Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir

Last updated
The Mystery Of Bulgarian Voices
Background information
Also known asBulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices
Genres Folk, world music
Years active1952–present
Labels Disques Cellier, Nonesuch, 4AD, Polygram, Rhino
Associated acts Trio Bulgarka, Angelite - The Bulgarian Voices

The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir is an internationally renowned world music ensemble that performs modern arrangements of traditional Bulgarian folk melodies. It is most recognized for its contribution to Marcel Cellier's Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices) project. First created in 1952 as the Ensemble for Folk Songs of the Bulgarian Radio [1] by Georgi Boyadjiev, the choir is now under the direction of Dora Hristova. The choir was granted the name Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares by Marcel Cellier in 1997, in recognition of the fact that it had contributed most of the songs on the original compilations. [2] [3]

World music is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the globe. It includes many forms of ethnic music, indigenous music, folk music, neotraditional music, and music where more than one cultural tradition, such as non-Western music and Western popular music, intermingle.

Marcel Cellier was a Swiss organist, ethnomusicologist and music producer, internationally known for introducing the singing of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, and the playing of Gheorghe Zamfir.


Membership and methods

Singers are chosen from country villages for the beauty and openness of their voices, and they undergo extensive training in the unique, centuries-old singing style. Influenced by Bulgaria's Thracian, Bulgarian, Ottoman and Byzantine history, their music is striking in its use of diaphonic singing and distinctive timbre, as well as its modal scales and dissonant harmonies (abundant second, seventh, and ninth intervals).

Thrace A region in Southeast Europe

Thrace is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece and the European part of Turkey.

Bulgarians are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group native to Bulgaria and its immediate region.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa

The Ottoman Empire, historically known to its inhabitants and the Eastern world as Rome (Rûm), and known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. Although initially the dynasty was of Turkic origin, it was thoroughly Persianised in terms of language, culture, literature and habits. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.


Though the choir became widely known when the trend-setting English alternative record label 4AD reissued a pair of anthology albums in 1986 and 1988 with the now famous title Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, their recordings date as far back as 1957. The first pressing of the Voix Bulgares album was the result of fifteen years of work by Swiss ethnomusicologist and producer Marcel Cellier and was originally released in 1975 on his small Discs Cellier label. Ivo Watts-Russell, the founder of the 4AD Records label, was introduced to the choir from a third or fourth generation audio cassette lent to him by Peter Murphy, singer from the band Bauhaus. He became thoroughly entranced by the music, and tracked down and licensed the recordings from Cellier. [4] They were one of four choirs who appeared on the album Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Volume Two, which won Cellier a Grammy Award in 1989. [5] [6] The group has since performed extensively around the world to wide acclaim.

4AD record label

4AD is a British independent record label, founded by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent in 1980. It was originally funded by, and an imprint of, Beggars Banquet.

Ivo Watts-Russell is joint-founder with Peter Kent of the indie record label 4AD. He has produced several records, although he prefers to use the term "musical director".

Peter Murphy (musician) English rock vocalist

Peter John Joseph Murphy is an English singer, songwriter, and musician. He was the vocalist of the goth rock band Bauhaus and later went on to release a number of solo albums, such as Love Hysteria, Deep, and Holy Smoke. Thin with prominent cheekbones, a baritone voice, and a penchant for gloomy poetics, he is often called the "Godfather of Goth".

The Trio Bulgarka

Three prominent soloists of the group have also performed together as the Trio Bulgarka, notably on the Kate Bush albums The Sensual World and The Red Shoes. The whole ensemble performed with the Italian rock band Elio e Le Storie Tese in the single Pipppero released from the album İtalyan, rum casusu çikti.

Trio Bulgarka is a Bulgarian vocal ensemble.

Kate Bush British recording artist

Catherine Bush is an English singer-songwriter and record producer. In 1978, aged 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering Heights", becoming the first female artist to achieve a UK number one with a self-written song. She has since released 25 UK Top 40 singles, including the top-10 hits "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", "Babooshka", "Running Up That Hill", "Don't Give Up" and "King of the Mountain". All ten of her studio albums reached the UK Top 10, including the UK number-one albums Never for Ever (1980), Hounds of Love (1985), and the compilation The Whole Story (1986). She was the first British solo female artist in the world to top the UK album charts and the first female artist to enter the album chart at number one.

<i>The Sensual World</i> 1989 studio album by Kate Bush

The Sensual World is the sixth studio album by the English singer-songwriter Kate Bush. It was released in October 1989 and peaked at no. 2 on the UK Albums Chart. It has been certified Platinum by the BPI for sales of 300,000 in the UK, and Gold by the RIAA in the US.

The Xenaverse connection

The choir became best known in the United States for its contributions to the music of Xena: Warrior Princess, whose theme music Joseph LoDuca developed from "Kaval sviri," one of the traditional Bulgarian folk songs that form the bulk of their known repertoire.

<i>Xena: Warrior Princess</i> American–New Zealand fantasy series (1995–2001)

Xena: Warrior Princess is an American fantasy television series filmed on location in New Zealand. The series aired in first-run syndication from September 4, 1995, to June 18, 2001. Critics have praised the series for its strong female protagonist, and it has acquired a strong cult following, attention in fandom, parody, and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series.

Joseph LoDuca is an American television and film score composer best known for his work writing television scores for the series Spartacus, Leverage, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Young Hercules, The Librarians TV series, American Gothic and Jack of All Trades. Originally an accomplished jazz guitarist in the Detroit area, LoDuca frequently provides music for producer/director Robert Tapert, producer/director Sam Raimi, producer/director Dean Devlin and actor Bruce Campbell's films and series. Prior to his work on The Evil Dead, his first film, he released a jazz LP titled Glisten.


See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. Rice, Timothy (1994). May it fill your soul : experiencing Bulgarian music. Chicago: The University of Chicago press. pp. 27, 325. ISBN   9780226711225.
  2. Burton, Kim (November–December 2010). "Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares" (PDF). Songlines . pp. 66–67. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  3. Coranova, Goranka; Letnikova, Iva (20 January 2005). "The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices in 2004". Bulgarian National Radio. Archived from the original on 26 January 2005.
  4. Troughton, Richie (1 December 2011). "4AD Founder Ivo Watts-Russell On Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares". The Quietus . Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  5. Buchanan, Donna A. (2006). Performing democracy : Bulgarian music and musicians in transition . Chicago, Ill. [u.a.]: Univ. of Chicago Press. p. 489. ISBN   9780226078267.
  6. "Past Winners". Grammy.com. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 21 July 2014.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)