Pirin Pee (Pirin Sings) Folklore Festival

Photo: BТА
The 13th edition of the Pirin Sings Folklore Festival was held on 4 and 5 August in the locality of Predela stuck between two alpine mountains, Rila and Pirin in Southwestern Bulgaria. Stay with us with a few musical highlights from the event.

The song you have just heard, Pirin Mountain, was performed by a men’s vocal group from the town of Bansko. The group was founded back in 1962 for the first edition of the Pirin Sings Folklore Festival. In 1985 the festival was interrupted but resumed in the 1990s. It is impressive not only with its unmistakable music but also with its majestic mountainous scenery that becomes alive with many singers and musicians in colorful traditional costumes who present their art on several open-air stages.

© Photo: BТА

This year the festival was organized by the Municipality of Razlog. The 13th edition attracted more than 2500 participants and 30,000-strong audiences. A special jury had made the selection of performers. Every participant was given a special Pirin Sings Diploma. The best among them will be invited to join the next national Folklore Festival in Koprivshtitsa. Senior officials visited the event including Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev. My attendance is a matter of sentiment, as you know that this is my native region. These are the traditions, rituals and songs of my mother and grandmother, and of my friends, the president said.

© Photo: Valya Bozhilova

The rebec trio from the village of Breznitsa with 8-year old Mustafa - the youngest performer at the festival

The song Yellow Golden Wheat was performed at Stage 3. The singers, a women’s vocal group from the village of Satovcha, presented a most archaic high-pitched style of singing. For this style they were given Herder Prize at the end of 20 c. The jury led by Prof. Lozanka Peytcheva appreciated the performers from the village of Dobarsko who competed in the section of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. The Stage 4 jury included composer and conductor Dimitar Hristov. Here are his impressions:
“I am very pleased with what I heard at Stage 4. I have been following the development of the festival for a couple of years. It is rewarding that there are many children and young people here meaning that the treasure of folklore is handed over to the younger generations,” Dimitar Hristov said.

© Photo: BGNES

This has been the men’s vocal group from the village of Breznitsa. At Stage 2 of Pirin Sings 2012 we heard the vocal group from the village of Ablanitsa.


© Photo: Valya Bozhilova

The Pirin Sings festival has grown into a magnet for foreign guests. This year lovers of authentic folklore from UK, Russia, Portugal, Belgium and Holland came over to the event. We bring you the impressions of Simone Vandenbussche, a historian and tourist guide from Brussels (audio) 

The guide of a 31-strong group from Belgium, Holland and France, Bernard Dutois who speaks Bulgarian, said more about Pirin Sings 2012:
“The Bulgarian folklore is so moving, especially the dancing patterns. This festival is focused on songs that we love very much too. We are keen on the music of the Pirin region with its outstanding melody, harmony and rhythms that sound so unusual to us. The Pirin region combines great music with lovely scenery and crystal air. We will be back, I think.”  

© Photo: BТА

The Pirin Sings Festival took place not only on its stages but also around them: where singers held rehearsals, in lush meadows where chain dances were danced, and even during meals.

Translated by Daniela Konstantinova

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