Verka Siderova: "Life teaches you everything"

Bulgaria’s famous folk singer celebrates 95th birth anniversary

Photo: архив

It is a privilege to know and meet Verka Siderova whose songs bring great happiness to generations of Bulgarians. Her name is included in music textbooks and she has left a lasting mark in the history of the “Filip Kutev” National Folklore Ensemble, the Bulgarian National Radio and the Bulgarian National Television. Verka Siderova is emblematic singer of her native Dobrudzha.

Today, on the day of her 95th birthday, we offer you an interview she gave especially for Radio Bulgaria. She told us of an interesting moment in her career - in addition to being a soloist of the ensemble, for many years she used to be a host and presenter of concerts abroad, as she speaks English, Russian, Turkish and other languages. For the first time she appeared as a presenter during a tour in Italy.

"When we went there, we had an interpreter but Kutev said he wanted me to present the program. He knew that I had graduated from the classical high school department and I spoke Italian. In fact, as a student I first mastered Latin and then all Romance languages were easy to me and I had an affinity for learning them. After Italy I translated in England and other countries. Now I read books in foreign languages - mainly fiction. That's how I keep my mind fit. I was preparing to study medicine but my father said we wouldn't cope financially. Almost immediately after high school I got married, then I started working as a clerk in Balchik. There I won first prize in a competition where Filip Kutev heard me singing and from that moment my life went into a completely different track. I joined the Ensemble; rehearsals and tours started and this continued for 30 years.”

Verka Siderova also recalls of the wonderful atmosphere in the ensemble:

"It was entirely due to Filip Kutev. He was a very good man, but also very strict. Sometimes he scolded me like a child, but if I had any difficulties, he helped me and comforted me that everything would be fine, just like a father would do. When it came to music it was enough for me to hear a song just once and I remembered it immediately. That's why Kutev assigned me to rehearse and learn the new songs with some of the people in the ensemble. We were like a big family. Well, there was some tension, but we overcame everything and we were very close. We have sung abroad in prestigious concert halls. I remember our first tour in North America, which lasted for three months. We were in the United States first. We had strong voices back then as we were able to take such workload. We had concerts almost every day in different cities and constantly traveled long distances, but there was no fatigue. After the United States we headed to Canada.”

The legendary singer also told us about her life these days:

"I am completely free now, but I am staying at home. Can you imagine Verka Siderova sitting in one place? I was used to constant racing with time. But life teaches you everything. I did not have time for housekeeping before, but now I enjoy cooking and trying old recipes. I am happy with the people who come to see me. I am happy that my work has received recognition. I have received the biggest awards. My life has been passing like a song and I continue to sing today. Probably, my last breath in this life will be a note of one of my songs.”

English: Alexander Markov

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