Ivo Papasov was born in Kurdzhali on the 16 February 1952. He was only nine years old when he first got involved with music.
His real school turned out to be the multitude of weddings where Ivo went with his father, and where he learned to master the instrument and develop his virtuoso technique. At the same time, he studied at the school of construction in Kurdzhali. In 1974, when he was only 22 years old, he formed his first band.
Starting with a purely traditional repertoire, it gradually incorporated more and more improvisation, combining a diversity of styles. For a short time Ivo Papasov became the uncrowned King of wedding music. Because of his origins and his popularity among the Turkish population in Bulgaria, in 1982 he was arrested, beaten and held in custody.
Not long after that, Papasov became a celebrity among Bulgarian students and intellectuals who found in his music the freedom which was lacking in official Bulgarian culture.
After the political changes in Bulgaria, Ivo Papasov was free to concentrate on the whole world and for more than ten years he worked on joint projects with stars from the global music scene including Johnny Griffin, Hector Zazou, Okay Temiz, Glen Velez, Kepa Junkera, Arild Andersen.
In 2001, after a long break, he began to work on his album called Fairground. At the end of 2003, the album was released in Bulgaria by Kuker Music, and in 2005 won the BBC Radio 3 World Music Audience Award. Joe Boyd handed him the prize at an official ceremony in Newcastle in March 2005. Back in Bulgaria, Ivo Papasov went on to receive numerous prizes. The newspaper Starozagorski novini motivated his nomination as follows: "Stara Zagora is fortunate that Ibryama, a world citizen for the last twenty years, is a Stara Zagoran. His phenomenal talent united ethnic groups, parties, religions and peoples like no other. Ivo Papasov put Bulgaria and Stara Zagora on the map of the world.
The exposure which followed after the BBC Awards for World Music has again brought Ivo to the attention of his compatriots and led to plans for his latest recording: "Dance of the Falcon" a return to form and to the songs of his childhood. The album is released by World Village (UK) and features traditional themes of sex and death: songs sung at weddings; music summoned to pacify the spirits; music to dance to; music to drink to. Ivo takes these potent songs and reinvents them in his own image. Ivo's style is uncategorisable: there are elements of the potent jazz, funk and world music fusions.Dance of the Falcon features the great drummer and regular Papasov sideman Stoyan Yankoulov and introduces Bulgarian jazz pianist Vasil Parmakov alongside an extraordinary ensemble of players. Traditional instruments such as the tef (tambourine), champari (finger cymbols) and tarambukka and tupan drums (familiar from Balkan wedding bands) appear alongside classical strings, guitars and keyboards, even tabla, oud, congas and a talking drum. The album was recorded by Messechina Music in Bulgaria.
His music today is a source of everything we all love: a tender, lyrical and crazily exuberant weave of colorful sounds and beautiful melodies, improvisations and ornamentation a real embroidery of rhythms inspired by love, which open our hearts to what we cherish the most.