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DJ Fabrizio Parisi: Bulgarian folk music must not remain “enclosed” within a limited circle of people

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Photo: Ivan Ermenkov

“It is our job as DJs and producers to provoke the interest of young people in traditional Bulgarian music,” Fabrizio Parisi, who is of mixed Bulgarian-Italian descent, says in an interview with Radio Bulgaria.

Born in Basel, Switzerland, he lived there until the age of 5 when he moved to Italy with his family. His father is a music producer from Italy, and he met his mother, who is from Bulgaria, purely by chance, when he was here, in Bulgaria, in the 1970s. His father’s work with superstars of the Italian pop scene like Ricchi e Poveri and Al Bano and Romina Power made Fabrizio’s life dynamic and difficult, yet it is to this life that he owes his bond with music:

“He was the first person who have me play an instrument, instead of choosing singing as I wanted to. So, at the age of 6р I started playing classical music on the piano.”

Fabrizio has fond childhood memories of the concerts he went to with his father, of the music of Santana, the Doors, Led Zeppelin. “Even then I wanted to get up on the stage and feel the thrill of performing,” he says.

He still loves rock music though in his stage performances he leans towards house music, a style preferred by a younger audience. Though he has been familiar with Bulgarian folk music since his school years at the music school in Ruse, Fabrizio says he only embarked on his first experiment with it in 2017 when the popular melody Sunbeams was born. The video to Sunbeams takes viewers on a journey to some of the most beautiful parts of Bulgaria.

Nowadays the musician splits his time between Italy and Bulgaria, and says that this country is a constant source of inspiration in his work. And he admits that when he has to choose a folk song to work with, he always treats it with respect:

“You have to be extra careful because Bulgarian folk music is almost entirely in uneven beats,” the artist explains. “Much of the folk music was created during the five centuries in which we were under Ottoman domination. That is why the stories in these songs are imbued with hope of a better future.

The other thing guiding me in the choice of song is the voice that will sing it. It is so important to select the right voice, the voice that I know will sound like 40,000 W and will touch people’s hearts.”

The choice of a specific song that a remix will bring to life, is just part of the responsible job of a DJ and a producer, DJ Fabrizio Parisi says:

“Every country has its folklore, but it is “enclosed” within a limited circle of people who are its audience. That is why it is such a great feeling when you are able to use part of this music in your own melody, and it enters the clubs. It is a feat that makes educators out of us, DJs and producers, and that is a very good thing. It is our aim for young people to hear it and to ask themselves where this music comes from, to get them interested so they will seek out the details.”

As to whether it is possible for Bulgarian artists to “make it” internationally, Fabrizio Parisi says they are on a par with other performers around the world. The problem is in the competition, which is huge and that makes success so difficult:

“The internet wiped out all territorial restrictions. It no longer matters where you were born, where you live or where you work. Let’s take Imanbek for example, a Grammy winner. He is Kazakh, he lives in a small town in Kazakhstan. All that matters now is the quality of the product, not where it was created or who created it.”

Photos: Facebook /@ Fabrizio Parisi
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