Macedonian and Balkan Folk Music

Vesselin Hasabaliev — The Master from Haskovo

cover of Authentic Tunes for Kaval

NEW! This 129-page book, available in an English translation as a pdf download, is the first of its kind. It traces the life and creative path of Vesselin Hasabaliev, a Bulgarian kaval player, teacher, composer, and master craftsman of the kaval and other traditional wind folk instruments.

The book is divided into two parts. The first chapter describes Hasabaliev’s journey as a kaval player, from his first steps with the kaval and other instruments, through the music school in Shiroka Laka and the music academy in Plovdiv, to his professional positions working with the "Sakar" Ensemble in Svilengrad and the Municipal Folk Orchestra in Haskovo. It includes his studies with master kaval players, his performing and teaching activities (he was the first kaval teacher of the renowned Nedyalko Nedyalkov), and details his collection of kavals.

This leads into the book’s second chapter, focusing on Hasabaliev as a maker of traditional Bulgarian wind instruments, specifically the kaval. He reveals the intricacies of the craft and presents the entire process of making a kaval step by step. Photographs are included along the way, showing individual stages of the creation of the instrument. Special attention in the book is also paid to the types of wood from which the kaval is made, because, as a popular Bulgarian proverb says: “You can’t make a whistle out of every tree.”

The book concludes with descriptions of other traditional instruments Hasabaliev has made, tributes from kaval players and makers, and it finishes with an extensive reference section (that complements an earlier literature review) and a list of internet resources.

About the author: Kiril Belezhkov is a Bulgarian professional kaval player with a Ph.D. in Musicology and Music Art. He has published articles and books about the kaval, and has performed with the Sofia Philharmonic, the National Radio Folk Orchestra, the New Symphonic Orchestra, the rock band "Epizod", and others. He has kaval students from all over the world and regularly runs workshops where he teaches kaval, flute and Bulgarian folklore. You can find more information about Kiril here.


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