Feb 23
  Santa Rosa - Santa Rosa Veteran’s Memorial Building
1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa
contact: Marilyn Smith (510) 965-9688 review


Feb 25

  Santa Cruz - Cayuga Vault
1100 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz
(831) 421-9471 /
website / $15 review


Mar 1
  Arcata (Bayside) - Humboldt Unitarian Fellowship
24 Fellowship Way, Bayside
Contact: Linnea Mandell (707) 822-8045 or
email / $7


Mar 2
  Arcata - First Friday Dance/Arcata Presbyterian Church
666 11th Street (corner of G), Arcata
Contact: Linnea Mandell (707) 822-8045 or


Mar 3

  Berkeley - Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center
1317 San Pablo, Berkeley
(510) 525-5054
/ website / $15
Dance lesson with Tanya Kostova 8:00 - 9:00 / Music 9:00


Mar 4

  Berkeley - Anna’s Jazz Island
2120 Allston Way (near Shattuck), Berkeley
(510) 841-JAZZ /
website / $15


Mar 7

  San Diego - World Beat Center in Balboa Park
2100 Park Blvd., San Diego
(619) 230-1190 /
website / $15


Mar 8
  Los Angeles  - Valencia House Concert (open to the public)
For details and reserved seating / email / or call Lanita Hyatt (510) 229-2038
/ $12


Mar 9


  Los Angeles -  UCLA, Sunset Canyon Recreation Center (NW corner of campus)
111 De Neve Dr., Los Angeles
(510) 229-2038 /
email / $10 at door (free with student ID)
Mar 10
  San Diego - San Diego Folk Dance Center Dance
Folk Dance Center @ Dancing Unlimited
4569 30th Street, San Diego





The music of Bulgaria, a country long considered a cultural crossroad, is known for hauntingly expressive melodies, irregular rhythms, and fiery dance tempos. Now some of the country's finest musicians have formed Bulgarika (things Bulgarian).

Gadulka virtuoso Nikolay Kolev, internationally renowned singer Donka Koleva, and accordionist extraordinaire Ivan Milev together provide an evening of high-energy, musical acrobatics that will have you dancing in your seat.

For their California tour they are joined by Bill Lanphier (bass), Dan Auvil (tupan), and Bryan Bowman (drum kit on select shows).

Original photos by Kathy Fors and Margaret Loomis


NIKOLAY KOLEV (gadulka) is a famous Gadulka virtuoso from the village Karavelovo in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria. After graduating from Shiroka Luka High School, he performed with the Sliven Ensemble for three years. In 1984, he founded the orchestra Sopot. In the same year, he started the wedding band Rozova Dolina, which became one of the most sought-after groups in Thrace. In 1992, he also founded Balkanski Glasove --the singing group which took first place at the Varna Festival in 1994 and 1995. Nikolay is also an accomplished composer and arranger of folk songs. His compositions have been performed by such well-known singers as Roumen Rodopski, Savka Sarieva, Donka Koleva and many others. Nikolay Kolev has taught at EEFC Balkan Camps on both coasts and has an adoring cadre of private students. In 1999 Nikolay Kolev was the first Bulgarian to be recognized by the Slavic Heritage Council of America for his outstanding contributions in music.
sound clip: "Karavelovska Povratana" (excerpt), from Gadulka Melodies by Nikolay Kolev, more information about this CD

DONKA KOLEVA (vocals) is a vocalist prized for her rich, clear, and melodic voice.  A graduate of the Folklore High School in Shiroka Luka, she worked as a soloist with the Sliven Ensemble for three years. She then directed the chorus of the Sopot Ensemble, and soloed with the wedding band  Rozova Dolina. In 1994 Donka started recording with National Radio and Television in Bulgaria. In 1997 her recording of "Javore" was song of the year. Since she moved to the U.S. in 1995, she has performed traditional and arranged songs from Thracian Bulgaria at music camps throughout the U.S. Donka teaches workshops and private lessons across the United States and Canada with well-known singing groups such as Kitka, Planina, Chubritsa, Mila, and many others.
sound clip: "Pesen za Levski" (excerpt), from Balkan Voices by The Kolevi Family, more information about this CD

IVAN MILEV (accordion) is a landmark of contemporary Balkan folk music. Throughout his 40-plus year career as an accordion player in Bulgaria, he established the rules for Balkan folk music. His style fuses classical, jazz, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern music. Milev comes from a clan of famous folk musicians, learning the intricacies of Bulgarian folk music from his father, Atanas Milev, a renowned and innovative folk accordionist. In 1978 Ivan created his own orchestra, which performed at festivals, fairs, in concerts, and on Bulgarian national television. Ivan's exquisite performance and charisma won him many awards and gained him widespread popularity. With his band Ivan has defined the famous wedding music culture in the Balkan region since the 1970's. Ivan toured the U.S. in 2001 with saxophonist Yuri Yanakov. His playing can be heard on the soundtrack of "Everything is Illuminated," a widely acclaimed independent movie featuring Elijah Wood and directed by Liev Schreiber. In 2006 Ivan Milev Band recorded its debut album, "The Flight of Krali Marco."
sound clip: "Chirpanliisko Horo" (excerpt), from Orchestra Mladost by Ivan Milev

BiILL LANPHIER (bass) whose passion for Bulgarian music was sparked in high school, is easily one of America's most in-demand Balkan bassists. Deeply involved with a diverse spectrum of music, Bill has performed live with Madonna (the Virgin Tour and Live Aid), The Rippingtons, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Linda Ronstadt and Rickie Lee Jones. Bill's bass playing has been heard internationally on hundreds of radio and TV commercials.
sound clip: "Baba Gjurgja" (excerpt), from Torta Bulgarska by Trio Mopmu, more information about this CD

DAN AUVIL (tupan) fell in love with the tupan, a large two-headed drum, the first time he heard it...and that was over 30 years ago. He's played with numerous Balkan bands, taught at music camps in the U.S. and Japan, and had the joy of accompanying some of Bulgaria's finest folk musicians.
sound clip: "Ta Daoulia Kroun" (excerpt), from From the Mountains to the Islands by Ziyia, more information about this CD

BRYAN BOWMAN (drum kit ) comes from an accomplished family of folk dancers and classical musicians, and was exposed to Balkan music at an early age. Having recorded and performed with some of the West Coast's top jazz and Balkan musicians, Bryan brings an undeniable versatility and creative sensibility to any group.
sound clip: "Krivo Sadovsko" (excerpt), from Torta Bulgarska by Trio Mopmu, more information about this CD