Balkanfolk News                                                              

5th Gaida Contest, Ilinden Fair in the village of Gela
6 August 2007

"Deto sa solzi kapali, tamo shte pesen da nikne"

On August 4 and 5, 2007 the meadow in front of the “St. Iliya” chapel in the Rhodope village Gela resounded with the gaida tunes and the songs of the participants in the Ilinden Fair.

The first gaida contest was the idea of the popular gaida player from the Rhodope Peter Yanev and Antonia Chilikova, and it was part of the traditional clans meeting of the village of Gela. The organizer of the fifth edition was the initiative committee, whose members were: Stefan Gerdzhikov, Vesselina Babadzhankova and Peter Yanev, assisted by Antonia Chilikova from “Rhodopi” eco-organisation, Gela village council and others.

More than 5000 people applauded the performance of 35 artists and danced led by the wonderful tunes of the Rhodope music. Yutaka Ban from Japan, Cory Dale from Australia and Moyce Muller from Holland played together with the participants from Bulgaria.

This year’s edition of the gaida contest was divided in three age groups – under the age of 14, from 15 to 20 and over the age of 20. The skills of the participants were valued by a jury composed by: Prof. Milcho Vassilev from the Music and Dance Art Academy in Plovdiv, Dafo Trendafilov – doyen of gaida players in Bulgaria, Peter Yanev – a soloist in “Rhodopa” ensemble from the town of Smolyan and Todor Kaikov.

Prizes in age groups 1 and 2 were awarded to:

1 group: 1st prize – Yavor Bobev and Jordan Kechev, 2nd prize – Kostadin Todorov and 3rd prize – Martin. Dimitrov

2 group: 1st prize – George Kassabadzhakov, 2nd prize – Krassimir Vassilev and 3rd prize – Nedyalko Ketev

Awarding an artist over the age of 20 was the most difficult task for the jury, which led to a third tour for eight of the participants. They were asked to perform the slow Rhodope song “Rofinka bolna legnala” and so, here are the winners:

1st prize – Ivan Balabanov
2nd prize – Stefan Yanev
3rd prize – Cory Dale from Brisbane, Australia

An outstanding contribution award was given to the oldest gaida player, 84-years old Atanas Ivanov from Gela.

Written by Boris Dimitrov
English version Vera Aronova