Category Archives: More Music

Video

Bulgarian summer report 2016

A little bit late but I’d like to report another year of great musical moments in Bulgaria this summer!

I should start by mentioning my gadulka lessons, with my dear teacher, Dr. Angel Dobrev, of the Bulgarian National Radio Folklore Orchestra, who this year introduced me to new challenges in Bulgarian music. Here is a little from our lessons where we play two types of 7/8 meter. The Rachenitsa and the Dospatsko Horo.

I also attended the recording of a TV show with the group “Arta”, including top Bulgarian musicians such as Kostadin Genchev (kaval), Hristina Beleva (gadulka), Petar Milanov (in a mix of tambura with guitar that himself has constructed), Ivan Tsonkov (tapan) and Petyo Kostadinov (bagpipe).

Then I went to Plovdiv, to see Ensemble Trakia, one of my favourite Bulgarian acts, which features Stela Petrova on bass, who last year provided me a great masterclass on doublebass applied to Bulgarian folk. I was delighted to see them on soundcheck, performance and even next day at work, rehearsing.

I also got in touch with Ensemble Trakia’s soloist Darina Slavcheva Slavova, who despite her young age, is a multi awarded singer, teacher and producer. I learned Darina released her book, a research work of Thracian melodies from Bulgaria and Greece, carefully documented not only with technical details as scales, meter and ornaments but also the context in which each melody was used. Although it’s written in Bulgarian, the universal language of music makes this work appealing for foreigners who wish to learn more about Bulgarian folklore and shows how this art is so seriously handled as to be kept at the highest standards. Here is Darina in a breathtaking performance, joined by the beautiful kaval of Temelko Ivanov.

Still in the Trakia region, I attended a show by the Young Thracians orchestra (Mladi Trakiytsi) – a genre usually classified in the west as Bulgarian wedding music. Their lead singer Vania Valkova, one of the top singers in Bulgaria, kindly informed me of this show which I could not miss. The orchestra played with 3 singers, drums, bass synth (very common in wedding groups), clarinet, kaval (traditional flute), accordion and saxophone. The rhythm section was so tight playing the whole night that gave me the impression to be a single unit and the gentleman behind the kit is one of the best drummers I ever saw. I encourage you to look for other videos of this orchestra, with better quality than these, and you will certainly agree with me!

Well, this post is getting rather long, but I would just like to sincerely express my gratitude to all of those who welcomed me to Bulgaria this year. Especially for my dear hosts Nina Koleva and Tihomir Kolev and family, Stela Petrova and Radostin Rusev, Dimcho Enchev, Dimitar Arnaudov, Darina Slavcheva Slavova and all the members of Ensemble Trakia, Vania Valkova, Temelko Ivanov, Petar Milanov, Boryana Vasileva, and my dear teacher Angel Dobrev. Thank you for taking care of me and I hope to see you all soon!

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Basso3 – double-bass trio

For over a year I’m teaming up with fellow bass players Alvaro Rosso and José Miguel Pereira in a double-bass trio format – Basso3 (facebook page)

Since around 2009 I have started to experiment with other musicians from the improvisation field, in particular participating on the MIA encounters and more recently at the MEIA festival in Aveiro. It was precisely on the opening edition of this event that the concert now registered in the shape of an album took place, in a brilliant effort by the Pássaro Vago label.

The album is on free streaming but the CD may also be purchased at Pássaro Vago’s bancamp page.

I hope these new sounds will capture your imagination!

Video

Interview at Bulgarian National Television

This morning I was interviewed by Bulgarian National Television about my interest for Bulgarian Folklore, along with my Gadulka teacher Angel Dobrev.

bntWe played a duet consisting of a study in the format Paydushko Horo, a traditional Bulgarian dance in 5/8.

You can watch the video at https://www.bnt.bg/bg/a/migel-falkao-portugaletsa-t-kojto-sviri-na-ga-dulka

Video

Ensemble “Trakia” 40th anniversary concert with Stela Petrova on bass

Last Sunday I had the privilege of attending a session with Stela Petrova, bassist at the Ensemble “Trakia”. Later, on that unforgettable day, I watched Ensemble “Trakia” on their 40th anniversary concert, at the Ancient roman Theatre, in the historical city of Plovdiv. I carefully chose my place at the first row to watch Stela playing up close. The ensemble is composed by dancers, a choir and an orchestra, where Stela plays the double bass, the only non-traditional instrument in the group. Stela’s role is exclusively to provide orchestral support and probably the only element which will never take a solo spot in any presentation, yet Stela provides the bottom end during the whole performance which totally drives the whole show, essential for the rhythm section, and consequently setting the pace for the extraordinary dancers to perform intricate choreographies, defining harmony for the choir and orchestra, and allowing soloists to shine.

Hopefully, the footage I have gathered will show, despite of the audio quality of my recording, the often disregarded role of the double-bass in a Bulgarian folk ensemble, which is in reality vital. Stela also told me that many of the songs, by the great composer Stefan Mutafchiev, do not have bass scores originally, so Stela actually composed many basslines, for Stefan Mutafchiev gave the freedom for the bass player to develop them. Stela also has shown me different versions of songs, where she was playing different basslines of the same song, such as “Oi, Shope, Shope” which closes the first part of the footage.

The second part ends with the great finale, where many of the 4ooo attendants join the ensemble to dance onstage, bringing the celebration to a spectacular apotheosis.

Although I opted to film mostly Stela and his orchestra mates, the show is much more a dance and vocal show for the majority of the audience, so I add below and excerpt from the show, as broadcasted live by the Bulgarian National Television and I encourage you to look for more audience recordings of this and other shows of Ensemble “Trakia” to complement your perspective of the beautiful show of colour and movement provided by one of the most relevant artistic institutions of Bulgaria.

Video

Bulgarian Bass session with Stela Petrova

A session in Bulgarian Music with bass star Stela Petrova. During this two-hour session, Stela taught me how to play 3 songs. One, in a very tricky (for me) form of 9/8, from her band Diva Reka, is named “Happy Nine” and composed by one of the great kaval (Bulgarian flute) players of Bulgaria, band mate Kostadin Genchev. Two others, in 7/8, from the highly prestiged Ensemble Trakia, by great Bulgarian Composer Stefan Mutafchiev. Later, Stela would kindly demonstrate on video excerpts of “Happy Nine” and “Oi, Shope, Shope”. Hoping one day I will make my own versions of these and more wonderful Bulgarian Music.

Here’s Stela with Diva Reka playing “Vesela Devyatka” (Happy Nine)

As for  “Oi, Shope, Shope”, Stela pointed out that the actual meter is 13/16, but it’s simplified to 7/8 for music sheet, meaning that the actual duration of the first and last beats are not exactly equal, as in 7/8 (2+2+1+2).

Here’s the Trakia Ensemble orchestra and choir, performing “Oi, Shope, Shope”, joined by the “Cosmic Voices” choir.

Video

Bulgarian Folk Music session with Angel Dobrev and Petar Milanov

Dear Friends, I am again now in Bulgaria, for a second year of learning more about the wonderful Bulgarian traditional music. Last year I started to learn Gadulka, the Bulgarian fiddle, with Professor Angel Dobrev, Gadulka extraordinaire of the Folk Orchestra of Bulgarian National Radio and Gadulka luthier, who made my own gadulka.

The gadulka standard tuning is A E A , but besides the 3 main strings there are 11 resonant strings with the chromatic scale (except A, maybe because there’s already two As) which makes the gadulka sound so unique.

On this very special session, I had the immense pleasure of playing with one of my favourite musicians – Petar Milanov, guitarrist of the National Ensemble Filip Kutev Ensemble.

I was given the role of playing the main melody, a Daychovo Horo – a dance in 9/8 meter, while Angel and Petar provided harmony, which was totally improvised over the melody. We recorded two takes, meaning two completely different arrangements.

I believe that you will like the richness of Bulgarian Folk Music, and hopefully this will catch your interest to discover more of it. There is a lot to choose from, from melody, harmony, to time signatures and the virtuosity of the players, singers and choirs. Not forgetting the uniqueness of the Bulgarian instruments such as the Tambura, Kaval, Gaida and, of course, Gadulka.

I think in general Bulgarian folk has many elements that can attract Yesfans!

Video

20th International Folk Festival Plovdiv 2014

Here’s some more footage from last summer in Bulgaria last summer. This time we are in the Trakia region, city of Plovdiv, where the 20th International Folklore Festival took place. The afternoon was very hot and this was the last day of the festival. There were folk groups from Bulgaria and also from other countries. The second video is the evening show, in the Roman amphitheatre  in the historical centre of Plovdiv.

The stars of both shows were the home formation, the Trakia Ensemble. Established in 1974 by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, this is one of the most highly reputed Folk formations of the country in traditional music and choreography. Musically, its orchestra and choir have been directed by distinguished composers/conductors such as Stefan Mutafchiev, Lyuben Dosev and Dimitar Hristov, among many others.

If you do recognize the groups of artists or the songs here performed, please write me so I can add this information to the video annotations.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the images!

Video

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

This week I started to put some bass tracks with my friends of Lulas Belhas. As this year I haven’t made any special Christmas video, I post here Lulas Belhas’ Christmas message (in Portuguese).

Of course you can still re-visit some of my previous Christmas clips, such as Run With The Fox, Personent Hodie or Silent Night.

I would like to wish to all friends throughout the internet Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hoping all the best for 2015!

Thank you, as always, for being here!

Miguel

Video

Can’t Fight This Feeling

And now for something completely different… It’s… one of my ever favourite basslines, played by REO Speedwagon’s Bruce Hall.

Video

Pirin Sings

Continuing to present my video recordings from Bulgaria last summer, we travel to the southeast, to the Pirin mountains. The festival “Pirin Sings” was one of the highlights from my stay in Bulgaria. You will see the atmosphere of this festival: performances, rehearsals and surroundings – all in a beautiful scenery of Predel, Razlog. The main purpose of this festival is to preserve the authenticity of the artistic traditions of this region of Bulgaria.

If you do recognize the groups of artists or the songs here performed, please write me so I can add this information to the video annotations.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the images!