Macedonian and Balkan Folk Music

Online class on Macedonian Kaval Ornamentation

February 2, 2024

Cover of Banski Starcheta CDs, with 7 men and 2 women in costume

David Bilides will be teaching a 4-week 75-minute class on Macedonian kaval ornamentation each Monday in February via Zoom. The class is sponsored by the East European Folklife Center (EEFC).

Ornamentation is an essential component of the soul of Macedonian folk music. This class will investigate ornamentation in the music of the Macedonian kaval. One goal is to give participants an "ornaments toolbox" to use in their own playing by examining and learning up to 5 pieces of music for the Macedonian kaval. Another goal is to have participants begin to experience their playing sounding "more Macedonian," and what differentiates that from other styles of kaval playing in the larger region.

Notated pdfs and mp3 files of each piece, along with a pdf "Ornaments Key" are available ahead of time and during the classes.

The class will be geared toward intermediate and advanced players, who can access the entire note range in the middle register and feel comfortable producing a consistent tone. Beginning players are very much welcome and will get a jump start on their Macedonian kaval playing. Questions and requests for clarifications and repetition are hoped for!

Participants are also encouraged to bring a short Macedonian song or solo they know and want to ornament in this style. If you have a piece in mind, please send it to me in advance, so that I can prepare it for teaching.

The instrument I'll teach on is a "C" ("do") Macedonian kaval (all fingers down = C). If you do not have a Macedonian kaval, you can use a Bulgarian C kaval, or a PVC or metal or what-have-you kaval in C. If all you have is a Db Macedonian kaval (all fingers down = Db), we can still make this work for times when I work with individuals, but write me here before you decide whether or not to register, to see if the class will meet your expectations.

Macedonian Kaval Ornamentation
Mondays, February 5,12,19,26 2024
5:00pm to 7:15pm PST (GMT -8)
REGISTER: EEFC Online Classes Seattle, WA 98112

 

Banski Starcheta CDs and Live Performance available

January 24, 2024

Cover of Banski Starcheta CDs, with 7 men and 2 women in costume

Banski Starcheta, the renowned vocal group form Bansko, Pirin, Bulgaria made their first-ever US stop in Seattle in December. They brought a new 2-CD set and performed for dancing live in front of capacity audience in December 2023. Izvor Music is happy to offer both the new double-CD of 37 songs (with all lyrics) and the live performance, available only as downloads.

More information about the group and ordering the downloads can be found here.

 

Prof. Lyuben Dosev Kaval Book Published

November 5, 2023

Cover of Authentic Tunes for Kaval book

Автентични мелодии за булбарски кавал — Authentic Tunes for Bulgarian Kaval

This 96-page bilingual pdf contains 36 authentic kaval tunes, newly notated and formatted, with ornaments, and is accompanied by an archive of audio files corresponding to each tune, performed by Professor Dosev. There are also notes about how to read the notation, play the ornaments, and use the audio files, plus a mini autobiography of Professor Dosev.

More information about the book and ordering, the list of tunes, and notation and audio examples can be found here.

 

Macedonian Postcards Episode 55 published

June 7, 2023

Dragi and I are back with a new podcast for you in our series of expanded discussions for each of the 54 songs in his 3-CD set: Episode 55: Stani, bre sine Stojane. Dragi talks about some of the traditions found in line dancing, and some ways romancing was carried out. He then spends the majority of the podcast talking about the extraordinary legendary vocalist Vaska Ilieva.

Osem i Devet play for dancing May 19

May 13, 2023

Osem i Devet will play with guest vocalists Tedy Dimitrova and Dina Trageser for the Seattle Balkan Dancers on Friday, May 19. There will also be a special performance of dance tunes by the Bulgarian Voices of Seattle.

 

Osem i Devet with Tedy Dimitrova and Dina Trageser
Friday, May 19, 2023
8:00pm to 11:00pm
Russian Community Center
704 19th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
suggested donation: $15.00

Macedonian Postcards Episode 54 published

April 17, 2023

Dragi and I are back with a new podcast for you in our series of expanded discussions for each of the 54 songs in his 3-CD set: Episode 54: Urva Fanka. Dragi talks about the four major women's vocal groups from Aegean Macedonia, how they came to be formed, and the importance of cultural context and hidden meanings in songs.

Turkish neys for sale

March 19, 2023

photo of 3 neys

I'm beginning to sell off my instruments, in the hope that they will continue to be played. I have 3 excellent neys, sold to me in person by Ömer Erdoğdular. They are modified for "left hand on top" players. You can look them over in detail here.

 

Osem i Devet with Dragi Spasovski, March 24, Vancouver, BC

February 8, 2023

Dragi Spasovski photo

Join Osem i DevetMichael Lawson on accordion and David Bilides on tapan — with special guest, Macedonian legend Dragi Spasovski on vocals at an international folk dance party in Vancouver, BC. The 3 of us are planning a night of great dance tunes with lots of gorgeous vocals. Come listen, dance, and enjoy snacks to share and drinks sold by the church, sponsored by the Vancouver International Folk Dancers and The Gradina school of Serbian Folkdancing.

 

Osem i Devet with Dragi Spasovski
New date and location! Friday, March 24, 2023
7:30pm to 11:15pm
Moberly Arts Community Centre
7646 Prince Albert St
Vancouver, BC V2X 2P7
C$15.00/US$10.00

 

Macedonian Postcards Episode 53 published

January 12, 2023

Dragi and I are back with a new podcast for you in our series of expanded discussions for each of the 54 songs in his 3-CD set: Episode 53: Snošti te prativ na voda, Ḱerko. This love song from the Debar region features the wonderful singer, Kiril Mančevski. Dragi also talks about ornamentation, and wedding traditions.

Macedonian Postcards Episode 52 published

December 6, 2022

Dragi and I are back with a new podcast for you in our series of expanded discussions for each of the 54 songs in his 3-CD set: Episode 52: Mome ore zeleni livadi. Dragi discusses another of his mother's songs, from the Kumanovo area. He talks about the differences between čalgija, urban, and izvoren melodies, and how musical arrangement decisions were made for recordings.

Dragi Spasovski receives Ethnic Heritage Award

November 2, 2022

Dragi Spasovski is this year's recipient of Seattle's Ethnic Heritage Council's Gordon Ekvall Tracie Memorial Award "for excellence in ethnic performance and leadership in the community in the traditional cultural arts."

Awards Ceremony
Saturday, November 5, 2022

2:00 - 5:00 pm
MLK F.A.M.E. Community Center
3201 E. Republican Street
Seattle, WA 98112
Tickets are $35 and are available here.

Macedonian Postcards Episode 51 published

June 7, 2022

Dragi and I are back with a new podcast for you in our series of expanded discussions for each of the 54 songs in his 3-CD set: Episode 51: Ori mome, lastar mome. Another song from the Tetovo area, originally sung by Olga Sičan, about a girl who cannot marry due to a death in the family. Dragi talks about these customs.

PDF download of Dragi Spasovski's songbook available; CD price cut

March 29, 2022

Macedonian Folk Songs from the Repertoire of Dragi Spasovski Volume 1 is now available as a pdf download. Thanks to all who purchased the hard copy edition, which has sold out. Additionally, we are offering Dragi's three CD set individually for half price, and the complete set for over 60% off.

ePub version of Mastering Thracian Kaval Ornamentation published

August 28, 2021

Izvor Music is releasing an ePub version of Lyuben Dossev's Mastering Thracian Kaval Ornamentation: A Handbook It has the same content as the book (which is out of print). The audio files are embedded in the ePub and are juxtaposed to their relevant notation example. It is also a "reflow" EPUB, which means it can be resized to your preference.

If you have already purchased a copy of the book, you are entitled to a free copy of the ePub. (If you haven't already received an e-mail from Izvor Music about this, please write to me via the contact form.) Otherwise, you can get more details here and purchase it here.

Izvor Music launches second YouTube channel

July 12, 2021

We've launched a second YouTube channel, featuring Michael Lawson and David Bilides as "Osem i Devet." Guests include Dina Trageser, Tedy Dimitrova, Dragi Spasovski, violinist Miamon Miller, and bassist Janie Cowan. The music is from Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, and Romania. We will be making more videos, so subscribe to the channel to get notified of new releases.

Izvor Music launches YouTube channel

June 28, 2020

With the pandemic leading to all shows cancelled for the foreseeable future, we pivoted and started a video channel on YouTube. Our first offering features Dragi Spasovski singing "Tvojte oči, Leno, mori." We will be making more videos, so subscribe to the channel to get notified of new releases.

Ludmil Krumov and Osem i Devet

February 6, 2020

Ludmil Krumov photo

A rare double-billing!

Ludmil Krumov, musician and composer for Kaval Park, will play at 7 PM with Vasil Denev (kaval), Rossen Atanassov (drums) and Dimitar Toromanov (bass guitar). One-time appearance only!

More info: Seattle meets The Hague - Balkan jazz style

8 PM: Michael "Osem" Lawson and David "Devet" Bilides will play for your dancing and dining pleasure. Vocalists are Tedy Dimitrova and Dina Trageser.

 

Ludmil Krumov and Osem i Devet
Saturday, February 8, 2020

7:00 - 10:00 pm
Stone Way Cafe
3510 Stone Way
Seattle, WA
Suggested donations: $10 (all proceeds go to the musicians).

 

Dragi Spasovski and Macedonian All Stars at Balkanalia

July 18, 2018

Dragi Spasovski singing class photo

Spend a long weekend immersed in Balkan music and dance, with friends from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy three idyllic days with an incredible gathering of campers, musicians, dancers and singers. Beginners and families are welcome!If you are new to Balkan music, this camp provides a fantastic introduction.

Dancing and singing classes are accessible to beginners, but if you prefer, you can spend the day playing soccer or lounging on the beach of the Sandy River. If you want to share your love of Balkan music and dance with your children, this is a wonderful opportunity to include them in the "village" experience of a residential camp. Beginners of all ages will find this camp welcoming and inclusive.

In addition to Dragi Spasovski, there will be music and dance classes from Bulgaria and Romania, plus singing and instrument workshops.

 

Dragi Spasovski and the Macedonian All Stars
Balkanalia
Labor Day Weekend, August 31 to September 3, 2018

Camp Angelos
32149 SE Stevens Rd
Corbett, OR
Tuition before July 31: $365 for adults, $185 for ages 17 and younger, and under 5 is free!
Registration is available online.

 

Osem i Devet with Dragi Spasovski and Dina Trageser, June 23 in Seattle

June 17, 2018

Osem i Devet with Dragi and Dina photo

Start your summer with some beautiful Macedonian songs & dances with singers Dragi Spasovski and Dina Trageser. Michael Lawson on accordion and David Bilides on tapan. The bellydancer will be Nadira. Good food, good times!

 

Osem i Devet with Dragi Spasovski and Dina Trageser
Saturday, June 23, 2018
7:00pm to 10:00pm

Georgia's Greek Restaurant
323 NW 85th St
Seattle, WA 98117
Reservations a must for this intimate venue: 206-783-1228

 

Osem i Devet with Dina Trageser, December 16, Vancouver, BC

December 4, 2017

Osem i Devet with Dina Trageser photo

Join Osem i Devet — Michael Lawson on accordion and David Bilides on tapan — with special guest Dina Trageser on vocals at an international folk dance winter party in Vancouver, BC. The 3 of us are planning a night of great dance tunes with lots of gorgeous vocals. Come listen, dance, and enjoy food and drinks supplied by the Vancouver International Folk Dancers.

 

Osem i Devet with Dina Trageser
Saturday, December 16, 2017
7:30pm to 11:00pm

Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre
7646 Prince Albert St.
Vancouver, BC
$15.00

 

Osem i Devet with Teodora Dimitrova, March 20 at Stone Way Cafe

March 1, 2017

Osem i Devet with Teodora Dimitrova photo

Join Osem i Devet — Michael Lawson on accordion and David Bilides on tapan — with special guest Teodora Dimitrova on vocals at the Stone Way Cafe in Seattle. The 3 of us are planning a night of great dance tunes with lots of gorgeous vocals. We're going to include easy dances and we'll have quick teaching by Sydney Deering, so everyone can join in. Come listen, learn some fun dances, and enjoy food and drinks from the cafe's menu.

 

Osem i Devet with Teodora Dimitrova
Saturday, March 20, 2017
7:30pm to 9:30pm

Balkan Dance Cafe @ Stone Way Cafe
3510 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
$5.00 donation, more or less as you wish

 

Dragi Spasovski, Chris Bajmakovich, Vlado Pupinoski at Balkan Night Northwest March 4

February 15, 2017

26 bands on 3 three stages! Join Dragi Spasovski with an izvoren set, the Bulgarian Voices of Seattle with some Pirin songs, and special guest musicians from Pennsylvania, at the 6th annual Balkan Night Northwest.

 

Balkan Night Northwest
Saturday, March 4, 2016
3:00pm to midnight

St. Demetrios Hall
2100 Boyer Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
Tickets: $25.00, $15.00, $10.00
More information can be found on the BNNW website.

 

Osem i Devet performs in Vancouver, B.C. December 3

November 30, 2016

Join the Vancouver International Folk Dancers at their annual Christmas party, with live music by Osem i Devet (Michael Lawson on accordion and David Bilides on tapan), with special guest vocalist Dina Trageser.

 

Christmas Party
Saturday, December 3, 2016 7:00pm
Moberly Arts Community Centre
7646 Prince Albert St
Vancouver, BC V2X 2P7
$CAN 15.00

 

Stefče Stojkovski & Dragi Spasovski perform in Vancouver, B.C. Nov. 26

November 16, 2016

Stefče Stojkovski

You are invited to a wonderful evening of Macedonian music starting with a delicious dinner at the Balkanika European Food Restaurant, followed by music with Stefče Stojkovski, master musician from Skopje, Macedonia, accompanied by Dragi Spasovski on vocals, Michael Lawson on accordion, David Bilides on tambura, and Rumen Sali Shopov on percussion, from San Francisco.

 

Makedonska zabava
Saturday, November 26, 2016 7:00pm
Balkanika European Food Restaurant
20110 Lougheed Highway
Vancouver, BC V2X 2P7
$CAN 38.00

 

Stefče Stojkovski performs in Vancouver, B.C. November 19

November 16, 2016

stefce-w200

On Saturday, November 19, 2016 Stefče Stojkovski, will perform at a special event in Vancouver, BC. The show, Balkan Roots, features 4 of the best Balkan bands in Vancouver, accompanied by Stefče. He will be joined by David Bilides from Seattle.

The evening will offer a wide cross section of traditional Balkan music, with a focus on Macedonia. Stefce will be playing some solo songs and also alongside each of the bands/groups/individuals. The groups are:

Grupa Dunbarov — Members of Grupa Dunbarov started playing music of the Balkans together over 20 years ago, having developed their interest in the music through folk dancing. Grupa Dunbarov plays music of Bulgaria, Macedonia, northern Greece, and a bit of Serbia and Romania, in both traditional and contemporary styles.

Zlatna Mountain — Zlatna Mountain is 4 vocalists from Vancouver. These four women combine their powerful voices in new arrangements of Macedonian and other Balkan folk melodies.

Stari Zvuci

Djeram Tamburitza Band — Djeram is a Vancouver-based band formed in 2015, dedicated to fostering and promoting tamburitza music in Canada. Firmly rooted in the tamburitza tradition and culture, using authentic instrumentation and arrangements, Djeram covers a wide range of genres, from traditional folk music of south-western Balkans to classical masterpieces.

 

Balkan Roots
Saturday, November 19, 2016 7:00pm (doors), 8:00pm (music)
Wise Hall
1882 Adanac St
Vancouver, BC
$CAN 30.00