Bulgarian culture is one of the richest in the world when it comes to music. There are many genres which are popular in the country, such as traditional folk music, pop, jazz, rock, classical and pop-folk.
Traditional Bulgarian folk music is best known due to artists like Valya Balkanska, Yanka Rupkina, Nikolina Chakardakova, Slavka Kalcheva. There are also numerous singing ensembles which are world-famous, such as “Filip Kutev” and The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir (which won a Grammy award back in 1990). The song “Izlel e Delyo Haidutin” by Valya Balkanska is also featured in the Golden Disk, which was sent to space with Voyager in the 70s. If you want to hear any of those songs, you can find them in any music store in Bulgaria (which are not many), or you can just play some of the traditional folk radios, such as Folk Radio or Folk radio nazdrave.
Some of the traditional music instruments are gadoulka (stringed instrument, which is quieter than the violin), kaval (it’s very popular in Bulgaria, especially in Southern Bulgaria and in Dobrudja), gaida (or bagpipe, one the most used instrument in traditional music), tapan (drum) and duduk (very popular in the western part of the country).
Pop-folk is another style of Bulgarian music, which is quite popular. It is a mix between pop music and folk music. Is also very popular in the other Balkan countries like Serbia, Albania, Greece and Romania. There are many pop-folk radios and TV channels where you can listen to this kind of music. The most popular one is Planeta. Despite being quite popular among young people, this genre is also very controversial, because of the image of the artists who sings the songs.
Pop music – Bulgarian pop music is one of the most loved in the country. There are numerous famous artists like Krisko, Gery-Nikol, Maria Ilieva, Mihaela Fileva which you can hear every day on the radio. Most of the songs are in Bulgarian, but you can clearly hear the influence of the modern pop culture in them. The image of those artists is also quite similar to the biggest pop-stars. The biggest radio station for Bulgarian pop music is BG Radio.
Classical music – There are many Bulgarian musicians who are world-famous in the field of classical music. Some of them are Rayna Kabaivanska, Emil Tabakov, Svetla Protich and Pancho Vladigerov. As every modern country, this genre is not the most popular, but still there are many places where you can listen to classical music.

Just as the case with music, there are various styles of dancing, which are popular in Bulgaria: traditional dancing, modern dances, salsa, hip-hop and so on.
Let’s start with traditional dances. They take a very big part of Bulgarian culture, alongside with traditional music. Traditional dances are very beautiful and graceful, and that’s why they are so attractive for tourists. The costumes are colorful and the moves and the rhythm are very catchy. In almost every different corner of the country there is a different style of traditional dances, since the country is divided in 7 folklore areas. For example in Sofia region there is the Shopska folklore area, in Eastern Bulgaria – Dobrudzhanska folklore areas, in the South – Trakiyska and Rhodopska folkore areas and in the West – Pirinska folkore area. Every different Folklore area has its own dances. The most popular traditional dance is Pravo Horo (horo is the name of the traditional dance) which is danced on every big occasion in Bulgaria like weddings, parties or just for fun. On New Year’s Eve, Bulgarians celebrate the New Year with Dunavsko Horo. There are many dancing clubs where Bulgarians go and blow off some steam or just for fun. There are also many big concerts where you can watch traditional dances.
Other very famous style of dancing among Bulgarians is Salsa and Latino dances in general. They are quite famous among locals, who also like to go out after work and just have fun with friends. Many clubs and discos are playing this kind of music all the time.
Alongside traditional and Latino dances, there are also hip-hop and modern dance clubs, ballet schools and many more.
IN Bulgaria the word show has many meanings. Despite being not that popular, there are still some places where you can enjoy a nice live show. Many of the clubs in the big cities are hosting stand-up comedies where young people gather have a good laugh till midnight. Usually there are different types of show, but most of them are in Bulgarian. They are getting more and more popular in recent years and the interest is growing.
Also, there are some late night shows on TV, the most famous being “Slavi’s show” (Shouto na Slavi). It’s usually a comedy show, but most of the time there are political issues discussed on it.

Nightlife is one of the most popular topics when you google Bulgaria, but nevertheless not everything said in the media is true. There are many nice places where you can go and have some fun with your friends and family.
The nightclubs are the favourite places for young people. There is at least one club in every town in Bulgaria (even in small ones), and many in the bigger cities. The diversity of clubs in the summer resorts is even higher, since there is a club for every particular music taste. There are even discos where they play only traditional Bulgarian music all night. Have in mind that in most of the clubs underage people are not allowed, nor are drunk people. Usually the security is on a good level, but you’d better keep an eye on your personal belongings if you are visiting a crowded club.
Beside nightclubs, you can also visit a piano bar, salsa bar or even a wine bar, if you are not a big fan of noisy music and crowded spaces. The music there is really nice and the atmosphere is more serene than in other places. The prices are also lower than in many other European countries.
Something really good to know is that on some holidays, there are Museums and Teachers nights organized by the local municipalities, when all those facilities are free for everyone. Usually they are in May, or in any other month, depending on the city you are visiting.

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