Tuesday, May 15, 2007
YURI YUNAKOV, IVO PAPASOV, SALIF ALI & NESHKO NESHEV - Together Again 2005
Yuri Yunakov, Ivo Papasov, Salif Ali and Neshko Neshev are not only Bulgaria's most famous ensemble and giants of world music today, they are creators of Bulgaria's and Macedonia's so-called "wedding music," a bubbling Romani soup of village folk tunes spiced with jazz, rock, Turkish and Indian flavors. This music flourished in Bulgaria even when suppressed by the government (it was considered Rom or "gypsy" music). It has now become the most widely listened to form of folk/popular music in both Bulgaria and Macedonia and in their diaspora communities. The creativity and dizzying energy of this music will shock and delight you -- fast speeds, impossible rhythms, plummeting key changes - this is some of the most exciting world music on the scene today.
In Bulgaria, Yuri and Ivo achieved the status of rock stars. Wedding music thrived as a countercultural expression. Nevertheless, they were repeatedly harassed, fined, and twice sent to prison for playing Rom and Turkish music, which were prohibited as part of the socialist government's program to eliminate "foreign" elements.
In 1994, Yuri emigrated to the United States and became one of the most sought-after musicians in New York's Macedonian Rom, Bulgarian, and Turkish communities. He has released three CDs in the US to critical acclaim: New Colors in Bulgarian Wedding Music (1997), Balada (1999) and Roma Variations (2001) on the Traditional Crossroads label. Ivo, meanwhile, has recently returned in full force to the international scene and with undiminished popularity, winning the 2005 World Music Audience Award from BBC Radio 3.
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