Tag Archives: Music

Adele’s “21”

Some time ago (on 24 January 2011), the second album by Leona Lewis’s former classmate Adele was released in the UK. Adele is a young singer from Tottenham, North London.

The album is called “21” and has become extremely popular – in its first week, 208,000 copies were sold. It consists of 12 tracks such as: “Rolling in the Deep”, “Rumour Has It”, “Turning Tables”, “Don’t You Remember”, “Set Fire to the Rain”, “He Won’t Go”, “Take It All”, “I’ll Be Waiting”, “One and Only”, “Lovesong”. Basically, it’s a kind of mixture of pop, rock, soul and R&B.

Adele is definitely the singer who somehow fills a niche in the British music market. Until now we have had crowds of artificially promoted artists. Adele’s work is different; it is moving, it’s great in its sincerity and simplicity. Also, her voice is characteristic; she has managed to create her own style, which means that she is – and will be – recognisable by different publics and no one will confuse her with Cheryl Cole.


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A few words about Bulgarian folk jazz – Milena Karadjova

Bulgaria is probably most popular for tourism and travel and also its graceful folk choirs. However, in this country, like everywhere else in the world, there are different musical genres, but I’m not going to consider all forms of music associated with Bulgaria. I find one particular musical form very interesting, namely folk jazz. Folk jazz is simply a combination of traditional folk music with jazz.

Milena Karadjova (properly Милена Караджова), a jazz singer from the Strandzha-Sakar mountain, is one of those Bulgarian singers whose work and style is not commercial at all, but is worthwhile to paying attention to, though. In 2008 she released her first solo album ‘Awakening’ (‘Пробуждане’), which was in the folk-jazz style with folk songs from Rhodopi Mountain. In 2010 she released her second album with songs from Rhodopi Mountain – ‘Between’ (‘Помежду’) . Generally, for a lay person these works may sound like a very original mixture of Slavic and Balkan sounds. It might remind him of some Polish or Russian work joined with exotic musical ornaments, typical for the Balkans and even for Turkish music. But that’s what Bulgarian folk jazz sounds like.

Those more interested in Milena’s work can visit her website: www.asenmilenagroup.com , where four songs from Milena’s album “In the middle land”, can be found, which she recorded with two other musicians as the Asen&Milena Group: Asen Marinov (Асен Маринов) and Hristian Georgiev (Християн Георгиев).  This album will definitely be a treat for those who are folk fans, as these songs are full of the spirit of Bulgarian countryside:  shepherd’s bells mixed with a mountain shepherd’s flute – a kaval and side-drums can be heard, amongst other different sounds. The whole work is buttered with a classical guitar and a light, delicate and intense vocal by Milena Karadjova.

One day, I hope hear these magnificent sounds live, but I’m afraid it won’t be possible without travelling to one of the ethnic music festivals in Sofia or other cities in Bulgaria.


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Sergey Trofimov – Russian troubadour

I like searching out musicians and music pieces which are not very well known to a wide audience. Sometimes I find rare pearl, like for example 44 – year – old Russian singer, composer and poet from Moscow, Sergej Trofimov (Сергей Трофимов). I had never heard about him till last year, when I accidentally googled his surname.

Sergey Trofimov has quite an interesting biography. He used to be a chorister regent clerk in a church, and he worked in a restaurant. In 1994 he started touring under the pseudonym ‘Trofim’. By 2010 the artist had recorded 17 albums. Dmitrij Shirokov, director of Russkoye Radio 2 said about Trofimov, that he is one of a few (musicians), who can write in different genres and it’s always interesting.

The first of his songs I had ever listened to was ‘I miss you’ (Я скучаю по тебе). I was delighted by its softness and nice flow of sensitive musical notes. Actually, it was a very simple piece for a guitar but very charming. I could listen to it all day and never get bored, as also the lyrics were extraordinarily beautiful – very poetic and they made me gasp. The song was filled with a Slavic, romantic soul.

No wonder that I had never heard of him. Russian is not an international language and it may discourage non – Russian speakers from listening to Trofimov’s songs. Although Russian is a primary language for about 164 million speakers, and a secondary language for 114 million, it’s not widely spoken in western countries or in America or in Africa. However, sometimes words are not necessary to feel the piece. Music can play on our emotions much better than words can.


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The art of singing

Sometimes, when I speak to singers, they try to explain singing techniques and things like enunciation, vowel sounds or diminuendo. And I let them talk and pretend that I don’t know what they’re sermonizing about, as I can imagine what singing means to them.

So, what is singing? In plain terms, it is our voice’s natural ability to make musical sounds. A singer’s voice is also his musical instrument, so he needs to take care of it very well.

A few years ago, I studied singing at the State Music School in Lublin, and I would say I know all the secrets of this art: I look at a singer and see and hear what she/he shall improve. Singing is not only about a nice, natural voice. Correct voice emission or proper breathing for singing are also very important, not mentioning emotional layer of tunes.

Every professional singer or student – singer has a teacher or instructor, who practises with him and gives him advice.  During 5 years of studying, I had 2 teachers and one of them was very special – Ms Alina Naumowicz. For us students, she was a coach, accompanist, psychologist, and mother and at the same time a very strict critic. She used to say, ‘Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you like it?’ and I was always surprised by what I saw there. She was harsh, but on the other hand, she was the one who was gained respect from people within the school.

She taught us that ornamental singing is unpleasant to the ear, and mormorando should be the first exercise before starting singing.  She used to repeat that a flat sound is not music at all and she never said to anyone ‘You should resign from singing and start playing double bass or drums.’

I would not agree with those artists whose singing is limited to performing only what listeners want to hear from them. Smart vocals, when we don’t put our souls into them are just a masquerade or a miserable attempt of selling fake music.


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