Which country was I in again?! I get a little bit confused when I see my parents, a Bulgarian high school, the Bulgarian London Choir, the Ambassador, a March 3rd celebration, and a big BG audience all at once in London!

Today, March 3, is Bulgaria’s Independence Day. On this day, we celebrate the signing of the San Stefano Treaty in 1878, which ended the war for the liberation of Bulgaria after 500 years of Ottoman yoke, and the beginning of the third Bulgarian kingdom.

A day before that, March 2nd, the Bulgarian Embassy in London invited all Bulgarian expatriates and their friends to a concert in Regent Hall on Oxford Street.

Luckily, this coincided with my parents’ arrival in London! I couldn’t resist the temptation of seeing a Bulgarian concert in London (so that I can write about it in my blog), so I basically dragged my parents from the airport to the event – despite their protests about wanting to do something English.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Probably something splendid because after all, this is London. But it wasn’t anything as exclusive as the gala events of the famous Bulgarian London City Club.

I think I have mixed feelings about the concert. On one hand, it was quite disappointing that there was no decorations, no flags really, and a very plain program. I was even irritated at one point: before we heard a recital by the students from the Bulgarian school, their teacher asked the audience to be lenient about the mistakes that her students might make because “they’ve tried to learn the piece as well as they can despite of the pressure that the English language has put on their Bulgarian language”…

…really?! I’m sorry but you just can’t say that because it’s a very bad excuse. Even if you spend most of the time in the UK, even if one of your parents is British, even if you do most of your communication in English, don’t try to make any excuses about not being fluent in your mother tongue (or both of your native tongues, if that is the case). Other than that, the students did a pretty fine job actually. Especially that young girl who filled the entire hall with her powerful voice.

The second part of the show, on the other hand, was simply mind-blowing! It was The London Bulgarian Choir who sang “folklore songs from the present and the past”. You MUST listen to their music on their official website above, because they are exceptional! And a big portion of them is not even Bulgarian!! Their conductor and lead singer, Dessislava Stefanova, a former student of the Philip Koutev Bulgarian Folk Ensemble, is a an enchanting singer and a very good marketer: if you come by London you can sign up for private classes or workshops with her. You can also follow the London Bulgarian Choir on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube, Wikipedia, or via their mailing list. Dessislava translated and explained one of their songs in English for the many “friends of Bulgaria”:

–     Mitre, Mitre, why does your son look so ill?

Is it from too much rakia-brandy? Or is it from eating too many pickles?

–      My son is not ill; last night he came from Saparevo village.

He made love to all the Saparevo girls and wrote them down in his book.

But he lost the book, so now he is like ill.