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Remembering Bulgaria’s prominent folk singer Lyubka Rondova

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On March 15, five years ago, Lyubka Rondova, one of the most beloved folk singers of Bulgaria, passed away. Calling herself the daughter of the Aegean, she perceived performing the songs of her homeland as her mission and the meaning of her life. The love of traditions was her main driving force along with her overwhelming curiosity and open mind that she preserved to her last days. She would always mention the name of the village of Shestevo, Kostur region (today on the territory of Greece), where her life journey began. As well as her gratitude to her colleagues from the Gotse Delchev Folk Ensemble, in which she was both a soloist and a philologist for years.

Lyubka arrived in the Bulgarian capital from Prague, having just graduated from Charles University. Her whole life was connected with the Bulgarian culture - not only as a performer, but also as a part of state and public organizations. Lyubka Rondova spoke several languages, used to read constantly, and even in her last years continued to record little-known folk songs.

She loved Radio Bulgaria and spoke about her meetings around the world with Radio Bulgaria’s listeners. And after each interview she gave she would numerous phone calls and letters. "I travel a lot around the world and constantly meet Bulgarian emigrants who live with the feeling of sadness for their homeland," she said.

She shone on stage with her smile, her beautiful folk costumers, and her charm. I remember years ago how at an open-air concert in the center of Athens, hundreds of spectators were applauding her. There were dozens of Bulgarians in the audience, apparently living there. After her performances, they literally showered her with gifts, flowers, some were kissing her hands and the embroidery of her costume.

In my work as a music editor and journalist, I have repeatedly consulted her - about the authenticity of folk lyrics, about the historical roots of some songs. There are many young singers who sought her advice and approval. She would always tell them to be careful about the authenticity of lyrics and melodies. And also - when they perform her songs to say that they are from the Kostur region.

English version Rositsa Petkova

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