Last week I had the honour of featuring in one of Kevin Mulryne’s interviews celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Yes Music Podcast. Some topics discussed were my interest in Bulgarian Folklore Music, start of my online bass lessons project and, of course, Yes Music and Chris Squire.
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!
Here’s an “oldie” – my second YouTube bass cover, recorded in 2008. I tried to make a remaster out of it, although I don’t have the separate bass track anymore. At least YouTube encoding now is much better. The audio and video quality should have improved a bit overall!
Dear friends. After the “Sort-of-tutorial” videos that I published recently, I have been receiving requests to give classes online. I do have experience to teach in music schools and I am currently gathering the necessary gear and information to be able to teach bass lessons by Skype.
I intend to start with this project by September. Hopefully it will provide a chance for me to share my experience as a bass player in general terms and, in particular, what I have been learning through almost 30 years of studying and playing the work of Chris Squire.
I would love to hear your feedback about this, whether you are interesting in learning bass or if you had experiences with online lessons either as a student or teacher, so please post your comments or email me.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Bass: Rickenbacker 4001CS
Strings: Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD (45-105, stainless steel)
Signal conditioning: Boss LM-2 (limiter)
Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)
Signal path: Bass→LM-2→BDDI→PC
Almost after one year since Chris passed away, fans from all over the world unite to pay tribute to Our Hero. I would like to thank to all of those who took the time to be involved in this second edition, hoping that this video will demonstrate the singular love that Chris generated in so many fans, some of which are here so well represented.
Thank You Chris!
Episode 4 of the “sort-of-tutorial” series on Chris Squire and the 8-string bass is a kind contribution of Eric Ranney, who designed and built the Ranney 8-string bass. Details of the bass’ construction and all the story from the instruments’ conception to its première in the hands of Chris Squire are presented in this video.
I would like to express my gratitude to Eric Ranney for sharing this piece of Yes history, which I’m sure will captivate your interest.
Very special thanks to Keane Arase at keanespics.com for the photographs from the Chicago show.
Dear Friends, the second edition of “Play For Chris” is open to all who wish to join in a demonstration of thankfulness, remembering and celebrating the life and music of Chris Squire. Here’s how you can participate:
1 – Record a video of yourself singing or playing your instrument of choice, preferably something from Chris or Yes’ catalogue. Please act especially for this occasion. Do something now – in the Present – rather than using previously produced material – Play for Chris!
2 – Include a text message about your feelings for Chris, what his music means
to you. The text will be displayed along with your video.
If you don’t play or sing at all you may still participate by sending a video of yourself speaking, with a message stating your feelings for Chris.
Optionally you may send graphical content such as a drawing, painting or photo
composition about or dedicated to Chris.You can include the text message to be displayed along with the image.
3-Send your files to me (email@example.com) by the method you prefer, just let me know. The limit date is the 30th of April 2016. Please try to keep your contributions up to 90 seconds and allow me to edit them, if needed, in order to fit all contributions in one clip, and as evenly as possible.
Let’s keep celebrating Chris’ music here on earth and, as the name says,
to keep playing for Chris!
Here is “Soft as a Dove” – recorded on the night of the 4th of March, in honour of Chris’ 68th birthday. Happy Birthday, Chris!
This is the first (sort of) tutorial video of a series I am doing about Chris playing the 8-string bass. I began on episode 3, talking about the use of the Ranney bass from 90125 on.