28 Dec 2015

Koprivshtitsa’s National Folk Fair: Mounting and holding

01 July, 2014 – 01 January, 2017

Author: Asst. Prof. Galina Denkova, PhD, Music Department

Koprivshtitsa National Folk Fair is a significant cultural event for displaying authentic folklore from across Bulgaria and it is a privilege to participate in it. The amateur arts festival itself reaffirms the authority of this country, which succeeded in preserving to a large extent the originality of its folk legacy. It is not for nothing either that the Fair applied to be recognised by UNESCO for its practices in safeguarding World’s Intangible Heritage.
Just separate articles have been published on the National Fait for the time being: reviews, critical reviews, criticisms by most of the Bulgarian folklorists, ethnographers, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, cultural researchers, etc., such as Elena Stoin, Todor Todorov, Maria Kouteva, Elena Kouteva, Todor Iv. Zhivkov, Stoian Genchev, Ivan Kachulev, Ilia Manolov, Anna Ilieva, Mikhail Bukureshtliev, Todor Djidjev, Tsenka Yordanova, Lozanka Peicheva, Ventsislav Dimov, Dimitrina Kaufmann, Georg Kraev, etc. These were usually published by specialized journals such as Bulgarska Musika, Hudozhestvena Samodeinost and Musikalni Horisonti, by the academic editions Bulgarsko Musikoznanie and Bulgarski Folklor, by Kultura weekly, by certain dailies. Linka Peiceva in her work Between the Village and the Universe: Bulgaria’s Old Folk Music in Modern Times provides the main historical information of the mounting of this cultural event over the years, dealing with the majors issues posed by it (as well by similar amateur arts festivals across this country as a whole) in scholarly reflection and chalks out the lines of its analyses.
The National Fair as an individual research object is treated for the first time in this individual project. The systematisation, provided by the project, of the wide range of gathered records of and relating to the folk event forms a basis for targeted research on it.
The subject of this individual planned project is a natural follow-up to my previous work. This study seeks to analyse Koprivshtitsa’s National Folk Fair historiographically too, tracing its editions, providing information of the mounting and holding of the event so that to give as detailed a picture of the fairs as possible. All the ten cultural editions as well as the upcoming eleventh one in 2015 will be systematically described and treated. In this regard:
– The state’s cultural policy over the years and commitment to the Fair, including its covering by the media will be especially traced and analysed;
– The patterns, the very activities related to the mounting of the editions of the Fair and their funding will be worked out and analysed;
– The programmes will be analysed according to various aspects, and special attention will be paid to the issue of the participants and especially of their age in the context of the reoccurring over the years topical issue of continuity of traditional folklore among children and young people: a problem of concern to a number of folklorists, experts in the field of amateur art activities, etc.
– Certain conclusions could be drawn about the present condition of the folk legacy in each of the ethnographic districts, its onstage rendering, etc., using the made analyses.
Information of the subject will be gathered in scientific publications, archives (programmes, instructions, orders, plans, personal data, forms, awards and special mentions, lists, photographs, recordings, videos, etc.), articles in periodicals, media, broadcasts, etc.
The result of the work will be a comprehensive systematisation and characteristic of each of the editions of Koprivshtitsa’s National Folk Fair, which will be used to make an attempt to outline and trace the major problematic lines that would display various aspects of its existence as a cultural strategy over the years: as musicians’ performance, as a research fieldwork, etc.
The gathered material will be chronologically and thematically structured in an addendum to the text.