Bulgarian Music

It is no wonder that Bulgaria is again attracting world attention as "A musical miracle". It was here in this ancient Thracian land that Orpheus, the great hero of Greek Mythology was born, the son of the Muse Calliope and King Oeagrus (according to other sources, Apollo is also referred to as Orpheus’ father). He lived in the 6th century B.C. and was the greatest musician and poet of Greek myth, whose songs could charm wild beasts and coax even rocks and trees into movement. He was one of the Argonauts, and when the ship of fifty oars named “Argo” (after Argus, its builder) had to pass the island of the Sirens, it was Orpheus' music that prevented the crew from being lured to destruction.

The songs as performed today by the Trio "Bulgarka" have always accompanied the Bulgarians - in their work and play, in times of historical upsurge and in times of trial, in joy and sorrow. This great longing for melody has helped to create songs everywhere, for any occasion.

Trio "Bulgarka"  

The traditional Bulgarian folk song is homophonic; it sounds single-voiced. Its rhythm and wealth range from fantastic for a foreigner’s ear pitches, to primitive monotony. Bulgarians prefer the recitative, declamation is melodious, and the verse conforms to the melody.

Bulgaria's musical instruments are also many and diverse. They are within three groups: wind instruments (pipe, shepherd's pipe, bagpipe, wooden pipe), string instruments (rebec, pandore), and percussion instruments (drum).

Bulgarian voices are almost a mystery. There seems to be no explanation of the incredible range of the Bulgarian voice. Its unique sound was universally acknowledged - when the popular Rhodopean folk song "Izlel e Delyu Haidutin", sung by the talented singer Valya Balkanska, was recorded on a gold record then sent as a message to outer space on the American space station Voyager in 1977.

One of Bulgaria’s greatest musical treasures are the incredible opera talents. Bulgaria has given the world some of the most eminent XX-th century opera singers who performed on the best scenes and were admired by audiences all over the world – Boris Hristov, Rayna Kabaivanska, Nikola Gyuzelev, Gena Dimitrova and many others.

Bulgaria is experiencing a boom in the pop music today – very talented young musicians and bands appeared, and are immensely popular. You can hear good-quality Bulgarian pop music almost everywhere, and a large variety of radio stations are playing local pop predominantly

Another popular branch of music, called “pop-folk” is also extremely popular today – it consists of different regional styles or style mixtures, having various origins - the popular music of ethnic minorities like gypsies, the Balkan music traditions of the neighbouring countries, the regional folk and many others. There appears a direct connotation to the East, to Turkish and Arabian dance music in the Balkans' local folk cultures and such has existed in some degree for hundreds of years. Musical purists insist that “pop-folk” unfortunately is a symbol of cultural decay and bad taste.

Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares  

Bulgarian music increased in western popularity in the late 80s with some CD's that were released under the title Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares. These were choirs of women with an unusual voice quality produced in the throat, yet very different from bel-canto singing. It was striking! Very loud, powerful and resonant, an interesting mixture of the slightly exotic and the slightly familiar.

Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares were many times nominated for Grammy Award, and finally received it in 1990. This became part of the new "world music culture" awareness, which started in the late 80s in the United States and other countries.