The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices

February 20, 2019

In May 2018, the Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices released their first album of new studio recordings in over two decades entitled ‘BooCheeMish’. Better known to many as Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, in ‘BooCheeMish’ the esteemed Bulgarian choir performs together with erstwhile 4AD Records label mate Lisa Gerrard (co-founder of the duo Dead Can Dance) on several tracks, thereby uniting two of the most distinctive vocal acts working in music.

‘BooCheeMish’ introduces 12 brand new songs written for the choir by Lisa Gerrard, the Irish composer Jules Maxwell and the Bulgarian composer Petar Dundakov, who is also the music producer of the album. While some of his tracks are fully original pieces, others are based on folklore songs and dances with original material added.

‘BooCheeMish’ successfully connects Bulgarian folklore with other traditions and cultures, the album manages to retain the unique identity of the voices, vocal styles and techniques of the individual choir members, even when allying them with acoustic accompaniment such as stringed instruments and various types of percussion (performed by David Kuckhermann) and even including beatbox (performed by the beatbox world champion SkilleR).

The album is produced by the Bulgarian subsidiary of Schubert Music Publishing, and in most of the world it is released by the German label Prophecy Productions.

Under the direction of Dora Hristova, the choir has performed over 1250 concerts outside its home territory since the late 80’s in some of the most prestigious venues in the world. Choir members have also worked with or been sampled by artists as diverse as Kate Bush, U2 and Drake.

Once described as “the marriage of the avant-garde and the Middle Ages”, the magic of the ensemble stems from its success in mastering Bulgaria’s diverse, age-old vocal traditions while simultaneously sounding strikingly modern and original, thanks to the unique choral music structure – multi-part a cappella arrangements that transform its collective sound into strange colours as if something other than the human voice is being heard. Dora Hristova describes it as “a natural, piercing sound for the outdoors to carry across the  fields or from hilltop to hilltop. The sound is created in the larynx and resonates in the chest. It requires great pressure of the breath to create the sound and you must be very strong to sing in this fashion.”