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Stefan Dragostinov – about the Dragostin Folk
and the national musical tradition

For a long time now, I have been collecting the ancient songs of Bulgaria – for nearly 40 years. I have been searching for the people who still remember songs that had been created hundreds of years ago, touring regions in which the musical folklore is still a part of the everyday life and of the holidays of the people, in spite of the urbanization. It has been my aim to keep that folklore and to stimulate its further creation and development within the framework of a new environment and a new way of life, when the latest technologies and the communications are exerting their influence upon the culture as well. It is my conviction that the national musical tradition should not be shut off and conserved. It should be left free in its interrelation and in its synthesis with the contemporary forms and genres in the art. That was the reason to establish the chamber choir Dragostin Folk.

The female choir Dragostin Folk is my instrument, by means of which I am bringing to fruition my ideas and my philosophy about the connection between the traditional art and the present day.

The Dragostin Folk consists of twelve women-singers with "golden" voices. They are continuing the ancient Balkan tradition of the so-called "open", "guttural" women's singing. Among them a special vividness brings the unique dramatic contralto (contralto-profundo – a definition made by Dragostinov). She can sing the C two octaves bellow the middle C (according to the Italian terminology – Do- grande.)

The singers in the choir have various jobs: there are two school girls among them, four students, a primary school teacher, a high school teacher, a real estate broker. They are united by their love and respect for the Bulgarian national musical tradition, as well as by their youth enthusiasm – their average age is 25, the youngest one being 17. With this formation we have concerts; we make records that I collect and select in a series called The Sonic Icons of Bulgaria – anthology of Bulgarian folklore.