BULGARIAN CUSTOM SONGS
The famous choir The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices conducted by Dora Hristova again conveys its challenge to Bulgarian folk music lovers, this time with their interpretation of songs from the most widely spread and cherished customs, those at Christmas and at St. Lazar's Day. The songs sung at Christmas and St. Lazar's Day lend specific colour in the repertoire of many ensembles. This programme is a successful attempt to select songs which represent a comparison between the two customs.
Christmas is celebrated on the day when the church commemorates Christ's nativity. Yet the deep meaning of the custom is in the ancient pagan beliefs about the birth of the new sun. There are young men-Christmas-carollers and their leader is always an older man, called stanenik. According to the custom, the time for Christmas celebration is specifically set - from midnight till sunrise. The Christmas carollers make their rounds always starting to the east. They sing songs glorifying the host in every house and bless him for health and fertility. In their turn, the hosts present them with Christmas ring-shaped buns decorated with a coin and meat, beans, etc.
The celebrations at St. Lazar's Day are also connected with the well-wishing for health and fertility. This custom is celebrated one week before Easter, at St. Lazarus's day. The main participants in the celebrations are young girls, lazarki, lead by an elder one, called a god-mother, leader. They make their rounds in the village yards, dancing horo dances and singing songs, according to the hosts' age and status. Like during the Christmas-tide celebrations the hosts give them money, flour, eggs, etc.
THE MYSTERY OF BULGARIAN VOICES CHOIR
 First Song on the Road 1'26''
 Second Song on the Road 1'17''
 We Sing a Song for You - for the old host 0'47''
 Cheers - for the old hostess 1'57''
 Cheers to You, Master of the House - for the young hostess 1'40''
 Beautiful Milka - for a little girl 4'25''
 We Sing a Song for You - for a shepherd 3'29''
 A Girl Bragged - for an unmarried young woman 1'42''
 A Mighty Boy Is Saddling His Horse - for a little boy 1'58''
 Turbid Waters Were Flowing - for an unmarried young man 3'30''
 Song on Going Out of the House 2'11''
 Oh, Lazar - on the road 1'48''
 Lazarski Bouenets - on entering the house 2'01''
 Lazar Is Coming, Lazar Is Roaming About - for the old hostess 1'41''
 There's a Willow, There's no Willow - for a young bride 1'28''
 Lazarska Song for the Bride - for the young hostess 1'54''
 Lazarki - for a young girl 1'46''
 Beautiful Girl - for an unmarried young woman) 2'10''
 Young Girls Lazaritsi - for a young lad 1'39''
 Well, Aren't We Dancing - for a young lad 1'24''
 Strapping Nikola, Mother's Only Son - for an unmarried young man 2'21''
 Lament for Lazar 2'20''
The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices Choir
Dora Hristova, conductor