Kotel, a small town in the eastern Balkan mountains, was and still is one of the cradles of Bulgarian Gypsy music and famous for its musicians. They descend from noble families of Gypsies with a long musical tradition venerated in the whole of Bulgaria. They keep the memory for their origin from the region of Kotel; they maintain the relations with other Drindari. (see details scientific article from 1915 by Prof. Petulengro, (bad scan) http://www.archive.org/stream/journalofgypsylo09gypsuoft/journalofgypsylo09gypsuoft_djvu.txt), and Lozanka Peycheva, Ventsislav Dimov, e.o.: http://www.nomadsed.de/fileadmin/user_upload/redakteure/Dateien_Publikationen/Mitteilungen_des_SFB/owh6peycheva.pdf and other references.

The Roma population of Kotel town is about 1,800 or about 35% of the current population. Only in the Musicians mahala “Iglika” of Kotel are living more than 200 musicians, this means that about every second man in this Mahala is musician!

From there originate the famous musical clans and families like Malakovi (clarinets), Pamukovi (clarinets), Dundalovi (brass instruments), Bilnikovi (brass instruments), and well known musicians as Angel Tsintjiiri (accordeon), Kiril Lambov (guitars), Ico Buhala (keyboard), “Cheko BG” (drums), “Ceko Drums”, Milcho Gagev (keybords), Dimitar Fandakov (clarinet), the family’s Bodurovi, Karakashevi, and many, many others.

Already at the age of 14, 15 years old you can find masters on clarinet, keyboard and drums. (like the members of the Kotlenski Gypsy Band). They get the tradition past by directly from the masters, who often are there close relatives.

Or, like the world famous kaval player Theodosii Spassov is saying I was student at the music school in Kotel, but I learned to play from the gypsies in the Kotel mahala

See for some video's my Facebook page "Jaap van Beelen".

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Replies to This Discussion

Dear Jaap,

Thank you very much for this interesting information! Maybe you can invite a few musicians on this site and support them with the English, if necessary.

I am aware of the fact that only a relatively small number of Bulgarian Roma musicians are on the site of Khetanes. One of the major obstacles is the language barrier.

What also would be of help, is some extra coordination, especially in this group, because Music has so many styles. For information about concerts, tours, CDs and Festivals, we need to establish sub-groups on Jazz, classic, pop, traditional and more.

Suggestions to make the Bugarian musicians more visible here, are very welcome!

Many thanks in advance!



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