Balkanfolk News                                                              

Bulgarian Folklore Heritage – Kosta Kolev
2 April 2008

Gega New Music Company adds a new recording to its series entitled ‘Bulgarian Folklore Heritage’, a recording of songs and instrumental pieces by Kosta Kolev. Some of his most popular arrangements are included: ‘Haramiisko horo’, ‘Zaiko, kukuraiko’, ‘Kalimanku, Denaku mari’, ‘Lyulka se liulya, devoiko’, ‘Chie e tova momiche’, ‘Proviknal mi se e Nikola’, ‘Rossen, rossen’, ‘Krivo plovdivsko horo’, etc. The singers are the most famous Bulgarian performers: Kostadin Gugov, Yanka Rupkina, The Ensemble for Folklore Songs at Bulgarian National Radio, Kostadin Varimezov – gaida, Kaicho Kamenov, Nedyalka Keranova, Trakia ensemble from Plovdiv, Stoyan Velichkov – kaval, Boris Mashalov, Elena Bojkova, traditional orchestra at Bulgarian National Radio, Maria Leshkova, Boris Karlov – accordion, Verka Siderova, Rosa Tsvetkova, Nikola Ganchev – kaval and Kosta Kolev – accordion.
Kosta Kolev (born 1921) is an emblem of the Bulgarian folklore music. He is an accordion player, composer, and conductor – a magnificent performer in the three fields! Today we can’t imagine the development of our traditional culture without his arrangements and author’s music, without his brilliant accordion performings, without his huge work as a conductor. He grew up in a family of folklore musicians and started playing at a very early age. In addition to being a professional accordion player, Kosta Kolev can play almost all winding instruments. This helps him a lot in his work as a composer.
His concerts are a legend. He had worked with the most eminent artists: Atanaska Todorova, Gyurgya Pindzhurova, Boris Mashalov, Mita Stoicheva and many others. Elsewhere the concerts turned into feasts!
Since 1949 Kosta Kolev had started working at the National Radio as a leader of the folklore orchestra – he wrote notes and made arrangements of songs and melodies, accompanied performers in live. In 1954 he became a leader of the orchestra at the Ensemble for Folklore Songs at Bulgarian National Radio and very quickly his band became the best in Bulgaria. Kosta Kolev writes notes restlessly, makes arrangements, composes, teaches the musicians, implements new instruments into the orchestra, adds up some updates to the gadulka playing…
The first successful performers owe their fame to him. Each singer or player has an arrangement made by Kosta Kolev in their repertoire. After having left the orchestra of the radio, performers and ensembles continue inviting him as a professional.
The melodies and song that he has written as notes are over 10,000, his arrangements and author’s songs and plays are over 6,000 and his concerts in the country and abroad amount at 5,000. The audience that had the chance to see him is in Romania, German, France, Egypt, Austria, Italy, Switzerland…
Kosta Kolev is a pattern of a musician who has classical musical education (he graduated from Musical Academy as a student of Prof. Geroge Dimitrov and Prof. Parashkev Hadzhiev), he remained true to his roots and successfully mixed his knowledge and talent with the ancient traditional art – a true inheritor of the best folklore traditions!

Translation: Vera Genova