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London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Folk A Capella




"National and international reviews"

“ The voice of angels is the best way to sum up the sound of Perunika Trio." BBC London

“Combining a madrigal-like delicacy with a brooding Eastern Orthodox spirituality." The Daily Telegraph

“ Perunika Trio are like an ultra-focused choir with just one voice per part, but perfectly tuned and blended." Evening Standard

"As fine a slice of Eastern Euro a'capella as you're likely to find this side of Trio Bulgarka." FROOTS

Perunika is a blossom named after the mythical goddess of spring and eternal youth who is said to make rain when she milks her cloud-cows; Bulgarian villages traditionally held festivals led by girls clad in leaves and branches who sang and prayed for rain. The songs on this album reflect this culture with great charm, blending songs to the goddess with hymns to the Orthodox deity, and displaying the muscular harmonies and irregular rhythms which make this music so beguiling. Making this record has been a voyage of discovery for the London-based singers, who are now returning to their Macedonian roots.Michael Church, The Independent On Sunday, 16th March 2008

There was a time when Bulgarian voices were a mystery to all but the most devoted world music listeners. The London-based Perunika Trio cannot quite recapture the shock of the first Bulgarian recordings to be heard in the west, but their collection of songs still contains surprises. "Bre Petrunko" is punctuated with gulps halfway between a skipping record and an attack of hiccoughs. Elsewhere, mathematically strange harmonies and lurching rhythms abound, as do spurned maidens, wounded warriors and trees.David Honigmann, Financial Times, 1st March 2008 **** four stars

Twenty years ago Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares introduced the ringing sound of Balkan choral singing on one of the seminal world music albums, although the ensemble turned out to be the more prosaically named Bulgarian Television Women's Choir. While two decades of exposure to Balkan sounds have rubbed some of the exoticism off this form of music, they've done nothing to dent its essential power.
The Perunika Trio show that you don't have to be a vast choir to create that haunting, keening sound. Their pure voices interweave in an extraordinary range of vocal effects, and while the members are all cosmopolitan urbanites long resident in Britain, you'd never guess it from the easy way they pitch into these songs of the Bulgarian forests and plains.
Rustic, without being overly romantic, the album's mood is warm and reassuring, the best songs combining a madrigal-like delicacy with a brooding Eastern Orthodox spirituality. Mark Hudson, The Daily Telegraph, 15th March 2008

Bulgaria's Perunika Trio performs vocal music in the classical tradition of oral story-telling. The trio is Eugenia Georgieva, Victoria Mancheva, and Victoria Evstatieva. The opening track features the kaval flute in the background. The percussion instrument, the tarabuka, also makes an appearance on a few tracks. The oral tradition of Bulgaria and the Macedonian region is steeped in chants, na atsane singing, irregular time signatures, and laments, often a part of the Christian religion. Part of the success of the Bulgarian vocal tradition, stems from the Orthodox Church's disallowance of instrumentation. The Perunika Trio performs 18 different vocal tracks. Many tracks reflect elements of love, maidens, astronomy, weather, geography, and history. All the tracks are eloquently performed and resemble a smoother form of the Finnish group, Varttina. A contemplative, energetic, and refreshing release. Vocal fans rejoice for the Perunika Trio! Matthew Forss,

If you've ever heard Le Mystere de Voix Bulgares you'll know how haunting Bulgarian vocal harmonies can be. The Perunika Trio are like an ultra-focused choir with just one voice per part, but perfectly tuned and blended. Eugenia Georgieva, Victoria Mancheva and Victoria Evstatieva are all London-based. Their repertoire here is largely Bulgarian plus a few songs in Macedonian, Russian and Old Church Slavonic. The slimline group works well for most of the songs but it sounds a little thin on the lament Strati and Angelaki which needs more voices with its clashing dissonances. Simon Broughton, Evening Standard, 2nd May 2008

Very impressive debut from three young London-based Bulgarian women, singing in a whole range of regional a cappella styles. Sometimes sweet, but sometimes surprisingly spiky and well worth investigating.FRoots, July 2008

Those who remember Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares will know the magic of the Bulgarian village harmonies, a rural singing style that seemed out of place in the modern age with its odd micro-tones and weird harmonizations. You won't find quite the same thing with the Perunika Trio, but the time is different -- and so, most definitely, is the place. The three young women who make up the group may all be Bulgarian, but they're based in London, having been raised not in the Bulgarian countryside, but in its cities; one of them is even a classically trained musician who spent time in a rock band. How much that influences the music is up for debate, though. There are some pieces with those ineffable diaphonic harmonies, but many more aren't, looking out toward Macedonia or Rhodope, bringing ideas in from Orthodox Church liturgical music and, in the case of the very unusual "Morf' Elenku," taking the na atsane tradition from the Bansko region. All of that could make it an academically rich CD, but lacking in emotion. Instead, the mostly traditional pieces ("Perunika" was written by one of the singers, Eugenia Georgieva) hang together well to form a whole with one seamless sound made from many facets and suffused with beauty and passion. Chris Nickson, All Music Guide

Eugenia Georgieva leads one of the more unlikely double-lives in contemporary music.
As the founder of the London-based Perunika Trio, she specializes in crafting some of the most exquisite a cappella music you're likely to hear. The members of the group, which also includes fellow Bulgarian expatriates Victoria Evstatieva and Victoria Mancheva, all have a shared background in Bulgarian and Macedonian culture in general and choral music in particular.
Only four of the selections on their splendid, 18-song debut album feature instrumentation of any kind (and then very sparingly). The other pieces showcase their luminous three-part harmonies and intricate call-and-response vocal exchanges, unadorned. What results at times suggests the famed Bulgarian Women's Choir in a much more intimate, but equally moving, form.
Together, these three singers explore the folkloric traditions of southern Bulgaria and neighboring regions, producing music that is alternately haunting and edgy, rhapsodic and at times almost raucous. Any language barriers for Western listeners are easily overcome through the group's visceral voices – and by their ability to express joy, pain and a variety of emotions in between with such clarity and depth of expression.
As for Georgieva's double-life, her MySpace page identifies her as "Eugenie G" and cites her chief musical influences as Queen, George Michael, Tool and Bulgarian singing star Yanka Rupkina. Georgieva's – make that G's – solo work ranges from chill-out reveries and percolating dance-pop jams to otherworldly ballads. But none of her own work is as striking or stirring as that of the Perunika Trio's, at least not yet. George Varga, The San Diego Union-Tribune , 28th February 2008

The acoustic, mostly vocal, music on Introducing Perunika Trio is powered by the excitement of energy packed into a suppressed space and released in brief glints. There is a low drone, and then words begin to flick out with the quickness of a quip or a whip, snipped off at the end. The voices don't linger around for hours stickily collecting dust like Celine Dion's heart going on, or Whitney Houston always loving you—they fling themselves outwards, rise to a swift crescendo, and chop back. Then they flick out again, and once again withdraw. It's the glee of no-nonsense schoolmarms, all tight-boned bodices and hairbuns, casting off their glasses and splintering into sharp fermentation at the front of the classroom. Window glass explodes and the children sprint away in panic, shocked by the Bacchic peculiarities of adulthood.
That was the impression I came away with the first time I listened to this album. Listening to it again, I realised that not all of the songs work around the drone and the whip, but it's these yips and yelps that have lingered; the intense sound of high-pitched and precise female explosions. There are also church chants, humming and simmering, and songs that are closer to conventional madrigals. Some of the songs are Macedonian, some are Russian. Most come from Bulgaria, the Trio's homeland.
This yipping style of Eastern European folk singing was brought to the attention of the outside world decades ago by Marcel Cellier's Le Mystére des Voix Bulgare recordings of the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. The Choir itself was formed during the 1950s by the Bulgarian composer Philip Koutev. The idea of good country people coming together to perform their folk tunes wholesomely in formalised arrangements under a group leader is one that appears to have held great appeal for Communist rulers, for, I suppose, obvious reasons. The people in these groups were expressing pride in their regional culture, but it was a bounded pride, contained, scenic, and non-threatening.
The three women in the Perunika Trio are city-bred city-dwellers who met while they were all living abroad in London, yet they borrow much of their material from the same countrified regions of southern Bulgaria that the Choir drew on in the Voix Bulgare albums. There is music from agricultural North Thrace, and from mountainous Pirin. Pirin is also the source of the Trio's name. The goddess Perunika was assumed to live on the mountain with a rainbow for a belt.
Introducing is not, however, a rehash of the Voices Bulgare. The limited size of the Trio gives its singing a different character. When the three women rise to meet a note, they don't have the same wall-of-sound effect as the Choir, instead they sound sweeter, simpler, freer, and cleaner, a flexible independent entity rather than a mass. They also sound less imposing. The noise of those disciplined Choir voices shooting steadily upwards in unison was designed to make your spine tingle and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It felt like a primitive defensive instinct reviving itself in the modern age. "Danger," said the lizard brain, "a large crowd of forceful strangers is approaching." The Perunika Trio, being smaller, seems more neighbourly. It doesn't bring out that saurian zing.
The sharpness is still present, though, and so is the Eastern melancholy. Even when the voices are rising, there's sadness in the tone, colouring it, tilting both downwards and upwards at the same time. Bulgaria has, in its time, been occupied by the Ottoman Empire and dominated by Communists, and even while the women are singing about love, there's still an air of resignation and mourning, as if life is never really entirely happy. This helps to set the region's folk music apart from other forms of folk. West African folk, for example, is more likely to be straightforwardly pleased or straightforwardly sad. The Bulgarian songs pull in two directions, and the tension at the centre gives them a trembling core of power. The drone hums along like a constant memento mori. Et in arcadia droning.Deanne Sole

The three Bulgarian-rooted, London-based female voices that account for nearly every sound on Introducing Perunika Trio—only a tarabuka drum and kaval flute augment them, and even then very sporadically—are sometimes so light and airy, there's a sense that they'll simply float away and dissipate into the ether. At other times, there's more of a palpable strength, or a deliberate otherworldliness, to their harmonization, as if to remind us that they are, after all, contemporary urbanites and not craggy oldsters who've never left the countryside. Either way, the trio delivers a pure, decidedly ancient sound—almost churchy in its solemnity and austerity, but often coming with a twist: a slightly bent and discordant note here, a sharp turn of rhythm there, perhaps accompanied by a sandpapery rasp that tries to sully a diamond tone. Together for less than three years and united in their feistiness, as well as their loyalty to their Balkan roots, the members of Perunika Trio don't adhere strictly to tradition so much as give it an upgrade. Jeff Tamarkin, GlobalRhythm

These three Bulgarian women formed Perunika Trio in London in 2005 after they met through the London Bulgarian Choir. Putting together an album was an emotional journey for them all, as they connected with a centuries-old tradition of vocal harmonies. Perunika Trio explores Bulgarian, Macedonian and Russian folklore with its Slavic origins. The irregular time beats in the music aretypical of the Bulgarian folk style. Thiscombined with drone-like harmonisationsgives the music its unique flavour. The piercing beauty of a strong tradition comes through powerfully in this album. Richard Giles, NEXUS magazine, vol.15 number 6
- UK and international press


"Introducing Perunika Trio" - World Music Network/ Introducing, 2008
"Never Mind the Balkans: Here's Max Pashm" - Elektrikos Organicos, 2008 (featured artist)
"UNITE > A Gathering Of Strangers" - Mule Satellite 2010



Award-winning London-based PERUNIKA TRIO was founded by artistic director Eugenia Georgieva. Incorporating Bulgarian, Macedonian and Russian traditional music and Orthodox chants into a broader Slavic repertoire, their a’ capella performances include poetry and storytelling.The three singers of Perunika share a love of the dramatic beauty of Bulgarian folk music, where pagan past, church slavonic tradition and five centuries of Ottoman rule fuse, leading you to an exciting journey into Slavic spirituality... The group won the third prize in Folk Song Group category at the prestigious Llangollen Musical Eisteddfod in 2008 in Llangollen, Wales, and have gigged extensively ever since at festivals, art centres, churches, private functions and club nights.

Notable past performances include: Llangollen International Eisteddfod 2008, Mayor's Thames Festival 2008, Sunrise Celebration @ THE BIG CHILL 2008, Christmas Concert - Dorgali, Sardinia 2008, Mayor's Thames Festival 2009, Southwark Playhouse 2009, Chichester Festivities 2009, International A'capella Festival Leipzig - Gewandhaus 2010 , Prema Arts 2010, Farnham Maltings 2010, UNITE < A Gathering of Strangers UK tour 2010(Sage Gateshead - Newcastle, O2 Academy Leeds, O2 Academy Sheffield, Band on the Wall - Manchester, Bush Hall - London, Broadstairs Festival, Quarterhouse Folkestone), Mayor's Thames Festival 2010, National Theatre Foyer 2010, London City Showcase 2010, Master Shipwright's Revelry on the Thames 2010, Tropentheater Amsterdam 2011, Zuiderpershuis Antwerp 2011, Opera North - Leeds, and many more...