KARLOV’S ACCORDION (BULGARIA)

by HAJI MAJI

Typical Bulgarian folk instruments like the kaval, gadulka, and gajda were joined by the accordion in the early 20th century. Karlov, born in 1924 in Sofia to a Bulgarian-Roma family, came to be considered the father of Bulgarian accordion style. It was probably helpful that his own father, Karlo Aliev (check him out on Excavated Shellac), was a highly-regarded musician and director of Krenjaska, an ensemble that gained fame playing on Radio Sofia in the 1930s. Boris took over as director of the group when his father died in 1944 and soon became a celebrated musician. His true love was for folk music, and he applied his amazing technique and musicianship to styles from many different regions, although his roots were in western Bulgaria. Here he plays a dance tune in 11/8 from northern Bulgaria called “Gankino Horo.” The label Radioprom was formed by the nationalizing of small local labels in the late 1940s and eventually changed into the Balkanton label.
Boris Karlov died in 1964.

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