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Nikola Ganchev - kaval
Nikola Ganchev was born in 1919 in the village of Shishmantsi, near Plovdiv, but at an early age moved with his family to Rudnik, near Burgas. His mother was an avid folk singer, knowing (as bai Kolyo recalled) "more than 200 songs, her favorites being the slow songs about 'haiduti' (freedom fighters)" and his uncle Vassil was the kaval player who first inspired him to play. He had his first kaval at the age of seven. By the age of 16, he was already recognized as having unusual talent and was invited to make his first recording on the radio.

By 1936, he was a regular performer for Radio Sofia, playing with some of the best instrumentalists and vocalists of his day. At this time, he also founded his first folk group, including Nedka Toneva, the only woman in his time to play the kaval, having studied under his guidance. The high point of his career came in 1951 with the founding of the National Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances under the guidance of Phillip Koutev. Bai Kolyo was invited to be the lead kaval soloist and became Phillip Koutev's right hand man for the next 40 years. During this time, he was the accompianist for virtuoso singers like Vulkana Stoyanova, Nadka Karadzhova, Komniya Stoyanova, Boika Prisadova, and Yanka Taneva. He travelled extensively, translated this experience into music, and became an expert on folklore in Bulgaria. His body of work includes pieces from all the folk regions in Bulgaria and incorporates diligently the wide variety of local folk tradition.

Bai Kolyo also proved himself an inexhaustibly generous teacher - bringing his knowledge to whole generations of kaval players. His great fatherly care for the Music School in Kotel continued up to his last days, as did his work with kaval students at home.

Bulgarian Folk Heritage - Kosta Kolev
Bulgarian Artists
Label: Gega New
Price: €10.00 €7.00
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