Culture at the Crossroads: Orkestar Balkanski Zvezdi with Rumen Sali Shopov
Orkestar Balkanski Zvezdi includes Rumen Shopov, Kalin Kirilov, Angel Gadzev and Zhelyazko Georgiev
Rumen "Sali" Shopov is a master Turkish-Romani drummer, singer, and string-player from Goce Delchev, Bulgaria, a crossroads town in the Pirin Mountain region that hosts a rich intersection of Bulgarian, Macedonian, Greek, and Turkish musical influences. Rumen has performed and toured with the Nevrokopski Folk Ensemble, Yuri Yunakov and his Romani Wedding Band, Edessa, Ziyia, Kitka, Ivan Milev, Chris Bajmakovic, Ismail Lumanovski, Frank London, Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello), and many others. A charismatic and patient teacher, Rumen has taught at the Eastern European Folklife Center's Balkan Music and Dance Workshops, Berkeley's JazzSchool, UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, Eugene; The College of Santa Fe, Kosmos World Music and Dance Camp, World Camp, Stockton Camp, Balkanalia, and at other universities and cultural centers throughout the US and Canada. Since 2003, Rumen has been artist-in-residence with Voice of Roma, a humanitarian aid and cultural organization based in Sebastopol, California. In 2006, Voice of Roma released "Soul of the Mahala" a CD featuring performances by Rumen and his son, Angel.Rumen is the recipient of grants from the Creative Work Fund, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Creative Capital MAP Fund, and The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fund for Folk Culture.
Kalin Kirilov (tambura, accordion, vocals). Born in Vidin in Northern Bulgaria, Kalin Kirilov received a B.A in Music Education from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, an M.A in Folklore from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D in Music Theory from the University of Oregon. His dissertation, Harmony in Bulgarian Music, traces the development of harmonic languages in Bulgarian music starting from the earliest examples of triadic harmonizations and concluding with the incorporation of modern jazz harmony. The harmonic vocabulary of Bulgarian music is based on an amalgam of Middle Eastern makams (modes), microtonal structures, pentatonic scales, diatonic modes, mode mixtures, and major and minor collections.
Angel Gadzhev, graduate of Široka Luka High School of Bulgarian Folk Music, Široka Luka, Bulgaria. He has toured and performed extensively all over Bulgaria. His gadulka playing could be heard on many weddings as well as with the performances of The State Ensemble Philip Kutev, The Mystère des Voix Bulgare, Ivo Papasov and his orchestra, the renowned Bulgarian accordion player Petar Ralchev. As a soloist of the orchestra of Philip Kutev and a performer with the Mystères des voix Bulgares, Angel Gazhev has toured on six continents. Since 2001, Angel lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Zhelyazko Georgiev, graduate of Kotel High School of Bulgarian Folk Music and Academy of Music and Dance Art, Plovdiv. Currently one of the most famous young Bulgarian bagpiper with his own unique technique and 58 awards from competitions and festivals all over the world. Great singer
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