One of the leading vocal trios in traditional Bulgarian music, the Bisserov Sisters (also known as Sestri Bisserovi, the Bulgarian equivalent) are lead vocalist Lyumbimka Bisserov (born in 1953) and harmony singers Neda Bisserov (1955) and Mitra Bisserov (1957). Unlike nearly all Bulgarian vocal groups, the sisters are also multi-instrumentalists who accompany themselves on various traditional Bulgarian instruments. Another element that makes the Bisserov Sisters different from most Bulgarian vocal groups is that all three sisters are conservatory-trained folklorists and ethnomusicologists. Despite this academic leaning, the Bisserov Sisters usually perform only music from their ancestral home, the Pirin Mountains of southern Bulgaria, which gives their records a rich emotional context.
The Bisserov Sisters first performed in public in 1978, at a nationwide competition (which they won) to appear at the 11th annual World Youth Festival in Cuba. Although the sisters were in their early 20s at the time, they had been singing literally all their lives, learning local songs from their mother and grandmother as well as ritual and dance songs from the village festivals they participated in. Their first album, Pirin Traditional Songs, was recorded for Bulgaria's state-controlled record label in 1979. After two more Bulgaria-only LPs, 1981's Traditional Songs From Pirin and 1986's Bisserov Sisters and Trakiiska Troika, plus the 1988 cassette-only release Old Traditional Songs, the Bisserov Sisters made their international debut with 1990's Music from the Pirin Mountains on the Dutch world music label Pan.
A new international interest in Bulgarian vocal music thanks to the success of Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, coupled with the early-'90s crumbling of the Iron Curtain, led to a series of releases on various European, Japanese, and American labels, including 1991's Folk Chorus From Bulgaria; 1992's Bulgarian Polyphony III; 1993's The Bisserov Sisters; 1995's two-part Slaveite ot Pirin; 1996's excellent Pirin Wedding and Ritual Songs and Diloto; and a compilation of songs from the trio's early Bulgarian albums, The Hits of the Bisserov Sisters. In 1999, the sisters recorded with their mother and daughters for the first time, issuing From the Roots to the Top: Three Generations of the Bisserov Sisters. Also in 1999, the Bisserov Sisters joined forces with three throat singers from Tuva and five Western musicians to form a cross-cultural troupe called the Globe Orchestra.