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Shepherd flute player Nedyalko Nedyalkov

Nedyalko Nedyalkov is one of the best young instrumentalists in Bulgarian folklore. He plays the shepherd’s flute, composes and arranges songs, preserving the spirit of tradition. He has been involved in a series of interesting projects over the past few years. More details – in the interview of Radio Bulgaria’s Albena Bezovska. We kick off with Krivo Horo /Bandy Chain Dance/ from Nedyalko’s album, named Izkustvoto na Kavala /The Art of Shepherd’s Flute/.

The performer was born in a family of musicians from the southern town of Haskovo, famous with its traditions in folk music. Nedyalko started with accordion first, but later on discovered his passion for the ancient shepherd’s flute – a woodwind instrument, similar to the West European block flute. He graduated the National School for Folklore Arts in the Rhodope village of Shiroka Laka, followed then by the Plovdiv Music Academy. 

“I used to listen not only to Bulgarian folk and Balkan music since the very beginning, but also to anything that would attract my attention – jazz, classical music…" Nedyalko explains. Many new radios appeared during my student years in Plovdiv, broadcasting new and unknown performers. I was constantly looking for albums with the idea to learn more and more. My imagination was provoked by this environment of diverse music.”

Nedyalko used to be a soloist of the Academic Folk Orchestra during his studies in Plovdiv and soon after graduating he was invited to join the Folk Music Orchestra with the BNR. He has worked there ever since. We offer you next the piece called Cheiza na Bulkata /The Bride’s Trousseau/ from the Thracian Rhapsody album, recorded with a Thracian formation.

In 2012 the musician continued with his participation in the CD-books series.

“My latest performances are related with Jordi Savall – a musician with over 150 titles in his record", Nedyalko goes on to say. "I have the privilege to be a part of the team that implements one of his projects. I participate in a series of recordings and concerts, together with musicians from the Balkans, the Middle East, Turkey, Armenia, Morocco and others. We all play ancient instruments. Our latest album is named Mare Nostrum. There are other Bulgarians among the musicians too – Valeri Dimchev and Peyo Peev – gadulka, along with folk singer Stoimenka Uchikova, my wife, also known as Tima Nedyalkova.”

AKA Balkan Moon – this is the name of one of the latest international bands that Nedyalko plays with. The project of the same name is implemented with the participation of several Belgian and Bulgarian performers:

“AKA Moon is the name of a famous jazz trio from Belgium. It consists of Fabrizio Cassol – saxophone, Stephane Galland – drums and Michel Hatzigeorgiou. The band marked its 20th jubilee end-2012 and I had the pleasure to take part in one of the concerts, devoted to the anniversary. Several remarkable Bulgarian musicians were included in the project – percussionist Stoyan Yankoulov – Stundji, saxophone player Vladimir Karparov and Tima Nedyalkova. Several famous Belgian names were there too, incredible Tcha Limberger among them – he plays the violin, the guitar and sings. We tried to display the diversity of Bulgarian folklore and the project was executed thanks to the Royaumont Foundation from France that organizes concerts in Paris. We presented the album end-2012 at a jazz festival in Bruges, we are to take part in Balkan Trafik – a famous musical forum, held in Brussels.”

“I generate many new ideas, while working with so many different artists from across the globe,” Nedyalko.

“The album that I prepare will be with traditional Bulgarian and Balkan music. I have invited musicians that have been friends of mine for years – Peyo Peev, guitar player Angel Dimitrov, Stoyan Yankoulov, percussionist Kalin Veliov. I work with different versions of the Bulgarian shepherd’s flute, I play the Armenian duduk etc. Due to my awaken interest to ancient instruments I recorded plays with a very good Turkish qanun player, as well as with a Greek master of oud /both – ancient string instruments/. I am really glad that more and more musicians are not afraid to make experiments nowadays, to mix styles and genres, expanding their knowledge on the latter before that. It is a really interesting adventure to improvise, interweaving folk ornaments in jazz performances for instance.”

The young musician was in Ruse end-2012 with an exclusively created formation, named Breakpoint. “I hope that we will continue to work together, since we are getting along just fine,” Nedyalko says. This music edition of on RB ends with a rendition of Breakpoint - Boris Petrov – saxophone, Radoslav Slavchev – bass, Angel Dimitrov – guitar and Ivan Tsonkov – drums.

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

По публикацията работи: Albena Bezovska

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