Goro Le Goro

by London Bulgarian Choir

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Mūri Yano 03:17
Beautiful Yana, my rebel sweetheart, where is the white necklace I gave you?’ ‘My love, I sold it for bullets, a gift from me to your comrades-in-arms.’
The golden maiden Zlatka was famed for her beauty — no girl was as pretty or as gracious. The nightingale praised her, the forest leaves whispered of her. She was the loveliest flower in the garden. All the young men and all the heroes set off to ask for her hand in marriage, and she became a bride. Blessings to all!
All the young men have gathered to eat and drink. The host has promised 99 gold coins to whoever can entice beautiful Rumyanka to come to the party, but nobody dares to step forward. At last, the smallest shepherd, the biggest devil, boasts, ‘I shall bring Rumyanka — I will play the kaval and she will rejoice in being young.’
‘The crescent moon has risen, oh Lada. Whose circle dance is the most beautiful, oh Goddess Lada? The maidens’ circle dance is the most beautiful, oh Lada.’
‘Hey Mitra, why is your boy looking so ill? Is it from wine and rakiya brandy, or has he eaten too many pickles?’ ‘It’s not from wine or from pickles. He went to Tsaparevo last night and seduced all the maidens. He wrote their names in a book, and then he lost the book. That’s why he’s so ill.’
Young Stuyan, the chieftain, fell wounded deep in the heroes’ green forest. There was nobody nearby; no one to bring him water or give him shade. ‘Oh my horse,’ said Stuyan, ‘my trusted friend who carried the standard with me. Pray that the summer is rainy and the winter is wet. Pray that your reins will rot away. Tear yourself from the tree, my horse, and run to my mother’s house. Tell her where her only son has died.’
Dragana sat in her garden under a rose bush, embroidering and singing. A nightingale perched above her and said,‘Keep singing, Dragana. If you can outsing me, cut off my wings. If I win, I’ll cut off your hair.’ But Dragana sang even more beautifully than the nightingale. The bird pleaded, ‘I have young chicks in my nest. Don’t chop off my wings,chop off my legs instead.’ Dragana replied, ‘Nightingale, I don’t need to chop off anything. It is prize enough to have outsung you.’
‘Beautiful Todorka, sweet as a cherry, bright as silver, turn around. Turn around and let me see your face. Is it as pretty as ever?’ ‘Go away, you flirt; my pretty face has been given to another, to the village shepherd.’
George sat at his gate, knitting a colourful sock. A maiden came past and asked him, ‘Who’s that sock for?’ ‘For whoever will have me,’ said George.
A new bride made a cabbage pie, a Monday cabbage pie. She spiced it with her father- in-law’s coat, her mother-in- law’s socks, her brother-in- law’s cummerbund and her sister-in-law’s shirt. Cabbage pie on a Monday!
A cherry tree in the forest was so laden with fruit that its branches broke. No one could pick the cherries, for a maiden and a young man were standing guard.
The mountain cleared and the valley was revealed. Lala, beautiful in her white shirt and scarlet dress, walks through her father’s vineyard to see whether the vines are flowering and bearing fruit. Photo - Radoslava Leseva
Byalo Rade 02:11
White Rada is sweeping her yard, her slender figure swaying, her arms like pale wings. As she sings, pearls flow from her mouth. ‘Beautiful Rada, my daughter, don’t leave your yard, don’t lift your eyes, don’t give your flower away.'
‘Oh green forest, until this year you were full of shepherds. Today, you are full of freedom fighters.’
‘Oh speckled nightingale, why do you sing so early? Why do you wake me up, me and my freedom fighters? Under every tree there’s a hero, next to every hero there’s a gun.’


Goro Le Goro takes us to the cool, green forests of Bulgaria where heroes roam, nightingales sing and cherry trees bear fruit. Distant voices singing ‘on high’ cut through the mist and the sunshine reveals beautiful maidens. But the forest is also a place for men so there are songs of rampant flirting and seduction, of fighting for freedom from the Ottoman Turks... and of knitting, manfully.

Mixed folk choirs are unusual in Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian choral repertoire is almost exclusively female. This album’s masculine tone, in contrast with our more feminine debut Alyana Galyana, emerged as we worked with Bulgarian composer Kiril Todorov.

Kiril’s music was already a vital part of the choir’s repertoire, and with the BBC Performing Arts Fund helping to foot the bill, we commissioned him to write new songs to make full use of our vocal range. We have been flattered and stunned in equal measure by the muscular new arrangements Kiril has written for the choir, and relish performing the songs. We hope you enjoy the result.


released November 26, 2011

Sung by: Atsuko Cottam, Catherine Dauvergne-Newman, Charlie Ryan, Moni Sheehan, Narendra Kotiyan, Mirella Koleva, Diana Tsokova, Nadia Stefanova, Clare Lyons, Joanna Burke, Jordan Gogov, Veronica Simpson, Polly Hunt, Alison Conway, Bernard Burns, Iris Luppa, Mariana Bogdanova, Slaveia Kouchalieva, Cate Langmuir, Ginka Mastoridis, Kasia Sommerfeld, Lora Kaleva, Steven East, Tanya Jackson, Georgi Paraskov, Valentina Alexandrova, Ulrike Speyer, Ron Fielder, Denny Vlaeva, Deanna Benedict, Margaret Luck, Evi Stergiou, Kalina Koleva, Radoslava Leseva, Serena Parker, Vivienne Boucherat, Annie Tremp, Eleanor Etherington, Dessislava Stefanova, James Lyndsay

Angel Karaivanov, kaval
Bernard Burns, soprano sax
Evi Stergiou, guitar
Georgi Paraskov, tamboura
Ivan Ivanov, tūpan
Narendra Kotiyan, darbuka
Nikolay Baldaranov, double bass
Nino Nikolov, violin

Conducted & produced by Dessislava Stefanova
Co-produced, recorded & mixed by Haydn Bendall
Co-produced by James Lyndsay
Mastered by Nick Robbins
Artwork & design by Jay Alvarez
Collage by Kasia Sommerfeld
Photography by Radoslava Leseva assisted by Steve Adams
Birds and forest by reinsamba and dobroide (freesound)

Thanks to...
Our families and friends for their continued love, support and concert attendance. All the singers who have come through the choir and contributed to its character and sound. Our loyal fans.

The Bulgarian Embassy and Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London for their generous hospitality.

The album production posse: Cate, Kasia, Radoslava, Serena, James and Moni. Kiril Todorov for the music and the mischief. Chris White for his ears and ideas.

Finally, our huge thanks to Haydn Bendall. Without his time, expertise and generous spirit, we would still be in the forest.


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London Bulgarian Choir London, UK

Based in London, singing in Bulgarian, led by Dessislava Stefanova, the London Bulgarian choir invite you to join them in finding that ancient resonance in the depth of the human heart.


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