Theodosii Spassov (born 1961)

Theodosii Spassov (born 1961)

1/1/2012 12:00:00 AM

The eminent Bulgarian musician is often a guest to his beloved Plovdiv on various cultural occasions. The virtuoso, who is the most popular shepherd flute “kaval” ‘s jazz performer, is practically the very first shepherd flute’s player that takes the popular traditional “kaval” out of the realm of pure folklore, introducing it broadly into classical music and jazz and transforming it into an attractive musical instrument able to render a large scale of feelings, moods and images…

What makes Plovdiv so dear to Theodosii Spassov, so that he always calls it “my most favorite city”? Back in 1989, when Theodosii was still a student at the then Musical Pedagogical Institute (now widely-known as the Plovdiv Academy of Music and Dance Arts), his unquestionable talent attracted the attention of Plovdiv’s eminent jazzman, Milcho Leviev. He was the one to call Theodosii Spassov “the kaval-player of the Universe”, thus giving birth to one of Theodosii’s most popular nicknames.  Here, at the Plovdiv Academy of Music and Dance Arts, Theodosii Spassov met fellow musicians much attracted to jazz and experimenting with it – Vesselin Nikolov, Yildiz Ibrahimova, Ognyan Videv, Darin Burnev, Vesselin Koychev…. The group got larger, and soon the Vesselin Nikolov Sextet Band got born. They traveled around the country, participating in many festivals, jazz sessions… They traveled to Moscow, Cypress, Greece. Plovdiv was also the place where the kaval-player meets his wife, the actress Boyka Velkova.  Their love got born in the Plovdiv Theatre, where she was acting at that time… That love was the reason why theatre has always been the musician’s “second scene” …

Theodosii Spassov’s debut, though, was not in Plovdiv but at the small-scale scene in his native town of Isperikh. He used to tune along with his father, a magnificent singer of folklore songs and the old town songs… The tradition pushed the teenager to try studying at the Kotel Musical School, and two years later he thought of giving it all up… It was only his great respect to his father that has saved Theodosii for Bulgarian music.

“The kaval is a traditional wedding bands instrument”, Theodosii says. “And Plovdiv was the right place to perform wedding band music. I used to play with groups like the Canaries, the Rhodopes, and the Hissar Group. I traveled Bulgaria up and down, far and wide. That kind of music gave me great strength and routine. It was the reason why I am not afraid of playing any more …”, admits the great kaval-player.

For about 15 years now, Theodosii Spassov and his kaval capture the Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and USA. His fifteen CDs are released all over the world and become highly popular. Theodosii Spassov also plays and records film music as well. The Newsweek magazine announced him in the year 2000 as one of the most talented musicians of Eastern Europe. Theodosii Spassov is an honorable citizen of Detroit. Composing brought him fame. He loves composing film and theatre music. Pieces of music composed by him could be heard in films much-talked-about, such as “Frontier” and “Burn, flame, burn”. He composed the music for the theatrical performance “Fish are praying for rain”, which kept staying quite some time on the stage of the National Theatre. In that play, his wife, the actress Boyka Velkova, demonstrated her unique dancing abilities, acquired while studying in the Ballet School.

Composing is also one of the commitments he feels unable to decline. “When somebody knocks at your door, you cannot but open it”, that is how the musician explains his constant state of working. Nevertheless, he keeps dreaming of the time he would retire from stage, so that he will have all his time “for the other things in life”…  But he always sees his future bound to his home land. “I am Bulgarian, and that is how the world sees me… I don’t need any masks. I could look anyway I wish but this is only due to the fact that I always think as a Bulgarian”, is the firm statement of Theodosii Spassov.

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