London Bulgarian Choir
The award-winning London Bulgarian Choir is a vibrant, sociable and open-hearted group of singers embracing all nationalities, ages and abilities. The choir was founded in 2000 by Dessislava Stefanova (Dessi), a former singer with the legendary Philip Koutev Bulgarian National Folk Ensemble in Sofia, and thanks to her patience and dedication this group of largely non-Bulgarian singers has become a performing tour de force, winning hearts and minds from the Welsh valleys to Bulgaria’s mountain villages.
From its early days as a handful of singers, the choir has grown into an extended ensemble bringing its repertoire of traditional Bulgarian songs to concert halls, churches, nightclubs, galleries, festivals, embassies, village squares and even a barge on the River Thames. The songs performed by the London Bulgarian Choir are arrangements of traditional and ancient Bulgarian songs. Some tell powerful tales of love and loss, fighting and celebration, while others are inspired by the daily fabric of life.
Sung in a complex and unique vocal style, these folk songs have survived 500 years of Ottoman rule and 50 years of communist indoctrination to emerge with their extraordinary dissonant harmonies, exotic scales, compelling rhythms and exuberant trills and hiccups virtually intact. The choir’s spine-tingling performance of the songs transcends language barriers, and often moves audiences to tears.
Harbottle & Jonas
Harbottle & Jonas are a stunning young folk duo based in Totnes, Devon. Their music is eclectic and is always accompanied with a great story. Together the husband and wife duo combine the rich traditions of folk music with original and contemporary interpretations, through a blend of closely intertwined vocal harmonies. Their music is performed with integrity and on instruments that include the concertina, harmonium, banjo, stompbox, acoustic guitar and dobra. They can sometimes be found playing alongside their full band of 8 members in total (cello, fiddle, mandolin, trumpet, drums, bass).
They have received plaudits from folk icons including Seth & Geoff Lakeman, Jon Boden, Rod Clements, Lankum, Declan Sinnott, BBC Introducing and have been endorsed by Seasalt Clothing. Their music had been streamed in excess of 1,000,000 times in 25 different countries and they have also played a gig with Martin Carthy. Well travelled across the UK and playing up to 200 gigs each year, Harbottle & Jonas have managed to establish themselves as one of the most exciting prospects on the folk circuit.