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Trio Bulgarka - first chamber folk formation to conquer the world

Photo: archive

“This is the best music on this planet,” Beatles’ George Harrison exclaimed after the London-held concert of Trio Bulgarka. Established back in 1975, the chamber formation scored magnificent success with its art across the globe. It was a happy coincidence that Yanka Rupkina, Eva Georgieva and Stoyanka Boneva were at that time voices of the folk choir of the BNR – a not less popular formation.

Later on Swiss producer Marcel Cellier named the trio The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices and in 1990 it won the prestigious Grammy Award. Choir conductors often used to trust the three singers for joint renditions. That inspired them to establish a formation on their own, with its own concert and studio life. Composers like Alexandar Yosifov, Stefan Kanev, Kosta Kolev, Dimiter Penev and others wrote songs for Trio Bulgarka.

The invitations for concert tours around the world wouldn’t cease, as well as the applause of the audience at the most prestigious halls of Europe, America, Australia, Israel. A critic from The Guardian wrote after a London concert that the singers were “striking, powerful, glorious”… Famous music producer Joe Boyd would become the personal impresario of Trio Bulgarka. The three singers had joint recordings with British pop star Kate Bush. They also started a beautiful friendship.

Trio Bulgarka had its first serious breakthrough on global stages with its chamber music – a delicate genre, based on traditional Bulgarian art. Each of the three singers complies with the characteristics of the respective folk style, having at the same time a typical singing voice. Yanka Rupkina comes from the Strandja Mountain, Eva Georgieva is from Dobrudja and Stoyanka Boneva – from the area of the Pirin Mountain. Their sound palette is incredibly rich and impressive, when singing in an ensemble.

The trio disbanded end-1990s and in 2004 Eva Georgieva passed away. The singers left with the BNR archive over 40 folk songs, arranged for three voices.

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

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