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Folk singer Desislava Dimcheva

Photo: private archive

She is a talented performer, a TV journalist, host of a traditional music show at the Bulgarian National TV Regional Centre in Blagoevgrad. Desislava Dimcheva has graduated the Philip Koutev National School of Folk Arts and the Southwestern University. For a while she was a singer at the Philip Koutev National Folk Song and Dance Ensemble and for twenty whole years she has been by Valery Dimchev’s side – he is a virtuoso pandore player, a composer and…her husband. Together with the formations Valery has been artistic editor of, through the years the two have recorded several albums, featuring her own folk compositions.

“Some of the songs I composed are traditional,” Desislava says. “They reflect my view of folklore and its development in our day. All songs and melodies that have come down to us were created by someone with talent and enriched with the passage of time. So, I decided to make my own contribution. When I went to live in Blagoevgrad I knew very little about traditional art from the Pirin region. But what helped me a great deal was my work as music editor and journalist at the TV centre in the town. I traveled to the villages to meet local groups and record their performances. Gradually I got into the spirit of the folklore from Pirin and now I can safely say I know it well. I myself am from Pernik, so I represent what is known as the Shoppe folklore region in Central Western Bulgaria. That is the reason why I have included in my album songs from both folklore regions.”

All arrangements of the songs Desislava performs are by Valery Dimchev. She has been working with him since 1994. “I had just gone to Blagoevgrad to start at the university,” Desislava goes on to say. “And almost at once I was told there was a fantastic musician in the town. When I first heard him play I was really impressed. He intertwines different styles and it comes so easy to him. For example – jazz, but refracted through folklore. To me his view of tradition was a revelation. But it was the only road I chose to travel, to develop.”

As soloist of Valery Dimchev Trio, Desislava brings traditional Bulgarian songs to many parts of the world – to Germany, France, USA, Canada and many more. She has taken part in numerous international festivals, invariably winning the admiration of the audiences.

English version: Milena Daynova

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