The Bistritsa Babi

The Bistritsa Babi (The Bistritsa Grannies) are a traditional vocal folklore group from the village of Bistritsa near Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. The group was founded about 60 years ago and performs original songs from the Shopluka Region of West Bulgaria. The Birtritsa Babi have become world-famous with their peculiar polyphonic singing style. Their singing is unique and very ancient, retained from the pre-Christian times. Experts define it as unique three-part polyphony. Polyphony is a type of archaic singing with a particular melodic character preserved over the course of time.

The Bistritsa Babi group has toured many times in the UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany and the USA. In 1978, they won the prestigious European Folk Art Award, granted by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation in Hamburg. In 2002, the grannies and their grand-daughters represented Bulgaria at the Europalia International Arts Festival in Belgium. In 2005, the Bistritsa Babi were inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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