January 7, 2015

Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir - Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, 1975

Heartbreaking, eerie, and otherworldly, this album is actually a compilation of various recordings dating back as far as 1952, when the choir was first formed by Bulgarian composer Philip Coutev. As the women in the choir are from all over Bulgaria, the music is a hodgepodge of differing vocal styles from the country's quite isolated provinces. Marcel Cellier compiled these songs in 1975, but it went largely unnoticed until its rerelease by 4AD in 1986, to overnight worldwide renown. Volume II of this compilation won Cellier a Grammy in 1989. That same year, Kate Bush released The Sensual World, which featured three Bulgarian female soloists. The choir has been touring worldwide since then, and everyone and their dog loves them (as they should). Find out much more here and here.

The title translates to "The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices"--an apt description, as it's a complete mystery to me how music this majestic and unsettling can actually exist. It completely changed my concept of the relationship between dissonance and beauty. Powerful stuff!



  1. I found this by accident on Spotify a while back and never could find it elsewhere. Enchanting...thanks!

  2. http://www.polymusic.eu/language/bg-bg/products/4994-marcel-cellier-prsente-le-mystre-des-voix-bulgares-lp.aspx