Singing beautiful and haunting acoustic harmonies, Perunika Trio's sound is rooted in the forests and plains of southern Bulgaria. With songs traditional and nostalgic, they invoke an earlier age where singing and vocal harmony were held in the greatest esteem.
The Perunika Trio formed in 2005, when three young but experienced members of the London Bulgaria Choir decided to break off and start their own venture. The group, led by the classically trained Eugenia Georgieva, shared the same Macedonian background, as well as a love for both contemporary and traditional music of their country. Their name comes from Perunika, the wife of the Slavik god of war and the bringer of rain.
The Trio remained in London to begin their recording career, but decided their first project would be an ode to Bulgaria, a modern retelling of its musical history. Bulgaria’s historical depression resulted in many musical instruments being banned there for decades, causing the music that was formed there to be mainly vocal. This proved to be a great fit for the Trio, who cited the recording as a time of discovery.
The only way to describe the vocal work on this album is absolutely gorgeous. Though the language barrier is there, the songs will haunt you with their delicate and strange harmonies. The Trio sings with a passion and skill that leaves you surprised they haven’t been singing together for a decade.
There aren’t many instruments on the album, though the two that are represent traditional Macedonian culture. There’s a tarabuka, a percussive bongo-like instrument, and a kaval, a chromatic flute. These add an air of authenticity to the album, as well as give it a boost in the “too many vocal tracks sound the same” department.
At 48 minutes, Introducing Perunika Trio is likely all the Bulgarian folk music you’ll ever need. All but one of these songs are arrangements of traditional Bulgarian songs, and the arrangements do well in highlighting the strengths of this three-piece as vocalists. The one original, “Perunika”, was written by the Trio’s Eugenia and fits right in with the rest of the material.
This album admittedly wears thin as it goes on, as there is little to contrast one song from the next, once again, due to the language barrier. Still, with its unique Easter flavor, it’s sure to be good for background noise at the very least, as its unique harmonies and music will stimulate you in many ways.
The Perunika Trio formed in October 2005. Eugenia Georgieva, Victoria Mancheva and Victoria Evstatieva met through the London Bulgaria Choir and decided to go it alone and form a trio. All are of Macedonian descent and spent their early years in the Bulgarian cities of Sofia, Plovdiv and Veliko Turnova. They are now based in London.
Embarking on Introducing: Perunika Trio, turned out to be a profoundly personal experience of self-discovery for these young women, as they grew up absorbing both contemporary pop and their age-old musical tradition. Eugenia Georgieva is the only one amongst them who is classically trained (she even fronted a rock band at one stage) but all have spent time in various choirs. Working on the songs for the album made them aware how deeply rooted the tradition of Bulgarian vocal harmonies was within them.
Bulgarian folk music reflects centuries of political oppression. Bulgarians were, for example, forbidden by the Ottomans to wear clothes of any other colour than black, grey and brown, and musical instruments were limited. The human voice became the instrument and the main outlet for musical expression, used as much in folk music as to glorify God in Orthodox churches.
This album is a journey through the rich musical landscape of Southern Bulgaria – laments from Strandja, melancholic chants from Rhodope, Thracian love songs, asymmetric Pirin diaphony and the clashing sounds and ‘hiccupping’ from Shopsko. Typically the time signatures are irregular and restless, giving the music a strong Eastern flavour
Introducing: Perunika Trio explores the intersecting points of Bulgarian, Macedonian and Russian folklore – Slavic nations united by ethnicity, language, the Cyrillic alphabet, old pagan beliefs and Orthodox religion. The album is a hauntingly beautiful voyage of discovery.
01. Rekoh ti, tsone
02. Bre petrunko
03. Ah, kolko oidoh, Maro
04. Altun Maro
05. Izgreyala e meseschinka
06. Zavivaisaya Beryozka
07. Tebe poem
08. Pusta mladost
09. Strati na angleaki dumashe
10. Pripade temna mugla / Dva konya
11. Trugnala e malka moma
12. Morf' elenku / tri zvezdi
13. Zatupali tupaneto
14. Vo pole beryoza stoyala
15. Predstatelstvo hristian
16. Zaplakala e gorata
17. Garitse temna