If you are looking for authentic folk music and good mood, Bansko is the right place to find them. In Bansko you have the perfect opportunity to enjoy a variety of folk rhythms and to feel the true spirit of the Bulgarian folk traditions in folk music art. The Bansko region has a really rich folklore and any connoisseur of folk music should visit it.
Bansko charms Bulgarians and foreigners not only with its picturesque nature, but also with a wide variety of loud folk songs and beautiful folk costumes. Those of you who appreciate Bulgarian folk traditions and folklore should not miss to visit Bansko. In the winter resort you can hear local songs of different folk groups from Bansko and the region, which tell about the times gone by and seem to revive the Bulgarian lifestyle and culture.
Bansko is an exceptional place where people not only from the region but also from other parts of the country can express their musical folk talents.
In addition to charming the audience with their performances, they also win a number of awards for their participation in various festivals for folk music and cultural events. There is no doubt that they make an important contribution to the folklore and ethnographic heritage of the region. Thanks to them, the authentic Pirin folklore, which is still alive in the hearts of the locals, is preserved in Bansko.
The Bansko song is known for its sound. With the beauty of their songs, folk groups have enjoyed the numerous audiences in Bulgaria and abroad for years. Through their incredible music, a large part of these groups represent Bulgaria on the world music scene and the Bansko Folklore ensembles and performers regularly participate in various festivals and fairs organized in Bansko. Their most famous songs have remained in the hearts of people and have made Bulgaria popular in various places around the world.
There are a total of 50 amateur groups and ensembles in the Bansko area, which have an important place on the Bulgarian folk music scene. Folklore groups offer the presentation of folklore programs upon request. Some of the talented folk groups that we will introduce you to in this article perform their folk music in the style of Pirin Two Voice.
In this style, the melody is sung by one lead singer who “leads” the song, and the second voice is sung by the other singers in the group who overlap it with the first. Usually without musical accompaniment, as the choir songs are sometimes accompanied by a bagpipe or tambourine.
Folklore groups and ensembles in Bansko:
The “Banski Starcheta“ folk group was founded 30 years ago and is one of the oldest and most famous folk groups in the Bansko region.
At the beginning, they were an amateur group and later became professional. Their style is Pirin two-voice. In this folklore group, the lead singer starts the song himself and sets the tone, rhythm, melody, and the voice of the second singer completes it.
Atanas Janchovichin is the leader of the group. With its numerous performances in Bulgaria and abroad, the ensemble presents our country on the world stage and popularizes its uniqueness. The “Banski starcheta“folk group has daily performances when welcoming foreigners and guests of Bansko.
The “Banski starcheta“ group consists of the following members:
- Atanas Janchovichin – tambourine, tarambuka and vocals
- Slavcho Yanushev – accordion, tambura, vocals
- Todor Malchov – accordion, tambourine, vocals
- Lazar Katerinin – bagpipe, drum, vocals
- Mihail Grozdin – clarinet, tarambuka, vocals
- Pavel Yanchovichin- vocals, daire
- Kostadin Bardarev – accordion, clarinet, saxophone, bagpipe and vocals
“Pusta mladost“ /Empty youth/ and “Rasti bore“ /Grow, pine/ are some of their most famous songs. The group has released a total of six solo albums on CD and DVD:
- “Banski starcheta 2002”
- “Haidushki” /revolutionary/
- “Unforgettable Macedonian sogns”
- “The best of Banski starcheta”
- “Shto me mome zalude” /Girl, why do you make me crazy/
Each of the ensemble‘s albums shows the typical Bansko folk music style. Even the older residents of the resort find it difficult to recognize some of the songs of the famous folk group. These are, for example, the songs from their third album: “Song for Gotse Delchev”, “Goodbye, Mother”, “the Burdareva”, “Sedi Danka” and others.
The group has won more than one award at outplays of wedding band orchestras in Blagoevgrad, Dalbok Izvor, Pernik, Kyustendil, Yambol, Gotse Delchev. They have received an award from the Republican Festival in Stambolovo, as well as a gold plaque from the International Festival “Rozhen 2005”.
After 2005, they received invitations to perform abroad. The “Banski starcheta“ group also takes part in the Ninth Festival of Men’s Folklore Groups and the second Folklore Festival “Folklore meeting” in the village of Eleshnitsa.
Future projects and tours
At the moment, the folk group is about to release its seventh solo album. The album will also include songs by the group and composer Dimitar Yanev. It will also have tours in Germany, England and Brazil, where the ensemble will participate in a study seminar on Balkan folklore, as the group works with the organizers of the seminar for 10 years.
The repertoire of the group is greatly assisted by some of the best performers of banski songs in the town- the deceased Ivan Matsurev, Ivan Amidzhev, Perinka Osevichina, Nadka Durkova, Ivan Roshkov and others.
Some of the band’s songs are present in a catalog, which is a special edition of the EU. It will promote Bansko on the Old Continent. The enselble has its own motto: “Music is not competition, music is handwriting! The more different and legible the handwriting, the more real the success!”
Male folklore group
This group dates back to 1969 and thanks to it the unique male singing of Bansko has been preserved. The leader is Georgi Gyumov, whose father Atanas Gyumov passed to him the secret of the two-part songs typical for Bansko. “Pirin Mountain”, “Rasti bore”, “Pusta mladost” are some of their popular songs that have become a symbol of Bansko. They have been presented in a number of countries, including Greece, Macedonia, Germany, Russia, Spain.
An ensemble for authentic folklore of Bansko
This relatively new ensemble is yet to glorify the Bansko region with its beautiful music. At its first performance “De gidi, Komitsko village” at the “Nikola Vaptsarov” Community Center in Bansko in 2009, the ensemble showed its presence on the music scene and popularized its name.
Female folklore group
The band was formed in 1978, when more than 100 folk songs were sung by the members. The current leader of the group is Yordanka Kehayova, and the lead singer is Elena Glushkova. The group is the laureate of various music folk festivals:
● “Music Night” in Ljubljana
● Slovenia, International Folklore Festival in Bitola and Macedonia
● International Folklore Festival in Alcantaria, Spain and others
Another event the group takes part in is the XV “Pirin sings“ Fair for Folk Arts.
„Glaznenski napevi” female folklore group
The band was formed in 1975 and is headed by Nadezhda Hadzhilaskova at the “Nikola Vaptsarov 1894” Community Center. The songs of the group have a unique musical folklore style typical for Glazne. The group also participates in the Razlog Folk Festival and the second “Sapareva Banya-2016” International Folk Festival, where over 800 participants presented their performance at the Geysera Amphitheater.
“Star merak” male folklore group
“Star Merak“is officially a group since 1989 and its leading performer is Boris Hadzhipopov. The group has been awarded at a number of festivals and fairs. One of them is the folklore festival for authentic and processed folklore “Azure Waves” in 2013 in Greece, where together with the female folk groups “Glaznenski Napevi“ and “Pirinski Zdravets”, the ensemble “Star Merak” won a prestigious award from the jury.“
„Atmosphere” Youth group
This youth group led by Yulia Ruskova dates back to 2009, which is a jubilee for Bansko. With their pop, rock and metal music, the band continues a forgotten tradition in music in Bansko.
Folk dance group „Pirin mood”
The ensemble continues the tradition of Bansko dance art. The team leaders are Desislava Bahanova and Raina Aseva.
Children’s folklore orchestra with soloists „Bansko youth”
Thanks to the efforts of Father Georgi Kasapinov, continuity in the folk art of Bansko is achieved and gives a unique opportunity for the expression of young talents in folk music.
The lead of the orchestra of young performers is again Father Georgi Kasapinov. Their music creates a cheerful mood and adds variety to the Bansko music holidays.
Youth folklore group “Banskalii”
The leader of this male folk group is Dimitar Kasapinov. Founded in 2004, the band performs their songs acapella and accompanied by folk instruments. Its main purpose is to involve the young generation in the Bulgarian folk music.
Together with the female folk group “Glaznenski napevi” and the folk group “Banski Starcheta” it takes part in the folk festival in Razlog, as well as at the closing gala concert of the XV Pirin Art Fair “Pirin sings”.
Youth theater studio
Created in 2009, the studio makes its debut with the author’s performance of Georgi Yunchov, born in Bansko. The actors of the youth theater studio sent a special message to the youth of Bansko – “Love and Drugs, Drugs and Death …”, thus supporting life without drugs and addictions. The theater is one of the oldest amateur activities, making it an important part of Bansko’s life.
The cheerleading ensemble of Bansko, led by Silvana Handzhiyska, takes part in every holiday of the town and is a mandatory part of Bansko’s holiday program. The beautiful girls bring joy and mood to any festive event.
“Pirinski zdravets” female folk group
The folk group is led by Yordanka Markova. The ensemble does not live in Bansko, but their music is typical for the Bansko region.
The “Banski Fukli“ dance ensemble is one of Bansko’s most talented folk ensembles. They charm their audience with unique dances and beautiful folk costumes. The group took part in the “Danube Pearl” International Folklore Festival, held in July in the Hungarian capital of Budapest in July 2014.