Women’s Song Group from Bely Iskar village, Samokov - Bulgaria
5 January 2007 - Sofia, Bulgaria
Days before Bulgaria join the European Union “Gega New” Music House published a unique disc. Eleven women from Bely Iskar village from the region of Samokov recorded 21 authentic songs the way they remember them from their mothers and grandmothers. The village is a part of the big folklore region Middle West Bulgaria and the most typical there is the two voice singing. Once, the great researcher of Bulgarian folklore Vassil Stoinov collected 1115 songs from that region (1935). He even suggested that Bulgarian two-voice singing appeared before and is the basis of western European mulltivoices. Nowadays some of these songs are no more popular. However, what was kept thought the years shows that music played a great role in our grandparents’ life. Songs are a way of keeping a record of the traditions through the year in the region.
The singers from Bely Iskar village sing for occasions such as weddings, sedyanka, horo, dinners, working at the field, Vassilovden (1 January), collecting blueberries.
The story of how the disc became recorded is quite interesting. A group of young Americans visited Bulgaria in 2003 to support preserving the environment in Rila National park. They heard the women at Bely Iskar singing and, astonished, their leader Jared Hardner, offered a sponsorship for the recordings. Then, Bulgarian foundation “Information and environment preservation” began preparing the group and 11 women gathered to revive the traditional songs of the village. Now, with the financial support of the “Norbert H. Hardner” American family foundation, these songs will draw us back to our predecessors.