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Ivo Papasov Wedding Band




Ivo Papasov
Ivo Papasov


Ivo Papasov, clarinet
Maria Karafizieva, voice
Matyo Dobrev, kaval
Ateshghan Yuseinovc, guitar
Nesho Neshev, accordion
Vasil Mitev, keys and Gadulka (bowed string-instrument)
Salif Ali, percussions

When most of us read the words “Wedding Band” we are quite likely to frown or cringe because the meaning is utterly different in the West from that in the East. The Wedding Band in Bulgaria in particular is just about the most important part of the Wedding Party, more important even than the bride or groom! Especially so if the band is commanded by the clarinet legend, Ivo Papasov. His wedding band music, a mix of Bulgarian and Balkan folk with contemporary elements and jazz, changed the face of Bulgarian and world music and developed it in new directions long before Balkan bands hit the charts in the 1980s. Papasov himself was born in Kurdzali, a village on the triple frontier between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, and in his very roots lies his appetite for mixing and innovating. His Turkish-Gypsy origins also helped him stand out right from the start, when he first began to play clarinet at the age of 9. But what really makes him unique, more even than his absolute command of the instrument, is his unfailing, never-ending curiosity and flair for improvising. “I began improvising because the limits of the Bulgarian music became too tight for me”, says Ivo. And, mind you, Bulgarian music is one of the most varied, complex and intricate in the world, both melodically and harmonically as well as rhythmically.

The band musicians are a perfect match for Papasov´s wild musical inventiveness and they all glide from the unpretentiously local to the sophisticated style and back with supreme aplomb. Convoluted, complex passages are followed by sizzling solos from all musicians, and none of them seems to feel the need to pause for breath. We too, as audience, are in for a treat and can expect to be left breathless.

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