The Pittsburgh Tamburitzans Expand Their Repertoire Under New Leadership

May 14, 2019

Tamburitza folk music is inherently a genre of many cultures – it’s played by a family of lute guitars that combine the Persian tanbur with a mandolin and classical guitar. The music traditionally celebrates the culture of Eastern European countries, but the new executive director of the Pittsburgh Tamburitzans is hoping to expand the reach of their repertoire to include countries like Greece and Ireland.

The Tamburitzans, known affectionately as "The Tammies," have been performing traditional folk dances for more than 80 years. The young performers are full-time students who have chosen to continue the Tamburitzans' legacy by bringing international cultures to the modern stage.
Credit Courtesy of The Tamburitzans

Robin Miller, incoming executive director of the Tamburitzans, is taking the group’s traditional live stage show and transforming it into a new experience that incorporates a number of other cultures and styles of dance and music. She says she wants to take the audience on a journey.

“As you go through our show, you’re sort of transported from one culture into the next,” she says. “We’re just trying to bring more diversity to our group.”

The "Tammies" were for many years known as the Duquense University Tamburitzans, but after the group became an independent nonprofit, students from other area colleges have applied to become members. Miller joins The Confluence to discuss her vision for the group’s future, increasing diversity among its members and what she’s looking forward to in the Tamburitzans’ upcoming season

Later in the program:

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And more than 15 years after Allegheny County Council passed an ordinance requiring its elections division to create a system for candidates to file their campaign finance reports electronically, that system has yet to be designed. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Chris Huffaker has been asking questions about the hold up. He reports that for over a decade, concerned citizens have only had access to a database of paper filings scanned and posted online by the county. The reports are not searchable, meaning users have to read through the report manually.

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich and Avery Keatley contributed to this program. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.