IVAN MILEV http://www.myspace.com/ivanmilev is a landmark of contemporary Balkan folk music. Throughout his 40-plus year career as an accordion player in Bulgaria, he established the rules for Balkan folk music. His style fuses classical, jazz, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern music. Milev comes from a clan of famous folk musicians, learning the intricacies of Bulgarian folk music from his father, Atanas Milev, a renowned and innovative folk accordionist. In 1978 Ivan created his own Orchestra Mladost, which performed at festivals, fairs, in concerts, and on Bulgarian national television. Ivan's exquisite performance and charisma won him many awards and gained him widespread popularity. With his band Ivan has defined the famous wedding music culture in the Balkan region since the 1970s. Ivan toured the U.S. in 2001 with saxophonist Yuri Yanakov. His playing can be heard on the soundtrack of "Everything is Illuminated," a widely acclaimed independent movie. In 2006 Ivan Milev Band recorded its debut album, The Flight of Krali Marco http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ivanmilevband Check out Chirpanliisko Horo http://www.lanphier.net/temp/bulgarika_mp3s/chirpanliisko_edit.mp3 from Orchestra Mladost by Ivan Milev.
NIKOLAY KOLEV http://www.gadular.com is a renowned gadulka virtuoso from the village Karavelovo in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria. After graduating from Shiroka Luka High School, he performed with the Sliven Ensemble for three years. In 1984, he founded the orchestra Sopot. In the same year, he started the wedding band Rozova Dolina, which became one of the most sought-after groups in Thrace. In 1992, he also founded Balkanski Glasove, the singing group which took first place at the Varna Festival in 1994 and 1995. Nikolay is also an accomplished composer and arranger of folk songs. His compositions have been performed by such well-known singers as Roumen Rodopski, Savka Sarieva, Donka Koleva and many others. Nikolay Kolev has taught at EEFC Balkan Camps on both coasts and has an adoring cadre of private students. In 1999 Nikolay Kolev was the first Bulgarian to be recognized by the Slavic Heritage Council of America for his outstanding contributions in music. Check out Karavelovska Povratana http://www.lanphier.net/temp/bulgarika_mp3s/
Karavelovska_edit.mp3 from Gadulka Melodies http://www.gadular.com/flash/gadulka_melo
dies.html by Nikolay Kolev.
TSVETANKA VARIMEZOVA , though famous for her outstanding voice, primarily studied tambura while she was in school, and also learned to play the accordion. She attended the folk music high school in Kotel, and continued her education at the music conservatory in Plovdiv. For five years, both during and after her university studies, she was a member of Ansambl Trakija. In 1991, Tzvetanka joined the Kutev Ensemble, and over the years was also a member and soloist in Cosmic Voices, Le Grande Voix Bulgare, and the National Radio Choir in Sofia. Throughout the nineties, Tzvetanka was the co-director of the state music ensemble in Pazardzhik. In 2001, she conducted residencies at UCLA. Over the last three years, Tzvetanka has worked intensively with American vocal music groups performing Bulgarian and other Balkan choral music forms including the UCLA Balkan Women’s Choir, Kitka, Nevenka and Zhena.
VASIL BEBELEKOV grew up in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria and started playing the gajda at an early age. His wife, MARIA BEBELEKOVA also grew up in the Rhodope mountains and learned singing from her family. Both have taught at the Shiroka Luka Folk Music School and perform in the Bay Area and throughout of USA.
BILL LANPHIER, http://www.lanphier.net whose passion for Bulgarian music was sparked in high school, is easily one of America's most in-demand Balkan bassists. Deeply involved with a diverse spectrum of music, Bill has performed live with Madonna (the Virgin Tour and Live Aid), The Rippingtons, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Linda Ronstadt and Rickie Lee Jones. Bill's bass playing has been heard internationally on hundreds of radio and TV commercials.
BRYAN BOWMAN http://www.bryanlbowman.com comes from an accomplished family of folk dancers and classical musicians, and was exposed to Balkan music at an early age. Having recorded and performed with some of the West Coast's top jazz and Balkan musicians, Bryan's drumming brings an undeniable versatility and creative sensibility to all his musical endeavors.