Tag Archives: Rachenitsa

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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Video

Koprivshtica 2010

(i) “Koprivshtica sings!” . I would like to share with you some of my wonderful experience at the Koprivshtica festival in Bulgaria.

With the few pictures and video clips I was able to record, I hope you will taste a bit of the atmosphere of this unique event, celebrated only every 5 years, and to enjoy the music, dances and colours…

(ii) One of the highlights of this segment is an off-stage performance by a choir that was leaving after their act on the regular program (see part one). As they were leaving, they heard the song that was at the moment being sung at the nearby stage and they naturally sang along, just as naturally as anyone breathes – this is their life, after all.

The last section is the evening at the centre of the village, with the Horo dances, at one of the restaurants.

(iii) The program was arranged so that on each stage would perform groups from each folkloric zone of Bulgaria. I can’t remember all right now, so any of you Bulgarian friends watching this… I would like to add some information on the comments… thank you! :)

(iv) Two more ensembles in Koprivshtica, including the famous “Ku-ku”

(v) This section focuses on the Horo dances and I try to figure out some of the odd-time signatures used. The images become a bit dark but the music never has been so spectacular!

(vi) Last bits recorded at Koprivshtica 2010. Hope you like it!