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Roberto's tapan lessons in Balkanfolk
Roberto's tapan lessons in Balkanfolk

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Roberto's tapan lessons in Balkanfolk
19 October 2005 - Sofia, Bulgaria

An interest in music recently brought Roberto Romagnoli, from Italy, to Bulgaria specifically to learn the art of playing bulgarian folk instrument tapan. Through Balkanfolk, lessons were arranged with a gifted tapan player, namely Genadii Rashkov who taught tapan at Balkanfolk workshop 2005 and played with "Zornitsa" Orchestra in the evenings.

Genadii plays tapan and tarambouka with the Philip Koutev State Ensemble in Sofia - Bulgaria, and has also toured with Folk Dance Ensemble "Zornitsa", Sofia.

Roberto first started playing the drum fifteen years' ago then as well as playing, began to make and sell drums and other instruments. One type of drum he plays is the grand casa and he has been to India to learn the madalam and to Africa, where he studied the djambe.

"Musica Officinalis", the group with whom he plays in Italy (and which tours Europe), first played Middle Age music, the six members specializing in different types, Roberto's forte being African. After hearing music from the Balkans the group gradually started incorporating Balkan music with Middle Age music and thus a new sound developed. Roberto Romagnoli decided to come to Bulgaria to learn tapan from a master of the instrument and to soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of the real thing.

At the instigation of Balkanfolk, this included an evening at the restaurant Site Bulgari Zaedno (All Bulgarians together) where there is live music and plenty of room to dance horo. This particular evening, Genadii played tapan with the orchestra and Roberto joined in the rhythm using a tambourine. There were two singers; and two men and two women, dressed in costumes, performed Bulgarian dances from different regions. It was a wonderful evening of Bulgarian folklore which was enjoyed by everyone.

Roberto also had the opportunity to watch a rehearsal of Ensemble "Zornitsa". Combined with other experiences, this means he can now return to Italy knowing he has absorbed some of the best folklore in Bulgaria!

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Anna Travali

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