Bulgarian folklore across the ocean: support kaba gaida to Chicago and beyond!

Do you love Bulgarian music and would you like to help five young bagpipe players represent the unique Bulgarian folklore at festivals in Chicago and Richmond this autumn? The team of KabaGaida.com, who offer free online tutorials for Bulgarian kaba gaida bagpipe enthusiasts, have been invited to the World Music Festival Chicago and the Richmond Folk Festival.

To be able to cover their significant airfares and visa fees and be able to perform Bulgarian bagpipe music at these festivals, the KabaGaida.com team and the Kaynak Pipers Band have started a fundraiser at Indiegogo. Help them raise awareness about Bulgarian folklore and make their American dream come true by donating!

10 classic Bulgarian films you must watch

10 classic Bulgarian films you must watch

Hollywood’s repeatable storylines and empty blockbusters may be dominating the world’s movie theatres, but believe it or not, quality films have been shot and are being made elsewhere too.

Bulgarian cinema had its golden age in the 70s and 80s, when the state-funded film industry was tasked with providing entertainment for the masses – and did an impressively good job at it! And though Bulgaria is producing less films these days than in the past, quite a few successful and captivating Bulgarian movies have been released in recent years as well.

What is unique about Bulgarian films are the fresh and clever stories, the unforgettable characters and the atmospheric settings which give the movies a look and feel decidedly different from Hollywood’s style that relies on CGI and other visual effects.

From the tale of a plum-eating dolphin to the drama caused by a music teacher who sings terribly,  kashkaval tourist presents 10 classic Bulgarian films you must watch.

1. “Gotta sleep for 10 more minutes and then I’m coming”: With Children at the Seaside (1972)

With Children at the Seaside (1972)

With Children at the Seaside (1972)

With Children at the Seaside (С деца на море, S detsa na more) is a charming collection of two storylines united by their setting at the Bulgarian seaside and the mischievous but honest character of Pipsi.

The first part revolves around a summer love story in Nesebar, a historic Bulgarian seaside town, and a group of kids who keep following the young lovers, hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary plum-eating dolphin that they reportedly sail off to meet every day.

The second part involves Georgi Partsalev’s memorable character Uncle Mancho who goes to the seaside with his mistress, but is immediately caught on camera by Pipsi. Seeking to destroy the evidence of his affair, Mancho is forced to somehow take the camera away from the children.

2. “Why is this dog green? It’s a little crocodile”: Dangerous Charm (1984)

Dangerous Charm (1984)

Dangerous Charm (1984)

In Dangerous Charm (Опасен чар, Opasen char), famous Bulgarian actor Todor Kolev plays a conman who seduces single women with his charm and intellect, robs them of their money and spends it all on mindless entertainment.

The police are following the conman in his trails, though his ingenious decisions and clever use of fake names (as well as completely made up Frank Lloyd Wright quotes!) pushes his plan forward… Until the conman himself finds love, or does he?

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July Morning in Bulgaria: the feast of the rising sun

July Morning in Bulgaria: the feast of the rising sun

July Morning, the celebration of the rising summer sun on the morning of 1 July every year, surely counts among Bulgaria’s most unique holidays.

Sparked by the Bulgarian counterculture movement that existed clandestinely under socialism in the 1980s, the celebration was named after legendary rock band Uriah Heep’s hit song July Morning. Remarkably, to date the holiday retains its authentic appeal and has not been ruined by commercialization, nor has it faded away after the fall of communism.

Each year on the eve of 1 July, Bulgaria’s youth and young at heart gather in nature (whether in the mountains or at the Black Sea side) to have a party, play live music and rock through the night in anticipation of the sunrise. The steep cliffs of the scenic seaside village of Kamen Bryag are a popular gathering spot, though impromptu parties are organized throughout Bulgaria. In the capital Sofia, for example, it’s common to celebrate July Morning at 1345 metres above sea level by the Kopitoto TV Tower on Vitosha, looking east over the city towards the rising sun.

And why, you might ask? To celebrate nature, to give summer a proper kick-off and to escape from the routines of daily life, I would say.

Happy July Morning and cheers to all who feel like celebrating summer!

Travel back in time to Bulgaria in the 1960s!

“It’s roses, roses all the way… this, wherever it is, is a land of happiness!”

In the 1960s, Bulgarian tourism was still in its infancy and Bulgaria’s natural beauty was relatively untapped by mass tourism. This video must be one of the first attempts to advertise tourism in Bulgaria to the Anglophone world. Check out below what could bring a foreign visitor to Bulgaria in the 1960s!