February 19, 2008

Around the World : Bulgaria

Whoa, it's been a little while since I've done this - things have been busy recently at work. Bulgaria is a country that I'm somewhat familiar with, as I worked with a guy who was from there, Stephan aka, the Crazy Bulgarian. Nice guy, I liked working with him.
The country is located in the Balkans, next to Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. It's an ancient country, having been occupied since the Neolithic times. The earliest known known peoples are called the Thracians, united around 500 BC under a single king. Given it's location between a number of different, and sometimes volitile countries, there's a long history of conflict here.

More recently, Bulgaria entered the first World War alongside the Central Powers, leading to territorial losses at the war's end. The Second World War saw them allied with the Axis powers, where they occupied parts of Greece and Yugoslavia. While allied with Germany, they refused to take part in the elimination of their Jewish population, saving tens of thousands. After WWII, the country was under Soviet control, and reverted to a Republic in 1990 with the fall of communism.

The band that I've selected for Bulgaria is Balkandji, who's described as a folk-metal band, mixing tradtional music with rock music. Many of their songs draw from traditional folk lore. They formed in 1999, and continue to tour in the region.

- Balkandji