Neli Andreeva and her songs from Rhodope Mountain’s heart

Photo: personal archive
Wonderful Bulgarian singer Neli Andreeva was born in May 1976, in the southern Bulgarian town of Asenovgrad. She grew up in the Narechen resort, situated in the glorious mountain of Rhodope. She learnt there her first folklore songs – her mother and grandmother taught the young girl. Those traced her route as a professional musician.

Neli graduated the Shiroka Laka school of music and folklore instruments in 1995. She got married to gadulka player Georgi Andreev – a virtuoso performer and composer, who is now a conductor of the Filip Kutev Ensemble. The talented couple has two beautiful daughters. Kalina and Yoanna already sing in a children’s folk trio along with their mother. Neli Andreeva has been a member of the Filip Kutev National Ensemble for 16 years. She has participated in thousands of concerts all over the globe as a soloist of the ensemble.

The Galiam, Galiam /Like, Love/ CD, released in December 2011 was Neli’s third album. She says about it: “This product was expected for too long and I am glad that it is now on the market. Its name appeared spontaneously from the first song of the album. I have included some of the favorite Rhodope songs, performed in a different manner. Male Le, Stara Maichinko /Oh, Old Mother/ was the first song that I ever learnt from my grandmother. Ripni Kalinke, Petlite Peiat, Sabrali Sme Se, Nabrali and other titles are part of the CD. My husband Georgi Andreev arranged the songs and pipe players Nedyalko Nedyalkov and Liubomir Zhelev take part in the recordings, along with bagpipe performer Kostadin Atanasov, tambourine and contrabass player Petar Milanov, percussionist Genadii Rashkov... They are all magnificent musicians and I thank them!”

Neli Andreeva shares with her fans that each song of the album is particularly precious and brings the emotional power of her birthplace. Izplela Sam Ti /I Have Knitted For You/ is the favorite song of my mother; Snoshti Si Minah /I Passed By Last Night/ is another piece that I learnt from the magnificent women in the village of Gela, Smolian region. Each of the songs is related to memories and emotions and perhaps that is why those are so affectionate, Neli says.

Prof. Dr. Elena Kuteva says on this musical project: “Neli has unique voice that reveals the whole beauty of the Rhodope song. The mood of the funny songs brings a smile, while the lyrical ones carry tenderness and mildness. I was really impressed by the astonishing Kozhelio song. The whole CD gives pleasure to the fans”.

The beautiful Rhodope village of Gela, situated above the town of Shiroka Laka is the love of singer Neli Andreeva and her husband, who own a piece of land there. They hope to build a house on it someday that will turn into the most special place in the world for them.

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

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