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Professor Milcho Leviev about his new project Journey to Two Worlds

I look for proximity and try to avoid differences

БНР Новини
Photo: Albena Bezovska

The new author’s project of renowned Bulgarian composer Milcho Leviev was launched especially for the Cosmic Voices choir conducted by Vanya Moneva and for the Bulgarian National Radio Big band conducted by Antony Donchev. In this project Maestro Leviev makes a summary of his life and career where he continues to look for the similarities and avoid the differences. “In my view, people show their biggest skills when they manage to find similarities between religions, different music styles, ethnical cultures and even anecdotes”, Professor Leviev told Radio Bulgaria. The album which was produced by the BNR Music House and recorded in Studio 1 of the Bulgarian National Radio is to be presented to the audience on October 31, 2014 in Bulgaria hall in Sofia. Here is a fragment of the album:

“This is the story of my life between Bulgaria and the USA, but I would like to deliver another message as well”, Professor Leviev says and adds:

Снимка“A Journey to Two Worlds should have a subtitle named Simultaneously. It is neither necessary to travel to the USA, in order to listen to American music, nor the Americans should come to this country to hear Bulgarian music. Jazz has long ago conquered the world and Bulgarian folklore is famous in all parts of the globe due to the performances of the Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices and many other folk choirs and ensembles. Bobby McFerrin and other renowned world musicians mixed their ideas with Bulgarian rhythms and melodies. Another interesting fact about the project we now present regards the inclusion of a big jazz orchestra of 17 instrumentalists to this project. There are also 17 female singers from the Cosmic Voices Choir. This combination of musicians and intonations is something new and different. People ask me how this American music mixes with the Bulgarian tunes. Well, one should find this music for himself first and then improvise. Our work with the girls from the choir was quite interesting. They are modern people and have unintentionally built a sense of the “other” music, too. People say that teachers do not teach us. They only direct us to demonstrate our potential. This is something which happens constantly inside me and I try to convert it into real life. I believe that the biggest skills are linked with your ability to live.”

Let us remind that Milcho Leviev migrated to the USA in 1970. He went there to the invitation of American jazz trumpeter Don Ellis and has been working for years in the orchestra of the renowned musician.

“Things have changed significantly since that moment”, Milcho Leviev further says. “The music has changed, as well as the way jazz, pop, rock and folklore mix with each other. Some jazz musicians such as Mahavishnu and Don Ellis, with whom I had the pleasure to work with, started to step out of the frameworks of a given genre. This mutual collaboration started back in the 1960s and today is something normal. Nobody condemns this method, except for the so-called purists who stand behind the purity of the music styles, the purity of the religions, etc. This is the problem of our time-hatred and intolerance towards the different. Our task as artists is to abolish these boundaries. As far as freedom is concerned, I would say than one can live in a dictatorship and be free at the same time. The question is do you want to be free. We all know that business is in the centre of capitalism and dictatorship comes from there. However, dictatorship has practically never happened. The dictatorship of the proletariat has never happened. There was a dictatorship over the proletariat. Perhaps my words sound a bit extreme, but of course there are some decent people in business and politics, too. Good things always happen, not only in this music project. I have been holding master classes at the New Bulgarian University over the past 15 years. I meet with many intelligent and bright young people. Yes, there are such people in Bulgaria”, Professor Milcho Leviev concludes.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

The audio file contains the following pieces

Music-1: V selo diode daskalche (Bulgarian Rhapsody)

Music-2: Gerdanche (Necklace) (Bulgarian Rhapsody)

Music-3: Rhapsody in Blue-Part 4

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