Bulgarian Voices of Seattle

The singing traditions of Bulgaria are as rich and varied as its history.   Each Bulgarian region has its own particular vocal style and songs.  Women sang to express emotion, lighten harvest and other work, and mark life’s important moments like weddings and births, seasonal rituals and names days.  The songs speak of love, separation, nature, heroic deeds and daily life through poetic imagery, humor and pathos. Whether a dissonant song in call-and-response or a lush choral arrangement, Bulgarian songs touch the heart of any listener.

Songs take on an even deeper meaning for the Bulgarian immigrants in the Seattle area, half a world away from Bulgaria.  They evoke memories of grandma’s cooking, sounds of bells as the shepherd returns the flock to the village in the evening, swimming in the Black Sea, hikes in the Balkan range, and the heady smell of driving through the rose valley at harvest time.

Bulgarian Voices of Seattle provides a musical bridge into their rich heritage for the local Bulgarian community and general public through performances at Bulgarian and other community events.  Singing together builds community not only in rehearsal and performance, but in the many conversations after events.  There is a wonderful ripple effect that emanates from the choir all the way to families in Bulgaria.

The choir was founded by Mary Sherhart, who studied with the professional folk choir “Varna,” in Varna, Bulgaria (1983-84), and has had a long career as a teacher and performer of Bulgarian and other Balkan folk songs.  Mary directed the choir for 6 years.  Michael Lawson, the choir’s frequent accompanist on accordion, began directing the choir in the Fall of 2017.  Michael has also had a long career as a performer of Bulgarian and other Balkan folk music, leading several Balkan bands including; Nisava, Balkan Cabaret, Kafana Republic and Osem i Devet.

During the pandemic we are meeting online every Wednesday 6:30 – 8:30 pm Pacific Time.

Link to Facebook page

Rehearsal information:

Date: Wednesdays, October to June

Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm

1. Lake City Location – 12700 35th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125
2. Kirkland Location – 308 4th Ave S, Kirkland, WA 98033

To join or for more information, please contact Michael Lawson at:

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