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In memoriam: Vanya Kostova

Photo: library

The sad news of her passing came from composer Stefan Diomov with whom Vanya created some of her most beautiful songs. Her son Boyan Mihaylov, with whom she sang in duet, posted dozens of her photographs and songs on social media for hours on end.  The sorrowful news spread like wildfire and social media and the internet were filled with fond memories of her, with words of love and admiration for her performances.

Born on 18 April 1957 in Dimitrovgrad, Vanya Kostova grew up in Burgas on the Black Sea where she graduated from a foreign language secondary school. Even as a school girl she sang every chance she got but this was getting in the way of her regular school attendance. In interviews for Radio Bulgaria she talked of the many times her mother (a seamstress by profession) had to go and talk to her teachers so she wouldn’t get expelled. Later, Vanya Kostova graduated from the state conservatory, now the Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music, in the class of Georgi Kordov.

Vanya took the first steps in her professional career with the vocal group Tonika SV. Six years later she started a solo career, and in 1987 released her first solo album. Together with two other famous names – Mimi Ivanova and Rossi Kirilova she sang in a trio called MVR (from the first letters of their names – Mimi, Vanya, Rossi). She performed in various duets though what gave her real joy was to sing with her son. It is difficult to say how long mother and son were on stage together but in recent years they gave a great many concerts together.

Vanya Kostova is one of the best loved pop singers in Bulgaria, with one of the warmest voices in pop music. In each song she invested a little piece of herself, while audiences gifted her with their appreciation and applause. Even in the last few years when she made very rare media appearances, her beautiful, heartfelt and irresistible voice invariably accompanied major holidays – especially at Christmas and Easter to which she devoted some delightful songs. Many Bulgarians living in other countries regard her song “Hello, how are you my friend?” as their anthem, a song describing what it is like to be treading foreign streets and dreaming of Bulgaria and friends left behind.

Vanya was in love with her songs, she was in love with poetry and would often quote verses about love – the kind of love that brings people together as different as they may be.

May she rest in peace!

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