughout former Yugoslavia. Balkan Cabaret was nominated as a Best Band, world music category, in Seattle Weekly’s 2003 and 2004 Music Showcases. Sherhart has collaborated with many musicians over the years including: world renowned guitarist Miroslav Tadic, Amy Denio, pianist Milen Kirov and Croatian composer Tomislav Uhlik. She also has worked with many Northwest groups, including: Kultur Shock; Ruze Dalmatinke; Radost; Vela Luka Croatian Ensemble; Balkanarama; Nisava; Bonboni; and a number of community choirs which include: Seattle Pro Musica, Pacifica Children’s Choir and the City Cantabile Choir. Sherhart has created numerous musical projects which engage the ethnic communities and build bridges between them and the general public, and is a recent recipient of the Ethnic Heritage Council’s Aspasia Phoutrides Pulakis Award. Sherhart is a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Washington Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, as well as president of their alumni and friends board. She holds a degree in liberal studies from Antioch University with concentrations in both ethnomusicology and arts management.

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Mary held a public workshop on Balkan singing in cooperation with Centrum in Port Townsend. Mary gave the 40+ participants an overview of the rich variety of traditional Slavic singing styles found in the relatively small geographic area of the Balkans (which includes Bulgaria, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia), as well as the opportunity to sing with live musicians. Mary taught two songs in depth, and distributed song sheets for additional songs that were spontaneously sung with the accompaniment of Mary’s group Balkan Cabaret. Each song sheet included notation, text, translation and background into the context and source of the song. Mary also provided complementary CDs of each workshop song. Later than evening, Mary and Balkan Cabaret performed at the Upstage Restaurant in Port Townsend where people experienced the music with friends, food and line dancing. The joy on everyone’s faces was tribute to the magic of music and community.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.