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Biography

Ivanka Georgieva (Bulgarian: Иванка Георгиева) was a singer. She was one of the first stars of Bulgarian "ethnopop" music. At the end of the 1930s and the beginning of the 1940s, she recorded more than 200 songs for the Bulgarian music companies Orpheus-Simonavia, Arfa, London Record, Balkan and Patria. Most of her songs became well-known favourites among the city and village audiences.

Georgieva was born Ivanka Dinolova in Vidin (Northwest Bulgaria) in 1903, of Vlach decent. She married the accordion and stand-up bass player Georgi Stanev, nicknamed Mechkaria (the Bear Wrestler, since he was a big guy and when he was young he was rumoured to have wrestled a bear), with whom she spent her whole life, both on and off the stage. Her actual married name was Parashkevova, but she became known on records and booklets as Georgieva, “Georgi’s wife.” In 1928 she moved to Sofia. In the 1930s and 1940s, Ivanka and Georgi worked together in the Kostika Band, entertaining people at village celebrations, city fairs and music programs at popular clubs in Sofia, as well as the seaside. They travelled to Romania and Serbia. During that time, she released hundreds of records produced by the major music companies. The recordings took place in Prague, Leipzig and Vienna. After September 9, 1944 she suddenly disappeared and her songs were no longer aired on the radio; the state record company no longer endorsed her. Perhaps this was because she was not strictly a village singer and she brought with her some of the “lower” class flavour of Western and Balkan Oriental popular music.

Georgieva's repertoire was very hybrid, combining Western dance forms with Balkan city traditions into new genres, such as “folk tango,” “folk foxtrot,” “folk waltz,” “oriental foxtrot,” and “oriental rap” (Cherno more, Az Simptia Si Imam, Zaboliaha Me Ochite, Krasna Deva, Aishe). It included old village songs (Braino le, Byala Maria, Kitchitse Buina Loboda), Macedonian village and city songs (Bog da ubie, Chakam Te Yanko), songs of the Renaissance (Tezhko Vino Daite to lyrics by Botev), songs from the city fair folklore (Zaplakala E Arestantska Maika, Padaneto na Odrin), newly written schlager songs about love and entertainment (V moita bedna staia, Studentki Sme Nie, Hey Drugari), and patriotic songs about the wars and the liberation of Macedonia and Dobrudzha (Gordei Se Maiko Bulgario, Barabana Bie Za Dobrudzha, Tam E Moita Rodina). She also included songs of the minorities (Dai Mi Chicho is Roma, Nanurka is Pomak, Lud Gidia is Vlach and Klezmer style).

It is not widely known that Ivanka Georgieva is the woman who first recorded some of the most popular Bulgarian songs today: Rayna Knyaginya (Koi Ushi Bairaka), Otvori Mi Byalo Lenche, Dremka Mi se Dreme, and others.

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