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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Women Instrumentalists in Bulgaria
By Ron Houston

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Ron Houston

Men comprise the vast majority of musicians in Bulgaria. Even the advent of Socialist-inspired state-run folk music schools promoting equality among the sexes has not erased entirely the social stigma among women musicians as competitive in a man's world and somewhat less desirable as wives. This prejudice takes humorous overtones as Bulgarian men try to justify it: "She plays gaida (bagpipes). Do you know what else she would put in her mouth?" They ignore the reflection thus cast on male gaida players.

The two State-run folk music schools, Kotel and Shiroka Lûka, accepted singers and required them to learn an instrument.

Among Bulgarian musicians we find:


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