We introduce young, talented, positive and energetic folk singers Eva and Iva Valentinov, who proved themselves as one of the most successful duets on Bulgarian stage lately.
Eva and Iva are twins. They were born in the town of Pernik and their songs originate from Graovo – a pretty vast area with the town of Breznik as a center, situated in mid-West Bulgaria. Folk melodies here are really colorful. Many of the traditional samples are constructed over diaphonic singing.
“We have been a duet since our early childhood,” Eva says. “Verka Momchilova was our teacher. Later on we graduated the Filip Kutev National School for Folklore Art in the town of Kotel. We both graduated the vocal performing art specialty. Then we were also together students at the St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University – the music pedagogy faculty, where famous folk singer Svetla Karadjova was our lecturer. Currently we both continue with our education. I am a student in journalism at the Sofia University and Iva works in the field of science.”
The two young singers often work with the Graovska Mladost orchestra from the town of Pernik, headed by Ventsi Andonov. They also have joint projects with the Folk Music Orchestra with the BNR. The songs, recorded with the latter are arranged by fiddler Rossen Genkov.
Eva and Iva have found and recorded on their own some of the songs in their repertoire. “Sometimes we look in the thick books, where some suitable melodies can be found,” Iva says. At the moment she is a PhD with the Institute of Ethnography with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
“I do researches on the singing tradition in mid-West Bulgaria and modern transformations. It is very interesting – nowadays folk music lives under so different conditions, as the changes are everywhere – from the singers themselves to the melodies and lyrics.”
In 2009 Eva and Iva released their first own album, named Graovska Zemia.
“We have included our own melodies and lyrics in it,” Eva says. “We also look at folklore with the eyes of our generation. Our father Valentin Ivanov wrote the lyrics of the songs. Young accordionist and lecturer at the Sofia University Atanas Stoyanov composed the music. Mandolin player Sergey Stoinev is also among the performers included. We work with young jazz pianist Emanuil Penev too.”
Iva and Eva have been hosts of a radio show for young talents on the BNR since the beginning of 2012. They have won several contests too. They have been also tutors in folk singing and solmization for years in their own school, attended by talented children. “A person should follow his or her dreams,” both singers say. They are about to fulfill another one of their own – they prepare an album with jazz improvisations and ethno music.
Izgriala e Iasna Zvezda is the song that the twin singers call their visiting card. “We wish happiness to all listeners of Radio Bulgaria and a bright star always shining above their heads,” Eva and Iva Valentinov said in conclusion.
English version: Zhivko Stanchev