< Traditional Arts
The Music of Strandzha
Yovcho and Alexander

Strandzha is a subregion of the largest and most central musical folklore region in Bulgaria, the Thracian. Thrace has a strong influence on other regions due to the large communities of Thracian refugees in Dobruzha and Northern Bulgaria.

Strandzha is populated by very old population. The mysterious ritual Nestinarstvo has been preserved there since ancient times, being accompanied by songs, people and sound of music instruments. The music that accompanies it is performed by bagpipes and drums in the rhythm 12/16 or 2/4. It marks the start of the traditional nestinar round dance over the glowing embers.

An important part in the life of the Strandzhan people is given to the cycle of spring youth games "Filek", in which to the song and dance is assigned a central place. The meadow, where the games are taking place, is also called "filek." Later these games spread throughout Bulgaria and are played by children.
The traditions connected with Christmas with a vast repertoire of carol songs, are characteristic for the Thracian culture and folklore. Often performed are also many table songs with slow, dragging, richly ornamented melody.
For the traditional Strandzhan singing is especially characteristic the so called "tremolo" (oscillation) of the voice. Popular folk music instruments in Strandzha are the bagpipe, flute, drum and some kavalche called "quill" or oat.

Mr. Yovcho Stoinov Grigorov was born in the village Vratitsa, Burgas region. From a child he loved folk music, as his father played the kaval. Yovcho is a self-taught musician - he was in the fifth grade when he first bought an accordion. And so it began. He played on weddings, as in his repertoire appeared Thracian and Strandzhan melodies.
Yovcho Stoinov is a turner by profession; he has worked in a factory "Cherveno zname" and NHK. Today Yovcho is a pensioner.

Mr. Alexander Georgiev Stoyanov was born in the village of Bata. The love of folk music he inherited from his grandfather. Already in the fourth grade he started playing the bagpipe. In his village there were many bagpipe players from whom he learned - Stoyu Tsonev, Peter Dushev and others. From young he was taking part in various festivals and won awards. In the first Children's Assembly "Banner of Peace" he was the only performer who played the bagpipe from Burgas and Burgas region. He won a gold medal at the Children's Festival in Primorsko. Three years in a row Alexander took part in the festival of folklore songs in the village of Bosnia.
By profession Alexander is a locksmith. Currently he works in the Bulgarian National Railways - Burgas as a shunter. In his spare time he works as a saddler making opanaks, an old style leather shoes and horse harnesses. His bagpipe skills he teaches to children in the village of Bata. His son, Apostol prefers the accordion and his daughter Anita plays traditional folklore dances.

Rosica Топалова and Krasimira Dubarova, curators in department "Ethnography"

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