Oberlin College and Conservatory

Bulgarika: Bulgarian Folk Music and Dancing

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

’Sco (Dionysus Club), Wilder Hall
135 West Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Bulgarika presents traditional Bulgarian songs and tunes. The band is led by husband and wife team, Nikolay (gadulka, a fiddle) and Donka Kolev (vocalist), award-winning performers from Folk Music Conservatories in Bulgaria. They are joined by Temelko Ivanov (kaval, flute) and Nikolay Kodzhabashev (tambura, strummed lute).

Ever wanted to dance in 7/8 or 11/8? Now's your opportunity to try out your steps. Come join us for an afternoon of fun with line dancing and lively music.

Come join us for an afternoon of asymmetrical meters.




Donka Koleva (vocals) is a native of the village of Tuzha in the Stara Zagora region of Thrace. She graduated from the National School of Folk Arts in Shiroka Luka, Bulgaria, and performed for three years with the Sliven Folk Dance and Music Ensemble. She was director of the Folk Song Chorus of Sopot, has been a featured soloist on Bulgarian Radio-TV, has participated in numerous singing competitions in Bulgaria and Europe and has been featured on numerous recordings. In 1997 her recording of Javore was named "Song of the Year" in the Bulgarian national radio competition. Since immigrating to the United States, she has taught and performed widely across North America, both privately and at numerous camps, festivals and other events. In addition to her vocal talents, Donka serves as Bulgarika's manager and has organized 12 national tours for the bands Kabile', Cherven Traktor, Bulgarika and the Kolev Family Ensemble.


Nikolay Kolev (gadulka), a native of the Thracian Rose Valley village of Karavelovo, has been playing gadulka since age 10. After graduating from the National School of Folk Arts in Shiroka Luka, 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. Nikolay has accompanied many well-known singers including Vulkana Stojanova, Roumen Rodopski and Todor Kozhuharov. He has also taught many students at a number of Balkan camps in the U.S. In 1999, Nikolay was the first Bulgarian to be recognized by the Slavic Heritage Council of America for his outstanding contributions to music.


Temelko Ivanov (kaval), has been a member of the renowned Trakia Ensemble since 1996. In 1990 he graduated with honors from the National Music School "Filip Koutev" and in 2000 from the Bulgarian National Conservatory with specialties in Conducting and Music Pedagogy. He subsequently received a Master in Performance Arts from the conservatory. He has served as a lecturer and jury panelist at multiple folklore seminars and competitions in Bulgaria.


Nikolay Kodzhabashev (tambura), is a soloist with the Sliven Folk Dance and Music Ensemble and a member of the Perla folk band (tambura, guitar). He graduated in 2005 from XI K. Konstantinov High School in Sliven with a music profile and in 2010 from the Bulgarian National Conservatory. In 2011 he received a Master in Performance Arts from the Conservatory. He has received multiple awards in youth music competitions and won the First Place award of the "National Folk Competition for Tambura Performers Rusko Stefanov" in 2007 and 2009.

Event Type

Master Class, Music


Academic, Musicology





Contact Person

Jennifer Fraser

Contact Phone Number


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