The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices: BooCheeMish (Prophecy, 2018)

June 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices: BooCheeMish

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices (or Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares) is a long-running all-female choir who perform modern arrangements of traditional Bulgarian folk melodies. They became an international phenomenon in the ’80s when 4AD released a pair of compilation albums spotlighting their work, the first of which was actually a reissue of an album released in 1975, and the second of which won a Grammy in 1989. Since then, the choir has toured and released several additional albums, in addition to being sampled by countless producers and groups looking to add a dash of otherworldliness to their music. This is the choir’s first album in 20 years, and it unites them with Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, another act synonymous with the golden era of 4AD, and who has also been sampled innumerable times. Gerrard adds her unmistakable contralto to four songs, which are all highlights. While some of the group’s earlier recordings were a cappella, these songs are mostly performed using traditional instrumentation, but a couple of them are a bit more upbeat and modern-sounding, such as “Rano Ranila”, which is credited as featuring beatboxing. While some of the choir’s recordings can be dark and somewhat gothic, there’s some really upbeat and joyous songs here, such as “Tropanitsa”. Whether or not you’re familiar with the older recordings, this one sounds wonderful.

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