Logo: Susquehanna Folk Music Society
Central Pennsylvania's grass-roots voice for folk music and dance!

Bulgarian Folk Dancing
with Bulgarika

Friday, September 6, 2019 7-10 pm at Lancaster County Central Park

About This Event:

SFMS, along with World Dance Lancaster and Harrisburg Folk Dance, is pleased to welcome this uniquely trans-Atlantic Bulgarian band for a return visit.

A composite of the five members of Bulgarika, wearing traditional dress.

Bulgarika members, clockwise from top: Nikolay Kolev, Temelko Ivanov, Marin Chalmov, Donka Koleva and Nikolay Kodzhabashev.

SFMS, along with World Dance Lancaster and Harrisburg Folk Dance, is pleased to welcome this uniquely trans-Atlantic Bulgarian band for a return visit. The band includes New York City based Nikolay Kolev (gadulka) and his wife, Donka Koleva (vocals), along with three musicians from across the sea: Maril Chalmov (tupan), Temelko Ivanov (kaval) and Nikolay Kodzhabashev (tambura).

These are easy follow-the-leader dances; no partner required!

About Bulgarika

Nikolay Kolev (gadulka)

Nikolay Kolev is a native of the Thracian Rose Valley village of Karavelovo, and has been playing gudulka since age 10. After graduating from the National School of Folk Arts in Shiroka Lŭka, Bulgaria, he performed for three years with the Sliven Folk Dance and Music Ensemble. In 1984 he founded the orchestra Sopot. In 1985 he formed the wedding-music ensemble Rozova Dolina and in 1992 the prize-winning ensemble Balkanski Glasove. In 1994 and 1995 the latter group took first prizes at the Varna Festival. In 1999, Nikolay was the first Bulgarian to be recognized by the Slavic Heritage Council of America for his outstanding contributions to music.

Since emigrating to the U.S. in 1995, Nikolay and his wife Donka Koleva have played an active role in fostering Bulgarian music across the country. Based in the New York City area, they teach workshops in their respective fields and perform solo, together, and with their ensemble Cherven Traktor.

Donka Koleva (vocals)

Donka Koleva is a singer prized for her rich, clear and melodic voice. Also 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 began recording with the National Radio and Television in Bulgaria, and in 1997, her recording of “Javore” was song of the year. Since moving to the U.S. in 1995, she has taught and performed traditional and arranged songs from Bulgarian Thrace and the Rhodopes at Balkan camps on both coasts. She has taught many workshops and private lessons across the U.S. and Canada to well- known singing groups such as Kitka, Planina, Chubritza, Mila, and others. She and her husband, Nikolay Kolev, have played an active role in fostering Bulgarian music across the country.

Marin Chalamov (tupan)

Marin Chalamov is from the Thracian town of Karlovo, where he began his musical career at age 15 as drummer and tupan player for the Srednogorie ensemble. Over the years he has played with numerous well-known Bulgarian bands and musicians, including Rumen Rodopski, Savka Sarieva, and the ensemble Rodopski Izvori, with which he recorded on Bulgarian national radio. He has played at many weddings, festivals and social events with the ensembles Kalofer and Balkani. From 1990 to the present he has been a musician and instructor with the Karlovo-based ensemble Rozova Dolina, which has garnered many prizes at international festivals in Spain, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Russia, and elsewhere. He appears regularly with the prize-winning men’s folk singing group from the Karlovo-region village of Dŭbene. In 2018, the group participated in an international festival in Montenegro at the invitation of the Bulgarian folk singer Kalinka Zgurova, where they won “Grand Prix.”

In his free time Marin contributes to activities at village community cultural centers in the Karlovo district and teaches folk music lessons to children in the Karlovo area. Marin is also a skilled maker of tupans.

Temelko Ivanov (kaval)

Temelko Ivanov, a native of Burgas on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, has devoted himself to the Bulgarian shepherd’s flute, kaval, since he was in elementary school. He received degrees at the Philip Koutev National School of Music and Dance in Kotel and the Plovdiv Academy of Music, Dance, and Fine Arts, graduating from both schools with honors. During his master’s studies he began his professional career with Ensemble Trakiya, with which he currently plays and performs as a soloist.

Temelko’s career is closely connected with Bulgaria’s distinguished kaval masters, including Nikola Ganchev, Dragan Karapchanski, and Stoyan Velichkov. Temelko is highly invested in hewing to their original music, but also to develop and compose in his own personal style.

In addition to his work with Ensemble Trakiya, Temelko has performed and recorded with many other folk music orchestras, including Cosmic Voices and Ensemble Bulgare; and has worked with numerous independent projects and singers.

Temelko is a regular lecturer at the international folklore seminar held at the Plovdiv Academy of Music, Dance, and Fine Arts, as well as at the Bridge Between Generations seminar in Turgovishte.

Nikolay Kodzhabashev (tambura)

Nikolay Kodzhabashev, a native of Yambol in Bulgarian Thrace, graduated in 2011 with a Master’s in Music Performance Arts from the Plovdiv Academy of Music, Dance, and Fine Arts. He has been a member of the Sliven Folk Dance and Music Ensemble since 2001, where he is featured as an ensemble and solo tambura player. Nikolay has also played tambura and guitar with numerous other ensembles throughout Bulgaria, including the Perla, Slivenci, Kabile, and Straldzha folk bands, and has accompanied many renowned musicians and singers such as Teodosii Spassov, Dechka Slaninova, and Vanya Valkova. He has also recorded extensively on Bulgarian National Radio and Television and other venues and has participated in many concert tours throughout Europe.

Nikolay has won numerous awards at Bulgarian folk music competitions, including the International Youth Festival in Dobrich and the “Wellspring of Orpheus” competition in Varna.

Nikolay Kolev, Donka Koleva and friends play for a dance
Could not display video (1)


Dance: 7-10 pm

  • $22 General Admission
  • $18 SFMS Members

General ticket info


Williamson Pavilion, Lancaster County Central Park

865-903 Williamson Rd (off S Duke St), Lancaster, PA 17602

Lend a Hand

Spread the word:

See More Events: