"...Elitsa Todorova plays instruments like the tarambuka, drums, maracas, clavess, old silver coins, shepherd's chimes, horses' bells, a magical thunder-wand, guirro..."

The Spin

The energy that springs from the instruments of the two percussionists, alongside with the specific vocal technique of Elitsa Todorova, naturally accounts for the audience's respect. The unique Bulgarian duo combines rhythms from all over the world with authentic Bulgarian folklore, jazz and world music. The emblematic instrument for them - the Drumboy (or brambazuk, komar, drandar, brunchilo) is a musical instrument that has its roots in India, and it's been known in Europe since the beginning of the 14th century. It's got the shape of a tiny metal or wooden lamella, the mouth playing the role of a resonance cavity. This instrument, with its specific, mystical sound, was introduced to Bulgaria back in the 18th century.
Stoyan Yankoulov is Bulgaria's most renowned drummer and percussionist, with his own style and innovative technique in creating a unique set of drums. Elitsa Todorova sings authentic pieces from all Bulgarian folklore regions. She uses the traditional drum-instruments in a most non-traditional way combining singing and drum-playing at the same time. The duo has performed in Canada, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, Switzerland, Croatia, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro and in Africa. Their concerts always turn into exciting spectacles for the audience's senses and souls.

Stoyan Yankoulov was born on September 10th, 1966. At the age of 8 he started taking piano lessons. At the same time he showed interest for percussion instruments. Since young age he was the base of musical bands as a drummer. He graduated from the musical school "Lyubomir Pipkov" in Sofia and then from the State Musical Academy "Pancho Vladigerov" majoring in percussion instruments. He was accepted in the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio. Yankoulov plays with rock and jazz bands, with folklore ensembles and with jazz-rock and fusion bands. He was guest starring on folklore and jazz festivals in Bulgaria, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Holland, France, Turkey, USA, Macedonia. Stoyan Yankoulov records plenty of jazz, pop and ethnic music. This has significantly influenced his unique playing style. He manages to produce orchestra sound on percussion instruments. Sometimes the listener has the impression that there is more than one percussionist playing. "The acquisition of other techniques - from bass, piano or other instruments is useful in this process. For me to play means to communicate."

Yankoulov breaks and stretches the traditional way of playing drums, tupan, percussion by applying new techniques and non-standard musical ideas. Combining authentic folklore with new ways of expression with percussion instruments Stoyan Yankoulov reveals the unlimited variety and emotional intensity of the unique Bulgarian culture.

Elitsa Todorova was born on 02 Sept. 1977.She studied at the "Philip Koutev" school of music in Kotel, specializing in folklore singing; and the "Dobri Hristov" school of music in Varna, specializing in percussions. She then graduated from the "Pancho Vladigerov" State Academy of music in Sofia, majoring in percussions. She attracts both, the audiences' and the critics' attention by her specific voice - strong, deep-toned, clear and hardy, the tone-quality being one of beautiful and rich ornamentation. Todorova worked as a soloist at the State Dance and Music Ensemble in Varna and the "Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria" Choir where she performed authentic Bulgarian folk songs, and compositions in Yiddish and Sanskrit. In 2003 Elitsa Todorova began working with Bulgaria's most popular and renowned drummer and percussionist Stoyan Yankoulov. The unique Elitsa Todorova-Stoyan Yankoulov Duo turned into a phenomenon in no time. Their high professionalism and perfectionism underlies all their performances.

Elitsa Todorova develops a percussions-playing style of her own, combining quick ostinate rhythms on the tarambuka with synhronized tarambuka with synchronized playing and singing. The result is a mosaic of unique vocal movements and impeccable musical improvisations. She plays traditional percussion instruments in a most non-traditional way. The young singer easily mixes traditional folklore with jazz, drum and bass, ethno-motifs, classics and spontaneous improvisation. The result is fascinating. A magnetic voice and percussion tell us their folklore-jazz story. In her repertoire Elitsa Todorova plays instruments like the tarambuka, drums, maracas, clavess, old silver coins, shepherd's chimes, horses' bells, a magical thunder-wand, guirro, chimes, but of all musical instruments the best, in her opinion, is human voice. Through combining authentic Bulgarian folk songs with the energy of percussions Elitsa Todorova presents in a most touching way the core, the potency and the emotional power of Bulgarian culture.

Elitsa Todorova has been given the following awards: The Golden Phenomenon statuette for 2005, for her phenomenal achievements in the field of the singing and performing arts and for promoting Bulgarian culture around the world; A Honorary Diploma from the Republic of Austria's Embassy for her great contribution to popularizing Bulgarian Jazz music to Austria within the Step across the border 2005 European Program.

The Singer
So, what new form of Eurosong musicianship do we have here? Oh it's a couple of talented thwackers of a cow's arse. The photogenic Elitsa lines up beside the working class version of David Copperfield, in yet another watered down version of Ruslana. He's a drummer of some note (well, one note). She mostly ululates with great gusto, and also drums. Warbling seems to be a national pre-occupation. All in all, they do have stage presence, but they'll need a bit extra to trouble the leaders, especially as it's up first in the semi-final. And as for the magical thunder wand, the mind boggles....

The Past
Kaffe's "Lorrain" (in the rain) had the unmistakeable whiff of corruption from the start. Bulgaria's first Eurosong effort caused a national scandal when Kaffe's competitors went on record to say that voting was fixed. Well, if only for the evidence of the song itself, I would say that they had a point. Rhyming the title of a song with a low pressure weather condition didn't work. The following year, the went with a more palatable warbler, but still failed to make it out of the semi-final
. Bulgaria need to step it up.

The Song
Bad draw for the Bulgarians, but here goes anyway. I think this will make it into the final, and then I think this will finish in the top three. There, I said it. On first listening all those months ago, I thought "ooh this is palatable". You may not think that's particularly effusive praise, but it's all comparative. In Eurosong "ooh, now that's acceptable" is borderline Grammy award time. Elitsa will need to curb her natural prediliction to go over the top with the ululations, but "Water" has a very good solid backing beat, which should even get Westerners murmuring mild ambivalence.


A two minute song stretched out like a 70 year old man's y-front elastic, nevertheless Bulgaria have come out from under the cloud of Lorrain in the rain, and emergred into the light. It will need something more than the banging of drums, and the blowing of a digeridoo, so I hope for a big light show. This is my 2nd favourite of the year, and if can make it through a tricky semi-final draw, it isn't such a stupid each way bet, thus putting the thriving Bulgarian music scene on the map..(my, I write some shite).

In a Nutshell
"Tara-du-da day-du-dara dara-du-da...hey"

the philosopher says

Ecofeminism Belief that human violation of the natural world is an extension of the prevalent patriarchy of Western culture. On this view, efforts to protect the environment at large are feminist in spirit, since they challenge systemic male domination of the other.

"Elitsa Todorova presents in a most touching way the core, the potency and the emotional power of Bulgarian culture", and as a curled dynamo of strained skin-slapping womanly puissance. Whether she's taking out here deep-seated anxiety & discontent with the West by twatting a tarambuka is a moot point however.


More malka mome, yi...

More, more, pee, iy
More Mitra pee na rekata Mitre le, iy, Mitre le
More na rekata do gorata Mitre le, iy, Mitre le
More yozdol ide ludo mlado Mitre le, iy, Mitre le
More ludo mlado konche bodi Mitre le, iy, Mitre le

More, more, pee
More, more, iy
Mitre le
Eno ho... ho... ho...
A... a... a...

More ludo mlado konche yazdi Mitre le, iy, Mitre le
More konche yasti, moma lyubi Mitre le, iy, Mitre le

Tara-du-da day-du-dara dara-du-da, Mitre le

Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da (Hey)
Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da
Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da (Hey, hey)
Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da

Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da (Hey)
Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da (Hey, hey)
Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da (Hey)
Tara-du-day du-dara dara-du-da

Is she Elitsa Todorova who enjoys nothing more than wailing at the top of her voice, whilst hitting a pearl snare drum
or is it Sandra Bernhard who's the same but isn't tuneful and prefers banging a pearl.
Prediction Semi Final 5th
Final 5th