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World News    Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares Returns For North American Tour    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music
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Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares Returns For North American Tour
Published April 8, 2008

Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, a carefully selected group of female folk singers, has been performing together since 1990. This longevity is proof of the group’s symbiotic relationship, as well as its timeless talent in the music industry.

 

From May 8 to June 1, 2008, Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares will tour North America for the eighth time. Audiences nationwide will be able to witness the fruits of the closeness of the group members first hand. Conductor Dora Hristova has been directing the group since 1988: "we never miss the opportunity to be together,” she said. “Our lives become the life of the choir." The tight-knit relationship of the women feeds the group's signature sound, one that seeks out distinctive regional differences while at the same time creating a masterfully crafted unity from diversity. This kind of choral work is rare in Bulgaria, and distinguishes Le Mystère from the wealth of folkloric ensembles which populate the country. The group has a sonic and timbral range that captures the spectrum of historical singing traditions in Bulgaria. From the throaty, piercing singing of the Western regions to the rich ornamentation of central regions, audiences are treated to an aural lesson in cultural geography.

 

Audiences are also treated to a visual feast. Hristova is careful to dress the women in costumes that reflect the region from which a song came. She says that one "cannot think of traditional song without the costume, without the traditional styles. One cannot think of folk song without the symbols." For instance, The rich greens and golds of the northeastern Dobrudzha region portray its history as an agricultural area. Bulgarian folk dancers sometimes wear bells on their clothes, a touch of ancient ritual tradition that influences the group's revelry in dissonance.

 

The root of their work, however, remains the simple folk lyrics of their songs. They sing everyday songs of marriage, love, birth, mourning, and other life occurrences. "Planino" ("Mountain"), one of their most popular pieces, praises another important figure in the Bulgarian folk world, the mountain, which is seen as a great protector from outside oppressors and which helped shape the open-throated, piercing quality of Bulgaria's mountainous cultural regions.

 

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