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Five French musicians play folk music like real Bulgarians, and only one of them studied music and Bulgarian language in Bulgaria. Their performance takes us back to the best traditions of the Bulgarian wedding orchestras.

The orchestra was founded in 1999 by Emmanuel Frin and Wenceslas Hervieux. They were soon joined by Jacky Molard, Jean-François Roger, and Guillaume Robert (doublebass). After Guillaume Robert left the group in 2003, he was replaced by Etienne Callac. Thus the musicians of "TOPOLOVO" Orchestra made the recording for this release. A guest performer with the ensemble is the famous Bulgarian folk singer Kalinka Vulcheva.

Emmanuel Frin studied music and Bulgarian language at the Plovdiv Academy of Music and Dance Art. His teachers included Nikola Iliev (clarinetist of the Konoushenska group), Petko Stefanov, Maria Stoyanova, and Dimitar Dimitrov (gaida), and later Valentin Raikov (saxophonist with the Maritsa orchestra). His work with leading Bulgarian musicians helped him assimilate the finer points of the Bulgarian folk style and to develop an interpretive approach, which is both convincing and commanding. He succeeded in passing his knowledge and emotional attitude to his colleagues in the orchestra. That is why the recordings in this programme "Belintash" sound with the typical ornaments and vigour of the Bulgarian wedding orchestras. The music in this CD is very popular. It comes from the repertoire of well-known folk groups (Konoushenska, Parvomai, etc.), but the arrangements of Emmanuel Frin and Jacky Molard add a new colouring to the melody, without deviating from the Bulgarian mood of performance.

The name of the orchestra is not chosen by chance. Just as all wedding orchestras are named after their native places, "Topolovo" is named after the village that has shown a warm welcome to Emmanuel Frin. And "Belintash" is a forested mountain peak overlooking the Bulgarian village of Topolovo, where an ancient Thracian temple honouring Sabazii, the Thracian god of nature, was recently uncovered.

"TOPOLOVO" Orchestra is the first French instrumental group for Bulgarian folk music to release a compact disc on the Gega New label.

At the end 2005 the most famous ethno music magazine in France, Trad Magazine awarded its prize “BRAVOS” for this release.


Recorded in Spézet, France in 2004


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  • [1] Ludanitsa 6'40''

    [2] Na sabor 6'44''

    [3] Mari Mariiko 7'05''

    Vocals - Kalinka Vultcheva


    [4] Sabazii 1'59''

    [5] Daichovata 4'24''

    [6] Laleto 6'20''

    Vocals - Kalinka Vultcheva


    [7] Trite puti 1'40''

    [8] Strandjanska ruchenitsa 5'44''

    [9] Belintash 4'18''

    DDD 49'15"

  • The orchestra includes: Emmanuel Frin (clarinet, gaida, saxophone),Wenceslas Hervieux (accordion), Jacky Molard (violin, viola, guitar), Etienne Callac (bass guitar), Jean-François Roger (percussions)

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