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Galina Durmushliiska: For me singing is happiness and therapy of a kind

Photo: BNR - archive

Galina Dormushliiska is an iconic name in Bulgarian folklore. And not just in folklore music from the region of Dobrudzha but in traditional culture as such.

Galina Dormushliiska was born in Vedrina village near Dobrich. Her talent for music, noticed early on by specialists, has helped her in her performing career in Bulgaria and in other countries. She recorded her repertoire of songs from Dobrudzha for the first time in the 1990s with the Folk Music Orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio. Galina Durmishliiska’s music archives, recorded at the BNR, include almost 200 solo recordings, as well as recordings with the Dobrudzhanka trio, in which she sings with Milanka Yordanova and Nelka Petrova during her years as tutor at the Dobrudzha folk song and dance ensemble in Dobrich.

She had the good fortune to meet another celebrated folk singer – Verka Siderova, who handed her a sheaf of her own, unrecorded songs with the words: I am giving them to you because only you can perform them.

Galina has done much to popularize Bulgarian folk singing during her 10 years in the Netherlands where she popularized the music itself but also founded Dutch ensembles performing Bulgarian folk songs, arranged by prominent Bulgarian composers. Galina Durmishliiska:

Dobrudzha is an amazing part of the country. It is flat country, with people living in the most fertile lands of Bulgaria though there is only one way to survive there – hard work. So, many of my songs are connected with work and the way people once lived. I heard my first songs from my grandmother Dena. Folklore is the wisdom of a nation. When we listen to folk songs we find the answer to the question how people lived, what made them happy. Later, the Dobrudzja ensemble, singing on stage, and our conductor Petar Krumov gave me so much.

Galina’s beautiful voice is just part of her artistic talent, she also possesses a precision and excellent taste in the selection of songs for her repertoire. 

My repertoire is from Southern and Northern Dobrudzha, it comes from the people of Dobrudzha who came to Bulgaria after the Treaty of Craiova (the 1940s). My songs are different but they are all in conformity with my view of life. I don’t have a single song in which someone dies, for example, we are all born in this world to love. In the 1990s I started travelling to Ukraine and there I learnt many songs from the Bessarabian Bulgarians. In Amsterdam, together with our colleagues from the Netherlands we founded a mixed choir – Chubritsa – which is still singing. For me that was therapy of a kind in the years I was living there – when I was teaching them, it was as if I was in Bulgaria. Girls I have taught are members of the Dutch trio Pauni – Peacocks. They are all beautiful ambassadors of Bulgaria to the Netherlands.

I now live in a house in Kotel from the time of the national revival and I work in cultural tourism. I feel I am more useful teaching others to sing. I travel abroad, I often go to Cyprus and visit with the Bulgarians living there. 

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