Would it be a terrible pun if I told you The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices is one of Bulgaria’s best kept secrets? And no, I don’t mean that there is something unusual about the way we Bulgarian folk speak or sound. What I am referring to is the famous Bulgarian folk ensemble by the same name.
We Bulgarians take great pride in the success of this choir and it is well justified - the singing is unique, powerful, almost haunting. It is possible you've heard it without knowing - if you saw the movie “300” for instance (Tyler Bates himself stated the Message for the Queen song was based on a Bulgarian folk song). You can find just a few of their awards listed here, including the Grammy they won in 1990. That particular record, called Volume II, was compiled and recorded by the late musicologist Marcel Cellier, who discovered the ensemble decades ago, gave it its name, and helped it rise to prominence.
A beautiful rendition of the famous Polegnala e Tudora - a song about a young maiden who fell asleep under an olive tree - is captured in this video, posted by Alexander Cellier, Marcel’s son.
But let’s get to the point! Next month, you will have a fantastic opportunity to see The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices perform at the ancient Roman theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It’s an incredibly unique venue. The ensemble will be performing its new album. Lisa Gerard, former vocal of Dead Can Dance and a Golden Globe winner for the music score to the movie Gladiator, will be participating, too. It holds the promise of being an unrivaled experience. You can buy tickets through this link.
I will resist the temptation to end this post by saying that I hope that the talent of The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices no longer remains unsung. Rather, I will say, “Will I see you in Plovdiv?”