Ancient melodies and rhythms revisited in MyStory of Folklore

Photo: private library

MyStory is a new project created by several folk musicians and a DJ. The first two words are written together, almost like Mystery - the word people have been using for decades to describe Bulgarian folklore around the world. Of course, the title reminds of the famous choir "Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices" and the series of albums with the same title, which have collected recordings of several renowned folklore ensembles. MyStory musicians also say that the title is a tribute to the old masters who have preserved traditions and crafts during centuries. Nevertheless, performers have a very different approach. The focus is placed on the mystery that allows for Bulgarian folklore to be mixed with various styles and sounds. More from singer Maria Alexandrova:

"We started to work actively on the project in 2016, along with well-known musicians of the Folk Orchestra of the BNR - Hristina Beleva (rebec) and Angel Dimitrov - tamboura and guitar, as well as the percussionist Petar Yordanov - Bunny (known from the band "Oratnitsa") and Martin Donovski, who takes care of the electronic sound. The first time we presented this music was at the Drum'n'Jazz festival in Plovdiv, but the official premiere is on November 13, 7 pm in Sofia Live Club. We will also show our first video to one of the songs. We started this project with the idea of presenting Bulgarian folklore in a way that is more accessible to the younger generation, with the music being suitable for clubs, for dancing. We try to mix Bulgarian folklore with rock, reggae, acoustic and electronic sound, at times there are some eastern sounds ... So, the full title is My Story of Folklore - each of us, the participants, has a story related to folklore. For example, my way as a folk singer started in my childhood, I graduated from the Lyubomir Pipkov Music Academy and the NBU with folk singing in the class of Nelka Petkova. I'm part of vocal trio Eurydice. I try to find songs for the project that are not so popular and not overexposed yet. We strive, together with our colleagues, to present them so that people can accept them as something close to them. In the project we perform songs from different folklore areas - Shoppe, Rhodope, Pirin. Each of them has its own stylistic features. I aim at preserving the typical manner of performance, to pass on what I have learned from my teachers, grandparents."

Here is what Hristina Beleva, who takes part in a number of non-standard projects related to folklore, told us about this one:

"Music is an infinite space. It is either nice and pleasant to listen to, or sounds "distant" and does not reach people. We are sincere in this project, there is good energy between us and I think the project works out well. We are excited, it is interesting. Sometimes Martin gives the rhythm, I play a melody and Angel harmonizes all... In almost every play we have the opportunity for improvisation and everyone can tell their story. This is another distinctive quality of music - it's a story. For me it's like a therapy - I'm telling the most merry and sad things. Sometimes it is difficult to say some things in words, but music is universal language. There are no frames in it. Maybe the most important thing is to like the people you play with. Then inspiration comes from everywhere - from a good word or a chaotic chord, your solo could turn into an unsuspected direction. Let's hope we can continue to enrich each other and further develop the project."

English: Alexander Markov

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