Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

I have, with luck and employment, ended up in sessions in a number of different countries around the world. Used to live in Germany, been to China and Japan and played in sessions in those. Most unexpected was at the James Joyce pub in Istanbul.

But I’m soon travelling to Bulgaria and have heard the Balkans are an absolute desert for Irish Music and don’t quite believe that with this new-fangled Internet and all that. I’m off to Plovdiv. Should I take my whistle with me?

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

No matter where they are, I’ve never understood why whistle players wouldn’t just always have one (a whistle) in their pocket- just in case.
Same for harmonica botherers!
And in Bulgaria you may just stumble across some local Balkan music to pick up and join in with!!!
Have fun!!!!

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

I would be surprised if there were not *some* interest in Irish music among Bulgarian musicians. But it could be that Bulgaria’s own traditional music scene is strong enough that there is no ‘need’ for Irish music. I’ve heard Ireland is a bit of a desert for Bulgarian music (although admittedly, I have encountered the odd damp patch).

Of course you should take your whistle with you. Why wouldn’t you?

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

Full disclosure here - yes even Ryanair will give me enough weight to take the whistle. But should I take the flute too, I suppose is the question. And yep, I can just about manage Smeceno Horo, so that’s another option. Actually, might be worth looking for Andy Irvine’s contact. If anyone would know, you’d think he would. Also, would love to hear some Bulgarian stuff while there and will look for it

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

According to Google maps, there are three Irish pubs/bars in Plovdiv which might be of use.

https://bit.ly/3kRcEkW

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Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

There are.
2 players I knew in London moved out there, a few - maybe more than a few now - years ago.
I’ve now got in touch with them for you.
Best of luck on your move.
A bit too close to Ukraine for me, I’m sorry to say.

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

Agree with Cook: what’s the point of going to Bulgaria to play Irish? The saying is not “When in Rome, do as the Gauls do” …

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

Frans Van der AA, the Duch accordion maker has moved to Bulgaria. Might be worth contacting him, he plays a fair bit of Irish music.

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

@The Boy From County Cook — Great clip, but Jivan Gasparyan is from Armenia, a sea and a mountain range away from Bulgaria.

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

You said correctly that the Balkans are a desert when it comes to Irish music. The good news is that we have managed to get a monthly session going here in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, the nearest sessions to us being in Istanbul and Belgrade. There will also be an Irish festival in Athens on 27, 28 and 29 May.

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

Thank you, CMO. I searched yt for “duduk”, but of course the Bulgarian duduk and the Armenian one are quite different instruments. Careless of me.

Here, this is definitely Bulgarian, and seems to show that the local (non-uilleann) bagpipe tradition is thriving:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jccGfGBkky4

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

@The Boy from County Cook: Ah, I wasn’t familiar with the Bulgarian duduk. It seems it is a kind of fipple flute https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duduk#Balkan_duduk . It seems it is a kind of fipple flute – perhaps similar to the Ukrainian duduchka. Apparently it is known as a ‘kaval’ in Macedonia – but it is not the same as a Bulgarian kaval (as in the clip I posted), which is an end-blown flute, like the Andean Quena.

Re: Countries with no Irish music in them. There must be Someone who plays in Bulgaria.

@CreadurMawnOrganig: since we’re into nitpicking, kaval and quena are played in different ways. About as different as kaval and flute. Kaval just has a round hole at the end, which you blow across sideways, whereas quena has a notch in the blowing end, and you cover most of the blowing end with your chin and then blow at the end of the notch.
Quena is more similar to shakuhachi in the way you blow it.