While recording in Bulgaria did begin as early as the first decade of the 20th century, it wasn’t until the 1930s when independent Bulgarian labels began to crop up that recording began in full-swing. To compete with Odeon, Pathé, and HMV, local labels like Orfei, Arfa, Balkan, and London Record were recording at a rapid clip. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if these records received little distribution beyond cities in Bulgaria – finding folkloric Bulgarian records in anything above hopelessly worn condition is difficult.
Today’s piece was released on the Radioprom label…but perhaps not at first. The Communist government consolidated (and liquified) the assets of all active Bulgarian independent record labels as part of a nationalization process in the late 1940s, with everything then lumped together under the state-owned label Radioprom. Despite the amount of propaganda released by Radioprom, they did release much folkloric music as well – and re-released material that had previously appeared on other labels. In this case, it appears that Ms Tsekova’s piece originally appeared on the Orfei label, where she recorded a number of tracks in her apparently short-lived career on 78s. And as for Radioprom, it eventually became known as Balkanton in the LP era.
Ms Tsekova sings with the Peyu Budakov brass band (along with a clarinetist, a violinist, a lute player, and an accordion). The exact transliteration of the Cyrillic title, “Kako Todoike, Todoike” may be slightly incorrect. Kako means “older sister” in Bulgarian – and the female name that comes closest in Bulgarian is “Todorke.” I’m reasonably sure this is a song about Todorke, the older sister, though any help is of course appreciated. The equally terrific flip side to this record appears on Song of Crooked Dance, on Yazoo Records. Lauren Brody’s notes for her CD provided some of the information here, as well.
So, here we are with more forgotten sounds, the marks etched in the grooves, as fine as dust…
Issue Number: 1042
Matrix Number: 1610