"An American folk singer has dedicated a song to the exploits of driver Ivo Staoev of Blagoevgrad," began an article in a recent edition of a Bulgarian national newspaper. My involvement with Bulgarian radio broadcasters is part of the reason it's been so long since the last note.
In January, I traveled with two colleagues to four cities in Bulgaria to present seminars on private radio. The trip, sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency, was a wonderful experience. It included some impromptu concerts and singalongs, and a song about our fearless driver Ivo, who guided us through a slalom course of stray dogs and pot holes in Sophia's city streets and the wrong way down a one-way street in Varna on the Black Sea. Equally exciting was a live, simultaneous-translation guest appearance on the radio in Plovdiv. The interviewer posed some of the best questions I've ever been asked about the nature of folk music and how it's different from country music. His engineer played tracks from Cloudsplitter and as the words of "Big Beams" were translated, tears began to well up in his eyes. Thank you Radio Vesselina.
Now it's June, and eleven radio broadcasters from various cities in Bulgaria are here in Fredonia for phase two of the private radio project. By day there's extensive training in programming and sales, and by night we laugh and dance and sing. Introducing them to American culture has included square and contra dancing, getting soaked at Niagara Falls, hearing jazz at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo ("original home of chicken wings"), and exchanging songs late into the evening. By the end of June I'll probably know a few more words in Bulgarian.
Looking forward to the summer and making lots of music. Check out the concert schedule web page: I'll be performing solo, as a duo with storyteller Jeannine Laverty or hammered dulcimer player Dan Duggan or that First Lady of Adirondack Music Peggy Eyres, and as the trio OUT ON A LIMB with Dan and Peggy. Hope to see you on the road.