Folklore opened my eyes for perfection: Elena Bozhkova

Author:



The genes of musicality and the local singing tradition have been dominating Elena Bozhkova’s life ever since her childhood in her native village of Resilovo, near Dupnitsa, Central Western Bulgaria. Her love and loyalty for the original Shoppe folk songs have made her one of the most renowned singers from that folklore region.

Elena Bozhkovagained experience and mastered her vocal skills at the Bulgarian National Radio Folk Song Ensemble which she joined in 1972. Her solo and group performances have contributed to the remarkable achievements of the ensemble that was later renamed to LeMystère desVoixBulgares. This took place after the launch of the second part of the album of the same name. The CD produced by Swiss Marcel Cellier won a Grammy in 1990.

During the concert tours with the celebrated group her voice has echoed in the most prestigious halls of Europe and America: Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Halletc.

Going back in time, I remember the moment I first comprehended the sonority of the choir LeMystère desVoixBulgares”, Elena Bozhkova recalls. “Thousands of rays rushed to me and my soul bathed in burning daylight. We embarked on unknown paths merging the art of the singers and the conductor on their way to triumph. My eyes were opened for perfection. An important step for me to make – based on the talent endowed by God – was to work very hard to be able to sing the way the paragons of folk singing at the BNR Folk Music Ensemble sang – NadezhdaHvoineva, Olga Borisova, KremenaStancheva, KalinkaValcheva. They provided brilliant examples of a timbre combination with incredible sound.”

Elena Bozhkovais holder of a range of national and international prizes: gold medal from the International Folk Music Competition of Radio Bratislava (1981), a distinction from the Danube Music Festival in Novi Sad (1986),a plaque and diploma of the Ministry of Culture(2004), StaraPlanina order (2008)and many others.The experience gained at LeMystère desVoixBulgaresas well as the higher learning degree she received from NeofitRilsky South-West University in Blagoevgrad have been important for her work as pedagogue. For years the singer has been leading amateur folk music groups in Sofia and its suburbs Kurilo, Vrazhdebna and Novi Iskar.

I have diverse quests and interests”, Elena says. “I have used what I was given by the conductors KrassimirKyurkchiiski, Dora Hristova, DimitarDinev, GeorgiGenov and Stefan Mutafchiev. I have applied their experience as conductor of amateur groups – Chubrichanche at DobryChintulov cultural center in Sofia, Chuchuligi (Swallows) inVrazhdebna, the men’s vocal group inKurilo and Omainiglasove (Enchanting Voices) in Novi Iskar. With one of my students PolinaPaunova we joined the project Wild Voices. The books I have written have been inspired by my love for folklore. Six of them have been published so far: Love, Mothers, With the Pulse of LeMystère desVoixBulgares, Between God and Fire, Buttercup and the Wild Music of the Shoppe. I am currently working on a manual for female wingers who work more intensively with their vocal systems.

Elena Bozhkovatells us about a moving experience during a concert of the choir LeMystère desVoixBulgaresin Turin, Italy.

“We had to stand on the third floor of a building in the center of the city. We should stand 6 m from each other. The distance between me and my partner who performed the low pitched part in the Shoppe diaphony was even bigger than that. You can imagine how hard it was to achieve synchronized singing. Still, the concert was unique. Prof. Dora Hristova was conducting from the square. We felt like heavenly angels and the sound fell down like cosmic rain on the audience that gave us a storm of applause. We always sing live. They offered a playback option at the Turin concert but we refused. It was a great trial for us but we did so well. I love my jobso much!”

English Daniela Konstantinova

Photo: library

More from category

Miroslava Taskova: "Children are eagerly acquiring various skills when linked to Bulgarian history"

One of the greatest saints and miracle workers of the 4th century, Saint Spyridon, used to be ‘simple in nature, humble in heart and gracious in life’, as it was recorded. Today the Orthodox Church honors his memory. In traditional Bulgarian..

published on 12/12/18 4:29 PM

Lack of young people condemns traditional crafts to extinction

Bulgarians have always had a taste for beauty and although they have often lived very modestly, they use many exquisite items inherited from ancestors, made by themselves or by the skillful hand of a craftsman. These also include hand-woven..

published on 12/10/18 9:00 AM

Elitza Folk Choir marks its 30th anniversary

In 2018 Elitza Folk Choir marks its 30 th anniversary. The rich history of the choir includes numerous concerts and participations at different music festivals. Elitza Choir released two CDs and its third CD will be recorded in 2019...

published on 12/5/18 1:34 PM