Bulgarian post-totalitarian scene: "Flowers from the end of the '80s"

    • WerBack said...
    • User
    • 21 Jun 2010, 17:28

    Bulgarian post-totalitarian scene: "Flowers from the end of the '80s"

    I'm quite sure that most of you are musical elitists, and by saying this I do not mean that they will not listen to anything mainstream or will anathematize such sort of music, but that they'll dig the whole world for music that is original, avant-garde and unconventional. That's why I decided to show you such a musical scene, where most of the music revolves around three artists – combining musicians, songwriters and philosophers in one.

    Flowers from the end of the '80s

    It all started back in the socialistic times in Bulgaria, when all the social and artistic outcast gathered in specific places in Sofia, the capital of the country. Places, bearing names like "The Monk" or "The Blue Café". A girl, named Milena, was part of that outcast. The young girl had the rare chance to try herself with musical career in 1985 but her ideology was not well-received by the communistic party, ruling the country between 1948 - 1989.

    Her first breakthrough came in 1989, when her record was released – as part of the band Ревю (Review). The band main members were Vasil Gyurov on bass and Milena Slavova on vocals. The band managed to record only two albums – "Milena+Review" (re-released as "РЕВЮ IV.88-V.89" in 1995) and "10" in 2002.

    When the band break-up in 2003 when Milena left Bulgaria and settled in England for the second time. At this moment she already had 5 albums behind her – two with "Review" and three in her solo career of singer-songwriter. Her text are socially-orientated, and draw the post-communistic reality of one devastated country populated by one ill nation, and her sound ranges from calm acoustic songs to such with more anger and energy in them.

    Hopelessness, my darling

    When in 1965 the young Dimitur Voev was born no one thought that he would be the leader and the man behind one of the most loved post-totalitarian Bulgarian bands – Нова Генерация (Nova Generatsiya, literally: "New Generation"). It all started in 1985 with the band Парадокс (Paradox), where the two bassists Dimitur Voev and Vasil Gyurov played together until they met Kiril Manchev and renamed the group to Kale (an old Bulgarian word for stronghold). The band had only one live concert om 15th May, 1987, during the First Sofia rock fest. While playing their third song on stage, the organizers of the fest stopped their microphones and made them leave the stage. However the crowd reaction was largely positive and Voev later remembered in an interview how he was recognized by a lady, selling tickets in small town, as a part of the band Kale.

    "Then it was us, only three people, and we named ourselves New generation. It was taken from a poem of mine, which I wrote in 1987. [...] Then I realized the truth about the post-war generation of ours, here, in Bulgaria, which must had been happy. But it came out that we are one played fortunes, one losers, born and doomed to live in gray, to live dull and dis-informed."

    When Kale broke up in 1988 Voev formed the band "New Generation" and continued performing most of Kale's song live. In 1989 the first record of the band – named "BG Rock 1" ("BG Rock" was continued by the Bulgarian punk rock band Kontrol) – was released. The lyrics, written by Voev, and the unique sound, blending together influences raging from the avant-garde jazz and the Leonard Cohen-styled folk songs to the cold and darkwave movements, won the band many followers. In 1990 the band played in Germany, and managed to record 2 more albums before 1992.

    Late 1992. Dimitur Voev lost the battle with the cancer and died on 5th of September. The album "Отвъд Смъртта" (Otvud Smurta, "Beyond Death") was released post-mortem. The concert in his memoriam gathered together thousands of people, raging from far-right neo-nazis to darkwavers, from heavy metal fans to jazz lovers. After his death the scene began slowly to disappear – as Milena moved to England, Review went on hiatus and Gyurov formed a new band, called Афрika. Still, 20 years after the uprise of the movement many bands started performing again and the old heroes are now promoting younger bands and artists.

    However, this article is intended to be music-orientated. Here is a short list of songs that you can hear in YouTube, as well as translations of the unique lyrics and poems, written by Voev.


    Истина (Istina, "Truth")
    Да закърпим небето (Da zakurpim nebeto, "Let's patch the sky")
    Защо (Zashto, "Why")
    Сън (Sun, "Dream")
    Месо (Meso, "Meat")


    Ралица (Ralitsa)
    Директор на Водопад (Direktor na Vodopad, "Manager of Waterfall")
    Ала-Бала (Ala-Bala)


    Апокалиптра (Apocaliptra)

    Нова Генерация:

    Some of the lyrics in English

    Ловец на Сърца (Lovets na Surtsa, "Hunter of Hearts")
    Скорпионите Танцуват Сами (Skorpionite Tantsuvat Sami, "Scorpions Dance Alone")
    Суета (Sueta, "Vanity")
    Ледове (Ledove, "Ices")
    Само Двама (Samo Dvama, "Only us two")

    I really hope you enjoyed those artists. I'm planning on continuing my articles on the Bulgarian alternative and avant-garde music, so if the reception is good, expect an article about the young Bulgarian artists such as Nasekomix and Остава.

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