The more audacious we are, the bigger the chances someone will sit up and take notice: Zhivko Vasilev about Outhentic’s debut album


Outhentic Trio was founded around five years ago. Zhivko Vasilev, kaval (shepherd’s flute) is a graduate of the Dobri Hristov National School of Arts in Varna, his sister Rayna Vasileva has graduated the same school, only folk singing. Victor Jorgov, the trio’s guitarist went to the National School of Folklore Arts in Shiroka Luka and plays the bagpipes. All three went on to study at the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia and it was then that they decided to set up an ethno formation of their own.

СнимкаThe year was 2012. For all those who may have thought there is some mistake in the spelling of the trio’s name, let us explain: Outhentic is wordplay with “out” and “authentic”. In other words – outside what is authentic, but sticking close to it.

Here is Zhivko with more about the band and the album the musicians presented a few days ago:

“YesToday is our debut album. The title is again play-on-words – from “yesterday” and “today”. The idea is that with our art we say “yes” to throwing a bridge between music tradition of yesterday and of today. We are all fond of different styles in music. I myself am a huge jazz buff. I work with many jazz musicians and perform with them all the time. The way I now look at music is completely different. At one point a symbiosis between jazz and folklore was simply inevitable. As a band we came together when we were at university. I was the first to go and study there, then my sister joined me. In the meantime we’d struck up a friendship with Victor and we were playing together. We came up with the first song almost as a laugh. We posted it on Facebook and it quickly grew quite popular."

"As soon as I came to Sofia I found myself going to a terrific seminar, organized by Misho Yossifov and Villy Stoyanov. There I made the acquaintance of many musicians, later I was to work with one of the participants and with a host of other jazz musicians. I have recently been working with Juan Garcia-Herreros – a marvelous bass player with a Grammy nomination. I even guest perform in an album of his, he plays in ours. The pieces in YesToday are folk songs, arranged by ourselves. It is, in fact, pure experiment. I think that the more audacious we are, the bigger the chances someone will sit up and take notice of what we are doing.”

“Kaval playing”, “A bright sun shining”, “Kalina fetching water” – these are the titles of just some of the popular folk songs the young performers are experimenting with. The album also features two songs they have composed themselves, a blend of folklore, jazz, funk and pop. Besides the Outhentic trio, YesToday features a host of guest performers.

“We are constantly meeting new people in this country and abroad, it goes with the profession", Zhivko Vasilev goes on to say. "And, only naturally, we play together in the album. Besides Juan Garcia-Herreros, another one of our very special guests is percussionist Stoyan Yankulov. And also – vocalist Gabriela Patovska who joins in one of the songs. We invited Dominik Leto – Hawaiian guitar, Mathias Vorauer, double bass. Svilen Angelov who lives in Austria plays different electronic pianos, he also mastered the tracks in the album.”

The guest performers featured include seven more musicians playing different instruments, including classical guitar and cello. Zhivko adds to this incredible diversity of sound with electronic percussion, Rossitsa – with percussion. The band recently took part in an event that was really thrilling - Glastonbury Festival in the UK – where they were a success.

“It’s a huge festival, with an audience of more than 200,000 every day,” Zhivko says. “It takes place over five days and it really is unique. It has 79 stages with an average of 12 bands or musicians performing on each one of them every day. The location is about 30 kilometers in diameter. In the UK it is the event of the year and it was a real pleasure for us to be able to take part. We earned the approval of colleagues and of the audience and we met lots of interesting people.”

When they returned from Glastonbury, Outhentic took part in the WakeЪп (WakeUp) festival in the Rhodope Mountain, in a location overlooking the town of Kouklen. The trio have other summer gigs coming up where they will be playing music from their new album.

English version: Milena Daynova

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