We feature Chavdar Panev, one of the renowned Bulgarian rock musicians from the end of the 20th century. He could not see the coming of the new century but left dozens of lyrics and songs that will be part of Bulgarian music forever. “He was not an ordinary man. It was as if he came from another dimension,” says his wife Svetla. He left this world suddenly. “He left a rough world, a world of money that he could hardly be a part of. He went to a world of music, and to his idol John Lennon.” A heart attack took Chavdar’s life at 42, just a few months after winning an award with his band The Sprint.
Chavdar Panev was born in Sofia and fell in love with the guitar when he was a student. He even made his first guitar by himself. His teacher in music convinced him he had talent in singing too. Chavdar Panev had been writing poems since he was a child and some of those later turned into lyrics of his songs. He made his first record in the Bulgarian National Radio with the Impuls band. The year was 1980. It was the same year when a bad accident took place. There was a party in an apartment in Sofia and Chavdar was sitting on the terrace when a young girl accidentally pushed him and he fell from the 4th floor. Everyone rushed to see what happened and found Chavdar alive. He had a few broken ribs and had to recover for a couple of months during which the Impuls band found a new singer in order not to miss planned concerts. At that time drummer Peyo Peev was also looking for musicians to join th new Sprint Band nad Chavdar Panev joined as a bass guitar player and singer. He worked with the band to the very end of his life in 1997. Together with pianist and composer Asen Dragnev and guitarist Viktor Grancharov, replaced later by Evgeni Simeonov, the Sprint band quickly gained popularity and many of their songs reached the top positions in the music charts of the Bulgarian National Radio.
In the end of the 80s the band had a number of successful tours in Europe and Asia, while frontman Chavdar Panev enjoyed great popularity among fans, especially women. However, he always left the concert with the same woman. Svetla was an actress and later became a journalist in BNR and she definitely was an inspiration to a number of his songs.
In the beginning of the 90s the great political and economic changes in Bulgaria made people rally in the streets and forget for concerts for a while. A number of bands broke up in that period or their members started a new type of business. Chavdar Panev, however, continued to write music. His band decided to work on the cruise ships in Northern Europe but he stayed in Bulgaria and the best of his lyrics were born in those harsh years.
In 1992 Chavdar Panev was again with his band The Sprint and their new songs again became hits in Bulgaria. An album entitled ”In which century?” was released and the title song won the first prize at the Golden Orpheus Festival in this country.
In 2012 The Sprint marks its 30th anniversary, unfortunately without Chavdar Panev. The musicians say they are to make a film about the band and Chavdar Panev’s son would participate in it. The band also hope to release 11 unheard songs of Snezhana Petkova, written by Chavdar Panev.
English: Alexander Markov