b. 1952, Kurdzhali, Thrace, Bulgaria. The most famous practitioner of Bulgaria's most favoured musical format; master clarinettist Ivo Papasov is the King Of Wedding Music. Though Western European eyebrows might be raised at such a title, it equates Papasov with the status of superstar in his native country. Papasov and his Orchestra tour the Balkans, playing several weddings a week (many couples will re-arrange the dates of their ceremonies to coincide with a blank entry in his diary). He descends from a long line of zurna (double-reed instrument) and clarinetists. After forming his first ensemble in 1974, he gradually evolved from a traditional Thracian repertoire into a jazz-inspired improvisational set. This new work nevertheless maintained the complex time-signatures required of traditional Bulgarian dance music.
"Ivo's album of wedding music, played first thing in the morning, provides thorough and long-lasting attitude adjustment for the busy executive."
"Once again, Papasov has his band as well as the listener holding onto the tail of a tiger in this incendiary romp through traditional dance styles given a contemporary facelift."
Papasov's playing is filled with wild runs, forceful shrieks, and elaborate melodic fantasies. To say that Papasov plays clarinet is as inadequate as saying "Jimi Hendrix played electric guitar." The first time I heard the group, I recognized the music immediately it was the folk music Frank Zappa only dreamed of.
Wes Phillips, Stereophile
Ivo Papasov has been one of those musicians that make my hairs go straight up. He makes my blood move right there. I've seen this guy live, he is what Hendrix was with the guitar. He plays....with his instrument, without it, with half of it, on it, off it, takes it apart.....he plays it from every possible angle, he blows it with his nose and the solo is still ferocious....He is .....the one and only