Musicians at the European Forum on Music 2024

This 2024 edition of the European Forum on Music "Equity in Music" will feature the following exceptional musicians.

Academic Folk Choir and Academic Folk Orchestra of the National Academy of Music

Beleva & Hadjigrudev

Not long ago, a non-traditional string duo was formed consisting of Hristina Beleva (gadulka) and Vasil Hajigrudev (double bass). There are many examples of fascinating performances and projects, with such a deep-rooted instrument in Bulgarian - the gadulka, but the examples in which the folk instrument skips the stylistic framework of folklore and fills the space of free improvisation are extremely few.

Christina and Vasil do not try to recreate folklore masterpieces in a new way, nor do they try to mix two or more styles of music, such as jazz and folklore, classical and folklore, as is done en masse and with varying degrees of success. On the contrary. The music they create is completely emancipated from both styles and occupies a new space, especially for her and made by herself - through the sounds of the gadulka and the double bass.



Bistritsa Babi

The traditional dances and polyphonic singing found in the Shoplouk region of Bulgaria are still performed by a group of elderly women, the Bistritsa Babi. This tradition includes diaphony, or what is known as shoppe polyphony, ancient forms of the horo chain dance and the ritual practice of lazarouvane, an initiation ceremony for young women.

Although the social function of the polyphonic singing has changed over the twentieth century, as it is now primarily performed on stage, the Bistritsa Babi are regarded as an important component of the region’s cultural life, promoting traditional expressions among the younger generations.

Bistritsa Babi are among the few remaining representatives of traditional polyphony and the village of Bistritsa is one of the last areas in Bulgaria in which this cultural expression has been maintained over the centuries.




The experimental electro band of three from Bulgaria mixing beatbox, synths and vocals relies on improvising much of their material from scratch, blending electronic music and jazz. Each performer is a unique artist, part of this amazing experience - the Clavexperience. 

Their music is defined by its experimental approach and its ability to blend various genres. They seamlessly fuse electronic elements with live instrumentation and vocal improvisation, creating a sound that is both captivating and innovative. The World beatboxing champion Skiller adds an additional layer to their music, setting them apart from other bands in their genre.




Human Power

Human Power is an activist DJ and speaker project to make people aware that every person can be powerful and create something out of their life. Everyone has their own mental and physical strength - just believe in your own power. Human Power makes nightlife and transformational festival promoters aware of creating an accessible experience and inspires them to make change. We are also happy that Human Power is the artistic alias of one of this years' EFM speakers, Robbe Van Bogaert, who will speak on the Equity in live music panel.


Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra

Sofia Soloists is one of the oldest European Chamber Orchestras. It was founded in 1962 by a group of young musicians from the Sofia Opera in Bulgaria. Their first concert in 1962, conducted by Michail Angelov, attracted the immediate interest and sympathy of the Sofia audience and critics. Soon afterwards they began touring abroad.

In the span of 62 years, the Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra has performed over 3500 concerts all over the world. They began by delighting audiences at major festivals in Germany and France, and in more recent years they have been celebrated at many European festivals such as San Sebastian and Santander (Spain), Zagreb and Dubrovnik (Croatia), Città di Castello (Italy), Louvain (Belgium), Bergen (Norway), among others.

The ensemble has toured numerous countries in Europe, as well as the United States, South America, Japan, South Korea, India and more.

Sofia Soloists have performed in many prestigious venues: New York’s Carnegie Hall; London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Herkulessaal in Munchen, the Salle Gaveau in Paris and more.

The orchestra has more than 600 works in its repertoire, ranging from Baroque to Contemporary music. Sofia Soloists have premiered over 100 works, many of them written specifically for the orchestra.



The Essential Funk Trombone

In the name of the band lies the musical concept that its members follow. "ESSENTIAL" means basic. This program covers the basics of funk music and reproduction in its purest instrumental form.

The vocal parts are very limited and are more like chants and shouts. Strong individualists, with different creative pursuits, the band members are united by their love of classical funk, with its open improvisation form and show us how it should sound - syncopated rhythms, dense bass, razor-sharp guitar, rhythm with a slightly oriental flavor, gentle sax and of course a trombone, that sounds more arrogant than ever, in the program made of original compositions. 

During its inception, the band managed to conquer the stages of A to Jazz Festival, KAPANA Fest, WRONG Fest, two festivals in faraway China, and also accumulated an ominous amount of original repertoire and released their debut album T.E.F.T. 

A year after their debut The essential FUNK trombone released a second one. MAKE IT RIGHT, DO IT NICE is the name of the album, which is an eclectic mix of punk, funk, rock, metal, jazz and disco.

As the band develops, the musicians come together around the music they create themselves – challenging and stimulating each other, uniting all the colors of the personalities they carry. 



YoYo band

The Yo-Yo Band project was created in 2020, based on a concept from Hristo Yotsov.

The name Yo-Yo reflects the names of the co-leaders of the band, Mihail Yossifov and Hristo Yotsov. 

The Yo-Yo Band is a long-term project that will involve both established names and young talents growing alongside their more experienced colleagues. (Similar to Art Blakey's legendary group "The Jazz Messengers", through which a number of jazz musicians passed through over a 30 year period, many subsequently becoming world-famous artists.)

The first album was recorded in 2020, the second one is on the way. 

The group's repertoire consists mainly of compositions by Mihail Yossifov and Hristo Yotsov and pieces by guest musicians will also be included.