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.
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.
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