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3 times in the Global Top 40
September 2022 #38 - Global Top 40 From The Timok Down The Danube (track)
January 2022 #36 - Global Top 40 Yordanova Ratchenitsa (track)
December 2021 #40 - Global Top 40 Yordanova Ratchenitsa (track)
2 times in the Global Top 40
Photo by: Bozhidar Simeonov
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Bozhidar Simeonov was born on 04.01.1981 in the village of Topolovets, Kula municipality, Vidin region. Premature birth and physician’s negligence led to the loss of his eyesight. He manifested his gift for music since he was two years of age. He inherited his talent from his great-grandfather and grandfather, who were clarinetists. In 1986, jointly with his family, he moved to Varna, where he started to study at the school for children with disturbed vision “Prof. Dr. Ivan Shishmanov”. There, from the end of 1988 to the middle of 1992, he studied accordion with Boris Bodichev (Florov), who gave him the first knowledge in solfeggio and elementary theory of music. His interest in bagpipe has been since he was four years of age, but Dinyo Marinov is the person who in 1992 directed him to this instrument. In the summer of 1994, he applied for enrollment at the National School of Folklore Arts “Filip Kutev” in Kotel, but despite being rated in first place, he was rejected by the ex-principal Tasho Barulov due to his eyesight and personal partiality to another not rated applicant. Although all obstacles and impediments, he continued his education and at most by mastering the bagpipe details. His teacher was Kolyo Sofenkov. In 1999, he graduated from the school of music and applied for enrollment at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv. Fortunately, here there were no problems with his application; on the contrary – he obtained the relevant respect from lecturers and colleagues. He studied in the classes of Ivan Georgiev (Balki) and the associate professor Mariya Stoyanova. During his studies, he applied for the vacated place of bagpipe player at the Folklore Ensemble “Trakia” in Plovdiv but was rejected by the former orchestra conductor Tsvetan Tsvetkov due to his eyesight. In 2003, he graduated from the Academy of Music with a Bachelor’s degree and one year later – a Master’s degree. Music is the real vocation of the bagpipe player Bozhidar Simeonov or Bozhko, as known by all people. His indisputable talent and gift speak for him. It is proven by his multiple participations with almost all the most famous orchestras of Bulgarian folk music – orchestra “Trakia” of Ivo Papazov, orchestra “Maritsa”, Orchestra “Kanarite”, orchestra “Plam”, orchestra “Young Thracians”, orchestra “Folkpalitra”, the musicians Ivo Papazov, Petar Ralchev, Vasil Denev, Matyo Dobrev, Toncho Minkov, Mladen Malakov, Dinka Ruseva, Dragiya and Radko Dragievi, Plamen Dimitrov, Georgi Petrov, Lyuben Zahariev, Yordan Yonchev – Gamzata, Rhodopa bagpipe players – the brothers Petar and Stefan Yanevi, and many others. Ivo Papazov Ibryama speaks about him: “...For me, he is the biggest bagpipe player of all times...” Since 2006, he is a permanent participant in the festival held in Radnevo “Inheritance – with the songs of Dinka Ruseva”. In 2007, he was invited to Serbia to participate in the ethno-project “Sa Istoka suntse” together with the great trumpeter Mile Paunovich. One year later, they and the accordion player Dragan Yenich established the ethno group “Balkan sources”, to which Mile’s wife – Vionera, joined. In some of their joint pieces, Bozhidar Simeonov uses instruments like the Romanian kaval, Serbian frula, saxophone, and he assists in the creation of arrangements as well. Furthermore, he participates with the ethno-group “Misteria Karpartika” as well as with the musicians Pera Kosovlyanovich, Srdzhan Demirovich, Atsa Nikolich (Chergar), and others. Since 2011, he participates in the annual ethnocamp and international festival, organized by the academic Association for traditional music “Gusle” in Kikinda. On the 5th of June 2014, his first independent album was issued under the name “From the Timok down Danube”.

Bozhidar Simeonov is a bagpipe player trained at the School of Music in Kotel in Bulgaria. With his amazing talent and ability to improvise, he has long been accepted in the circle of great musicians. It’s impossible to fit him into any particular category, standard, or framework. And even more impossible to define his music. Because when you talk about Bozhko, as everyone calls him, things acquire a different meaning. Musical categories merge, boundaries shatter, and definitions give way to uniqueness and originality. That’s Bozhko: tender and typical, and at the same time wild and unrestrained.

His music cuts through Bulgaria’s traditional folklore regions, reveling in oriental tunes, nipping across to neighboring Greece, Serbia, and Romania, and even to faraway India. All brought to life with his bagpipes and collected together in only twelve pieces. Well, let’s hear them. Together. And as we listen, let’s open our hearts to the most pure and unadulterated human feeling:

the goodness that we sometimes lack so much.
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