Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (1975)

"Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares" is an ensemble of a rare artistic gift and enormous popular appeal. Its story is a story of a success. Created fifty years ago, its goal was to enrich the heritage of the Bulgarian solo folk song with harmonies and arrangement that highlighted its beautiful timbres and irregular rhythms.
They transform sounds into strange vocal colors as if something other than the human voice, perhaps some strange instrument is playing. They jubilate, shout, ornament, form fast and perfect glissandos, let one crazy rhythm follow another and make their voices build the most darling chords. And suddenly the folk cliché does not apply any more. A listener believes he has heard” an archaic world of sounds from times long ago”, another –“the marriage of avant-grade and the middle ages”. With their bell-like voices that seem to float lightly trough space, these women have become international stars, whose hypnotic chant circles the globe." (*)

"The distinctive sounds of Bulgarian folk singing come from many cultural influences, as a country that was under the rule of the Tartar from central Asia and the Ottoman Turks. Many Asian elements can be heard in the use of modal scales, dissonant harmonies and rhythmical and metrical variety. The diaphonic singing tradition of two voices moving in parallel seconds, sevenths or ninths along with the metallic vocal timbres is preserved in the many arrangements. To western ears, this style of singing seems very strange. The a cappella singing is occasionally accompanied by traditional instruments. On this recording can be heard the flute-like kaval (Pritouritze Planinata), and the fiddle-like gadulka (Brei Yvane). The Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir is led by Philip Koutev and Krasimir Kyurkchiyski who were the forefathers of the Bulgarian folk movement. From the dissonance of "Pilentze Pee" to the beautiful melody of "Polegnala e Todora" this music is simple and enormously diverse." (*)

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