Once again I find myself reviewing music I know very little about. Kassia is said to be the first female composer of the western world whose name is known to us. I've read that roughly fifty of her hymns survive, though it is difficult to be absolutely sure because some anonymous material is mixed in. I assume that everything on this album was written by her.
What I do know is that this music is strange and beautiful. The ladies of VocaMe have beautiful voices, and they blend well together. The harmony is different, to say the least. I've heard one voice singing and one droning in chant before, but this is foreign to me. Whether it is truly Byzantine I don't know, but it sure sounds like it comes from that part of the world.
Maybe I'm totally off base on this, but it sounds right to me. The melodies are strange and wonderful, and the occasional hurdy-gurdy and lute accompaniment just adds to the total feel of Eastern, but not far-eastern music. I highly recommend it.