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Folk Singer Magdalena Todorova Karamiteva in an interview with Radio Bulgaria:

Bulgarian folk songs cannot be translated but the world finds them magical

Photo: Facebook/TRAYANAFOLK

Though she has been living abroad with her family for 20 years, Bulgarian folklore has been with her always. She is the author of dozens of texts which she has turned into song, together with her husband kaval player Dimitar Karamitev from Stara Zagora.

Magdalena Todorova Karamiteva graduated the music school in Kotel, where she studied folklore singing, and then went on to study at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv. She says she has been singing since childhood, and now folk songs are part of her life in Vienna, where she has been living for over 20 years.

“I was born in the town of Pomorie, and that is where I listened to music from the region of Strandzha, but also from Thrace and Dobrudzha. It was my dream to sing folk music. When I was at the music academy in Plovdiv there was an idea to make an album with colleagues and friends. My husband Dimitar Karamitev was also a student at that time, and a kaval player. But once we graduated our family had so much to contend with that our careers had to take a back seat. We graduated in 2000 and then left for Austria – first my husband, I followed later with our first child Maria.”

Vienna is a city of music but it does not have many opportunities to offer to a singer of folklore music like Magdalena Karamiteva. Bulgarian folk songs cannot be presented to a German-speaking audience in translation and this is a boundary that cannot be crossed even if the singer is very talented and hard-working. Still, the singer from Strandzha region has had a number of performances in Vienna, she has taken part in concerts with other performers and in plays in which she has presented Bulgaria to a foreign audience.

The Bulgarian community in Vienna know well Magdalena and Dimitar Karamitev as they regularly take part in the official gatherings of the Bulgarian community in Austria. The two musicians say they welcome each and every invitation they get from Bulgaria, but add that they are now past the pinnacle of their musical career and the Bulgarian audience has not been able to see them on stage. They recently took part in a concert “Music in portraits”, organized by the Bulgarian National Radio, in which they were soloists and performed together with the BNR Folk Music Orchestra:

“We are very grateful for this invitation, for the trust and the opportunity to be on stage together with professionals like the musicians from the BNR’s Folk Music Orchestra. We have been friends with some of them ever since the music school in Kotel. When I am by myself, some melody starts playing in my head, which I then sing. Music really is something beautiful.”

Photos: Facebook/TRAYANAFOLK, Facebook/BNR.FolkOrchestra

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