In May 2013 Matt Grimes and I were part of the BCU delegation that went on a mobility to Varna, Bulgaria as part of the IMMHIVE project.
Matt is the Degree Leader for Music Industries here at BCU, whilst I am a visiting lecturer on the same degree course. Our task for the 3-day visit was to undertake an investigation into the music scene in the city, and in particular to explore vocational education, music heritage and tourism, and the music industries.
We were fortunate enough to meet a few people from Varna who were heavilty involved in the independent music scene in the city. They were kind enough to sit and be interviewed.
Maria Grozeva is a music journalist with experience of working in Varna and elsewhere in Bulgaria. She is also a university graduate and had some useful insights into vocational education in Bulgaria.
Kobo Tsetkov is a musician who plays in a number of bands, most notably the Ska-Punk band High 5. In the video he talks about the local music scene, and also how he was taught to play guitar by a famous Bulgarian jazz-man.
As well as being kind enough to talk to us at length about their own experiences, Kobo and Maria also took us on a tour of musical points of interest in the city. This short video is an edited version of what was a fascinating and often very funny tour.
Maria, Kobo and others we met reported feeling ‘outside’ of the dominant culture in Varna. So much so that different sub-cultural groups (punks, Hip Hop fans, metal fans) often grouped together and acted as one larger group, which is interesting if you consider the often tribal nature and behaviour of sub-cultural groups in the UK. The Metal Shop in the city also served as the only dedicated outlet for Hip Hop, which would appear to support this.
Varna is located on the Black Sea and, along with being a port, is a popular seaside resort. Along the beachfront there are numerous nightclubs and bars offering various forms of music-related entertainment. By far the most popular, it would seem, is a form of music known as Shalga. A Bulgarian student here at BCU advised us ahead of our trip that Shalga had taken many of the visually prominent images often associated with certain types of US Hip Hop (expensive cars, jewellery, semi-naked women, etc) as it’s basis. This would certainly seem to be born out in the way in which Shalga is promoted around the city.
Matt and I also had some time during which we explored on our own, and we managed to take a lot of photographs between us. Hopefully these, along with the videos above, convey a sense of what we found during our visit.
Kavarna Rock Fest is an annual event which is held in Kavarna – a small city located on the coastline of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. Every summer the organizers of Kavarna Rock Fest invite different rock groups which come and make concerts. Some of the biggest and most popular bands have already participated in the rock fest. Every year thousands of Bulgarian and foreign rock fans join in Kavarna to see their favorite bands!
Elitsa Todorova is a Bulgarian folk singer and a musician percussionist. In 2007, together with her music partner, Stoyan Yankulov, she got selected to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest with the ethno-drum interpretation of the folk song “Вода” (“Water”) and represented Bulgaria at the finals in Helsinki, winning fifth place. The participation of the two musicians is so far the best representation of Bulgaria on Eurovision.
In May 2013, at the coming Eurovision Song Contest, Elitsa and Stoyan will perform for the second time. They will offer an initial selection of five songs that fit the rules of the contest – with a length of not more than three minutes and a date of release not earlier than September 1, 2012. A Commission of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) will eventually select three of them.
The admitted songs will be performed in a television show on March 3, 2013, when the viewers and a jury will evaluate the tracks. During the live broadcast, the viewers will have the opportunity to vote by sending a text message to given phone numbers. The song, which has gathered the highest number of votes by both the viewers and the elected jury, will be the one to be performed on Eurovision.
The two semi-finals and the grand final of Eurovision 2013 will be held on 14, 16 and 18 May 2013 in Sweden, where the last year’s Eurovision winner Loreen comes from.
The story behind the Bulgarian song in space - “Излел е Дельо хайдутин” (in English: “Delio rebel has come out”) – A Bulgarian folk song, interpreted by Valya Balkanska2013-02-12 16:34:12
The story behind the Bulgarian song in space – “Излел е Дельо хайдутин” (in English: “Delio rebel has come out”) – A Bulgarian folk song, interpreted by Valya Balkanska
The story of the song:
Delio rebel was born in Zlatograd, Bulgaria. During the most powerful conversion to Islam of the Bulgarian Rhodope population in the last quarter of the XVIII century, he was strongly defending the Christians. According to the legend, Delio fell in love with the Bulgarian Muslim Gyulsyume. Although the Turks were torturing her to betray him, she stayed true to her love and warned Delio that the Turks were prosecuting him.It has been claimed that the song used to have 40 verses.
The song in space:
Its brilliant interpretation by the Bulgarian folk singer, Valya Balkanska, which you can find in the link below, made the song Излел е Дельо хайдутин (“Delio rebel has come out”) the first one to sound in the space in 1977 as a message from the Earth.