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"At festivals and gatherings where folk songs and melodies were performed we sifted out the best, in the same way as the gold digger sifts out the sand, hoping to see a flake of gold shine "

Kosta Kolev

The song material from the Kosta Kolev’s archive is a kind of sound picture (phonogram) of the Bulgarian song writing in the second half of the 20th century. Kosta Kolev selected samples not for scientific purposes but according to the functional and practical principle, regardless of the reasons and the place where he received the information. In the selection of songs he was guided by his own aesthetics and a sense of duty to preserve knowledge and people's memory.

His collections are huge in volume and purpose, but in the “Bulgarshtitsi” collection only the authentic and unknown samples of the live broadcasts of Radio Sofia in the 50s were included.

The other parts of the collection include the folk songs written in notes which Kosta Kolev recorded on site all over the country between 1947 and 1989 during the first festivals, planned folklore expeditions, separate trips from Radio Sofia, and accidental contributors. The material is put into the respective sections according to Kosta Kolev’s terrain scrolls as well as the subject to the character and the style of the geographic and folklore regions to which they belong.

The "Bulgartitsi" collection has no ambition to compensate for the drawbacks caused by the cultural and aesthetic transformations of the modern times. You will not find there any songs gaining media popularity or samples multiplied in their variation. Golden Songs from the repertoire of Gurga Pindirova, Radka Kushleva, Boris Mashalov, Masha Belmustakova, Zorka Baldjiyska, Atanaska Todorova, Meta Stoycheva, Margarita Dimitrova, Rayna Botsova, Georgi Chilingirov, Kostadin / Kocho / Molerov from Bansko and many others have been already patiently waiting for their modern interpreters for decades.

Despite their active presence in the radio program, there was no information about some of the singers, and only owing to Kosta's notes in the field of the orchestra's scores and the style of their songs I decided to add them to the respective section. To give an example, I will mention Atanas Velev - a legendary singer and the teacher of Kostadin Gugov, Katya Taneva, one of the first six singers who founded the choir of the National Radio and Siyka Izmirlieva, who provided a valuable repertoire to Radio Sofia.

In the "Bulgarshtitsi" collection, not only the authentic singing colour of Bulgaria is presented for the first time, but parts of the ethnic territory beyond our state borders as well - the western borderlands and the Aegean Sea. In the section "Songs from Western Bulgaria" there are specimens from the regions of Radomir, Samokov, Tran, Ihtiman, Godech, Kyustendil, Dupnitsa, Sofia, Ellinpelin and Pernik. Songs from Chirpan, Harmanli, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Elhovo, Pazardjik, Haskovo, Plovdiv, Asenovgrad, Malko Turnovo, Tsarevo, Karnobat, Karlovo, Parvomay, Yambol and others are included in “Songs from Eastern and Western Thrace.”

A separate section is devoted to the unique character of the Kotel song or as Kosta Kolev himself defined the area as the “donor” and the "mother nest" of Thrace.

Time is the worst ally of an archive, and thanks to Kosta’s ingenuity to wrap the note-rolls with newspapers, I succeeded to pass them on myself in the same condition as I found them in his archive.

"Give me, lady, give me, cold water,

on a horse by hand, lady, to a mad(man) by your mouth! "

sang Mustafa Eminov from the village of Dobrinishte

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