Georgi Yanev & Orpheus Orchestra

Georgi Yanev & Orpheus Orchestra


Bulgarian Stambolovo wedding music
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Line up

  • Evgenia Kalaidjieva  (vocal)
  • Georgi Yanev  (violin)
  • Kostadin Kostov  (drums)
  • Orlin Pamukov (clarinet)
  • Pepa Yaneva  (vocal)
  • Toncho Tonev (accordion)
  • Tsvetelina Yaneva  (vocal)
  • Vladimir Petkov  (keyboard)


When Georgi Yanev and Peter Ralchev founded the Orpheus band in the Plovdiv Musical Academy, it tuned into the start of a musical revolution which turned the amazed attention of the world towards Bulgaria. Initially, Yanev and Ralchev took the officially approved folklore of the late 1970s and mixed it together with bursts of improvised Gypsy wedding band music and began to turn it into a kind of Balkan Jazz. There is no doubt that Georgi Yanev is one the leading virtuosos and innovators in the role of the violin in Bulgarian traditional music. Jazz phrasing is only part of the wealth of his music, with which he experiments in the framework of traditional musical idioms, but considerably more frequently than, for example, Ivo Papasov, which whom Yanev is often compared. This is doubtless due to the fact that Bulgarian music, with its complex rhythms and the Dionysian character of the improvisation, is often taken by Western jazz intellectual s as jazz, though it never diverged very far from its traditions.

Georgi Yanev's musical epicentre is a flamboyant Gypsy musical tradition which he manages to turn into a richly ornamented patchwork of tradition in which we discover Thracian traditions (especially through the vocal mastery of his wife Pepa Yaneva), Turkish, Romanian and even Latin American influences. He makes his instrument talk, always telling a new story and showing the highest level of creative originality which has established his status as one of the most sought-after musicians in Bulgaria. At Apollonia Festival Georgi Yanev will appear with the guest musicians from USA - Trio Balkanski Motivi - new trio that plays Balkan-influenced music . The group is comprised of Tev Stevig (guitar, oud), Jordan Scannella (electric bass), and Vesselin Nedeltchev (percussion), the group takes a unique, modern approach to the material by focusing on improvisation and interplay while retaining the music's folk characteristics.

"He is an exceptional musician a paragon for all folk music violinists."
Peter Ralchev

"It is almost impossible to describe the music heard from the Orpheus band. I can only give you an idea by making a comparison. Georgi Yanev's violin is something in between the violins of Jean-Luc Ponty and Lakshminarayana Shankar, maybe because Bulgaria is somewhere mid-way between France and India."
Milen Panayotov/BNR