Tag: Valya Balkanska

Bulgarian Folk Music

Valya BalkanskaBulgarian folk music was and is inseparable part from people’s daily life and holiday celebrations, in times of joy or sorrow.

Songs were created to any occasion – for traditional holidays, for seasons’ working activities as harvest, grape-picking, etc., dance songs and many others.

The regional variations are not strictly divided, but certain typical characteristics have formed several musical areas.

The main features of the Bulgarian folk music:
1. It is homophonic. Even when there are two or more singing parties, the song sounds like single-voiced.
2. Its rhythm and vocal wealth are described as ranging from fantastic richness to primitive monotony.
3. It is based on extended time. This technique makes Bulgarian folk music unique, because it doesn’t exist in the rest of the European music. It is most expressively used in the Rhodopian songs.

There are more than 70 000 folk songs in Bulgaria. Even today the folk song tradition is as alive as ever. There are many folklore ensembles, folk dance groups and folk orchestras all over Bulgaria. In addition, the folk music of Bulgaria has very important place in the modern Bulgarian music.

You can enjoy the authentic Bulgarian folk music at the traditional folk festivals held in Koprivshtitsa, Shiroka Laka, Predela and many other places in the country as well as at the traditional holidays and customs in Bulgaria.

The most typical traditional Bulgarian musical instruments are “gayda”/Bulgarian bagpipe/, “kaval”/wooden flute/ , “gadulka” /string instrument/ and “tapan”/drum/.

The uniqueness of the Bulgarian folk music is proved by the fact that on the Voyager-1 and Voyager-2 spacecrafts among the selected masterpieces of mankind’s musical treasury and along with a Beethoven symphony is a Bulgarian folk song from the Rhodopes region, performed by Valya Balkanska whose picture decorates this article.


ZlatogradThe city of Zlatograd is located in the heart of the Rhodope mountain. This is the most Southern Bulgarian city, only 3 kilometers from the state border with Greece. During the Middle Ages the village is called Belovidovo, and during the Ottoman Domination the Turks call it Darà Dere, which means millet gully.

From 1934 the village is renamed Zlatograd because of the golden tobacco grown in this region.

This is where the oldest church in the Rhodope Mountain was built, and also the first school which puts the foundation of the education activities in the whole area. Read more