Varna Summer Jazz Festival - true professionalism, albeit in a boutique form

| updated on 8/1/18 4:34 PM

The jazz forum held within the framework of Varna Summer International Music Festival traditionally features an interesting program, famous names from the world music scene, as well as the young hopefuls of the so-called "free music". It takes place outdoors - in the English Court of the Varna-based Archaeological Museum. The latest 27th edition of the festivalwas held on a miniature scale - four concerts in the course of one weekend. First on stage appeared the musicians from Bartosz Dworak Quartet- very good instrumentalists with unconventional thinking.

More from violinist Bartosz Dworak in an interview for Radio Bulgaria:


Many jazz aficionados discovered the Exotica trio which gathers distinguished musicians together - saxophonist Chico Freeman, bass player Heiri Känzig and percussionist Reto Weber. Recognized as one of the most prominent contemporary musicians, Chico Freeman has performed at other music forums in Bulgaria such as the Plovdiv Jazz Festival, at Apolonia festival in Sozopol, etc. More from him:


Reto Weber, an incredible master of the percussions, plays also the Hang, a popular instrument he himself invented.

We heard also the impressions of Otmar Klammer, a music editor in a major Austrian newspaper and organizer of the Graz Jazz Festival, also the artistic director of a jazz club in the same city. He first came to the Varna jazz festival back in 1994. Since then he has been attending the event every year.

The event is held with the support of the Municipality of Varna and the Ministry of Culture. The excellent selection of performers at the Varna Festival is thanks to Anatoliy Vapirov - a remarkable saxophonist with a rich network of professional contactsall over the world.

For these 27 years, hundreds of musicians have played on the festival stage, including Mel Waldron, Yuri Kuznetsov, Albert Mangelsdorff, Rumen Toskov - Rupeto, Hristo Yotsov, Stoyan Yankulov, Antoni Donchev and many others”, Mr. Vapirov said on the eve of the festival. Unfortunately, there are no sponsors from the city in the last few years. Nevertheless, we invited remarkable musicians. Even a star such as Chico Freeman. For nearly 10 years, we've been trying to make a concert of the Canadian band Shuffle Demons, but it could never work out. That's why I'm happy that they will close this year’s edition of the festival.”

However, it turned out that the band failed to arrive also this time (for reasons beyond the control of the organizers). They were replaced on stage by much-loved and popular names - one of our most talented trumpeters Rossen Zahariev and drummer Sandy Daniel. In the company of Ayuune Sulle of Ghana who plays the kologo, a traditional Ghanaian guitar which is used by the shamans to play while healing, they presented a magnificent blend of jazz and ethno music.


After that, David Helbock's Random/Control, a band well-known in Bulgaria,held the closing gig in this year’s festival edition.

Photos: Albena Bezovska

More from category
Stoyo Krushkin (seated, second from the left) and his band, Stilton, Pennsylvania, USA, 1915

Stoyo Krushkin and his Bulgarian Balkan Band

Stoyo Krushkin was one of the first Bulgarian military guard musicians after the country’s liberation. Soon after the Bulgarian army was restored, in 1878, a decision was taken to set up a military brass band. The government concluded a..

published on 12/16/18 8:15 AM

Prof. Irene Markoff from Canada: Bulgaria is my second home country

Irene Markoff is a professor of music at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she was born. She is the founder and head of a Bulgarian folk songs choir "Ot Izvora” and the band “Meden Glas” (Sweet Voice), which performs Bulgarian and..

published on 12/15/18 12:35 PM

Pre-Christmas concert by Vanya Moneva choir at St. Sofia church

The event is organized by the Sofia Bishopric, with the blessing of Bulgarian Patriarch and Metropolitan of Sofia Neophyte. The concert is on 16 December at 6 PM, in the ancient church St. Sofia, a cross basilica with three altars with an..

published on 12/14/18 1:41 PM