Monday, August 9, 2010

Bulgarian Singing Demystified.....

Many years ago, a Swiss music producer and ethnomusicologist, Marcel Cellier, discovered gold in Bulgaria.

This gold was a group of singers, who were known as the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. They have since changed their name to the Mystery of Bulgarian Voices.

This is their performance of the song: "Dilmano Dilbero".

Cellier created two albums titled "The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices", which introduced the beauty of Bulgarian singing to Americans who had never heard this kind of music before. This album put Bulgaria on the map, especially in the United States. Americans liked it so much that Volume II won a Grammy award in 1990. The group gave concert tours around the world in the late 80's and early 90's and also appeared on a late night TV show:

Although the Mystery of Bulgarian Voices was quite popular in America, there are different styles of Bulgarian singing that didn't become quite as popular here, except amongst folk dancers and fans of Balkan folklore. This is the stuff people either love or hate, like bagpipe (gaida) music. There is no middle ground. See my earlier post on bagpipe music for an explanation:

Here is something in a totally different style, from the Pirin region, located in southwestern Bulgaria. The performers are the Bisserov sisters. The video has subtitles, but I wonder how much of the song is lost in translation :)

My daughter's reaction to it was "plug in the headphones, and get me an Advil."

Here's another song from the same region, performed by Tatiana Sarbinska. It's her best known song, "Katerino Mome."

By the way, Ms. Sarbinska teaches Bulgarian singing in the Boston area, and the members of Divi Zheni (wild women) are not Bulgarians, but Americans who are crazy about Bulgarian folklore.

The Boston Globe has an article about them:

The next video is of Divi Zheni, performing with Zornitsa (men's choral group, also from Boston) at the Koprivshtitsa festival, Bulgaria, August, 2010:

This is an American group from the West Coast. They do an excellent job with the Bulgarian folk song Ergen Dedo. It's worth a listen, despite the background noise.

If you have neighbors who annoy you constantly with their obnoxious loud music, here is a way you can get back at them. Americans, in general, are not fond of singing accompanied by Rhodope bagpipes. For the best effect, use loudspeakers and turn the volume up as high as you can.

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