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World Music Concerts & Festivals

Bulgarian Bebop: The Yuri Yunakov Ensemble featuring Ivo Papasov
October 7, 2005 - November 18, 2005



Beginning October 7, 2005, some of Bulgaria's most famous musicians will be touring 24 cities in the USA. These are four Bulgarian Gypsy musicians who, during Soviet times, started listening to underground tapes of Charlie Parker, jazz, and rock. They experimented with bebop and the electric rock sound of the West, combining these influences with traditional Bulgarian music, inventing a new folk style that took Bulgaria by storm. Showcasing virtuosic technique, inventive improvisation, rapid tempos, daring key changes, and eclectic musical literacy including Turkish and Indian music, their music was outlawed by the Soviets. But the music fans of Bulgaria quickly fell in love with their new sound and the group often played to crowds to 10,000 or more while the Soviets looked on with despair. Bulgarian students in the '70s looked to these musicians somewhat like American students followed cult rock bands. Their music retained a Bulgarian folk tradition but it came to embody freedom of expression valued in the west. Eventually, the government had to sanction their concerts and even endorsed their music, sending them around the world as musical diplomats. The tour and new CD Together Again features a historic reunion of these superstars of what came to be called “Bulgarian wedding music": Ivo Papasov, Yuri Yunakov, Neshko Neshev, and Salif Ali with Kalin Kirilov and Carol Silverman.


10/7-9 National Folk Festival, Richmond, VA 

10/11-12 Magura Restaurant, Las Vegas, NV

10/13 UCLA's Royce Hall, Los Angeles, CA

10/14 UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

10/15 Sebastopol Community Center, Sebastopol, CA

10/18 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

10/19 Town Hall, Seattle, WA

10/20 Wheeler Theater, Port Townsend, WA

10/22 Somerville Theatre, Boston, MA

10/23 Center for Cultural Exchange, Portland, ME

10/24-27 Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

10/28 Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

10/29 Symphony Space/ World Music Institute, New York, NY

11/3 Kimball Theatre, Williamsburg, VA

11/5 Wesleyan Univ. Crowell Concert Hall, Middletown, CT

11/8 Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN 

11/9 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI