Evergreene Music Celebrates Worldwide Release of BALKAN ARTS 701: BULGARIAN FOLK DANCES

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Evergreene Music presents Balkan Arts 701: Bulgarian Folk Dances--the first installment of the highly anticipated Balkan Arts Series, a joint New York venture between Evergreene Music and The Center for Traditional Music and Dance.

Available as state-of-the-art restored digital EPs or as collectible "new-old stock" 7-inch records, the Balkan Arts Series features powerful and authentic performances by local master musicians. Each release is adorned with breathtaking photographs, detailed audio commentary and liner notes, as well as a stunning 12-page digital booklet.

True to the original spirit of the Balkan Arts Series, Evergreene Music will be releasing all 13 individual EPs in sequence, kicking off the series on January 29th 2013 with a magnificent EP of Bulgarian folk dances, followed by three extraordinary EPs from East Serbia in February, Greek rarities from Macedonia and Thrace in the spring, and wrapping up the series with some of the most intense and exuberant music from Romania and Bulgaria in the summer of 2013.

These vibrant and historical sides were recorded in the 1960's and 70's and have never before been available to the general public. Each release is curated by Martin Koenig, an esteemed ethnographer and authoritative voice in Balkan culture. Koenig is the original founder and director of New York's Balkan Arts Center (today the Center for Traditional Music and Dance). Between 1966 and 1979 he embarked on a dozen trips to the Balkans that would transform his life. Working in villages throughout the different areas of the Balkans, Koenig filmed, recorded, and photographed a culture and way of village life that has since been lost forever-transformed by the social and economic pressures of industrial technology, Soviet influence, and Western globalization. Previously Koenig produced two acclaimed recordings for Nonesuch's celebrated Explorer Series, and his Bulgarian recording of "Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin" was included on the Voyager Spacecraft's golden record.

"The Balkan Arts recordings are all old-time music and have the same power as the music from Appalachia-the Doc Watson's and the like," explains Koenig. "And I truly believe that we, the West, now have more of an ability to absorb and appreciate this music than we did in the 60s and 70s. Even my 18-year-old son and his friends now respond to it. With so little of this music around anymore, anything that's this real needs to be cherished."

Initially self-released via Koenig's own Balkan Arts imprint, the original records were rediscovered at the CTMD's headquarters during an early meeting with Evergreene Music's Label Manager, Mark Roberts. "I was taking a break from listening to the Center's extensive audio archives and wandered around their office to stretch my legs," recalls Roberts. "Perched on crammed shelves near the entrance, I noticed a large number of cardboard boxes filled with vinyl of some sorts. It turned out the records had been stored there for decades and, aside from their somewhat yellowed and brittle sleeves, were in absolutely pristine condition. After digging out the Center's record player and listening to a handful of the records, I knew I had found an exceptional treasure."

With the decision made to give this historic series its first-ever, wide-scale release, Evergreene Music worked with New York's Magic Shop studio and vinyl specialist Jessica Thompson to create new masters from these iconic vinyl pieces.

Evergreene Music is a unique 21st-century music company with a dynamic roster of established and emerging artists, and music that is distributed and sold in 110 countries. Since its inception in 2004, the company has flourished and grown, while following the singular vision and philosophy of the company's founder: that all music should be understood as world music, and that the best of it can come from anywhere--New York included. Evergreene Music is committed to a refreshing vision that promotes iconic and timeless music, and transcends the conventional definitions of a "world music" label by uniting and blending the past with the future, the foreign with the familiar, and the traditional with the modern.

Visit evergreenemusic.com for more information.

Photo credit: Martin Koenig