Stefan Valdobrev and The Usual Suspects embark on European tour


“We are sitting in front of the waves and on the sand with a guitar in hand, the bar is by the sea, and the sea by the bar… A morning without the alarm clock is like a sky without a cloud, someone has stopped the Earth...”

Lyrics of daydreaming in a quote from the latest hit “Po-poleka” (Take it easier) released by Stefan Vuldobrev and The Usual Suspects. The Bulgarian audience is well familiar with the popular actor and singer who is also the song-writer for the band's repertoire. And The Usual Suspects, as obvious, are well-known names from the Bulgarian music stage - Ivan Lechev and Miroslav Ivanov (guitars), Stoyan Yankulov (percussions), Vesselin Vesselinov-Eko (double bass). Their fans outside Bulgaria can hear them perform live this March in six European cities.

“The European Tour of the Usual Suspects begins on March 8, Women’s Day, at the cult U4 disco club - one of the most prestigious venues for club music in Vienna”, says Stefan Valdobrev in an interview for Radio Bulgaria. “The next evening we are in Munich and on March 10th in our beloved Berlin. The next weekend we have concerts in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Karlsruhe. At the same time last year we made a mini tour in Brussels, Luxembourg and London. Now we are doubling the number of cities and the repertoire is the usual one but there will be also new elements. It is in these cities that we will play for the first time and we want the concerts to be special. At the end of the program we will include a piece, not exactly a song, which is my take on Petko Slaveykov’s poem “Hubava si, tatkovino” (How beautiful you are, my fatherland”. We performed it at the New Year's Concert at Battenberg square downtown Sofia and the audience liked it. I think that Bulgarians living abroad will receive it warmly.”

At the concert in Vienna the band will be joined by a musician they call their "comrade-in-arms" Arabel Karajan. After living for nearly 20 years in Bulgaria, he returned to Austria some time ago and now the band has a duet with him entitled “Az li sam ili ne sam” (Am I or am I not). “We thought it would be nice for him to do this duet with us on stage because we have not seen each other for a long time and we all cherish him very much”, Valdobrev explains.

This season theatre lovers can see Stefan Valdobrev perform in six theatre productions, as his biography already includes dozens of significant roles in theatre and cinema as well as a highly successful documentary film as a director. Nevertheless, the wider audience is more familiar with his artistic appearances as a singer. „Perhaps that’s how it looks but my main path is acting," says Stefan. “I am currently playing at Theater 199 in the trilogy “Little play for a children's room”, “Pleasantly scary” and “The People of Oz” by the playwright Yana Borisova, directed by Galin Soev, also in theatres in Sliven and Plovdiv ... I also play in movies, but only in real cinema, I do not take part in series. All of these things are not so visible. I realize that songs are "more media-friendly", but I do not mind it because it's part of my path and even its beginning. I used to write songs, play and have a band as early as my school years... I played the piano for eight years, but then I decided I did not have the necessary patience and refused to apply for a music school. I continued with the guitar. I thought I'd enrolled in electric guitar lessons. It turned out that I would study classic guitar, but I fell in love with this instrument and for years I studied it with great desire. Then I was admitted to the Film and Theatre Academy, I started participating in roles for the University Theater, I graduated and so on…”

Stefan Valdobrev recorded his first album in 1994 entitled “Obicham te, mila” (I love you, my dear): “I was very busy in the theatre in this period, I was actively writing film and theatre music ... I could not afford to be a steady band member. We were a bit of a bizarre project - everyone was coming in and recording their part, not rehearsing, they could hear the finished record at the end. In 2012, after a 10-year pause on my part, I spontaneously felt that we had to get back together. We did several concerts within a week and I was quite surprised to see how many people know and remember the songs. And I thought everything was forgotten and this was just a beautiful moment left in the past. I gathered courage and energy and we decided to make a new album, and we called the band "The Usual Suspects". We were an "unnamed orchestra", now we are an orchestra with a name,” he says.

Stefan Valdobrev has recently started rehearsing for Evita musical at the Plovdiv Opera, where he will play the part of Che. “A "new Antonio Banderas" stands before you”, he says. “But I'm not looking for roles to act as a musician; I want my acting career to be without side crutches. Nor do I use the actor’s props when I’m on stage as a musician, though I could. From the age of 17, I have been involved with both arts and this is quite natural to me.”

English Rossitsa Petcova

Photo: BGNES

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