Iritchka’s sparkling, versatile soprano voice has warm, delicate shades, sounds piercingly explosive sometimes, and is always fluent in oriental ornamentation. As a singer and as a teacher, she is much appreciated for her passionate song interpretation and inspiring presentation.
Iritchka (stage name of Iris Ficker) was born and raised in the Netherlands. The charismatic singer with Indonesian, English and German roots grew up in contrasting cultures and always had an ear for the music around her. Since early childhood she sang traditional music, later on Balkan and Russian. Her Javanese grandmother stimulated the loud singing by letting her perform the songs while getting her weekly massage. She in turn immersed Iritchka in her old krontjong cassette-tapes, Indonesian gamelan music and her omnipresent electronic organ playing. At the age of 17, she bought a saz, studied Turkish songs for a number of years and performed with Turkish, Dutch and her own songs. She studied repeatedly and for longer periods with renowned singers from the vocal traditions of Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the traditional America’s, England and Ireland. In recent years Iritchka was best known as soprano from the “Pauni Trio”, celebrated for their fresh and innovative approach to Bulgarian polyphony.
In concerts, Iritchka mainly sings from the traditions of Bulgaria, the Balkans, gipsy-Roma and the Netherlands, and performs with her loopstation to create new songs and soundscapes.
Iritchka collaborated with Balkan- and other artists in varying degrees and forms (performing, guest-artist, tours, recording, teaching) including: Jelena Kostic (Serb.), Kasha Nasha, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, DASH !, Chalice Well (Germany), Northern Harmony (USA), Galina Durmushliyska (Bulgaria), Merlijn Twaalfhoven, Zarjanka (Russia/NL’s) and Lirio. For the contemporary dance performance “A mood for deep longing”, by choreographer Jelena Kostic, Iritchka collaborated with composers Strijbos and van Rijswijk to create the songs for this piece and with it she gained much recognition as a singer-performer.
Over the years Iritchka toured both tiny stages and prestigious venues and festivals at home and abroad including: Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, De Doelen, Vredenburg, Paradiso, Tivoli, BIMhuis, Festival Mundial, Music Meeting Festival, and festivals in Mexico, England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, USA, Bulgaria, Russia and Georgia.
Iritchka performs as a solo artist, as a duo accompanied by an accordionist, with the Pauni Trio and with the band Kasha Nasha. A solo EP artist is now in preparation.