Trakija Ensemble

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The traditional dance music of Eastern Europe has been brought to the international stage by the Trakija Ensemble or the Trakiya Ensemble. Under the direction of clarinet player Ivo Papazov (born 1952),…
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The traditional dance music of Eastern Europe has been brought to the international stage by the Trakija Ensemble or the Trakiya Ensemble. Under the direction of clarinet player Ivo Papazov (born 1952), the group continues to craft a turbo-charged approach to the wedding music of the Baltic region. Formed in the city of Plovdid in 1974, the Trakija Ensemble represented the shared vision of Papazov, accordion player Nesho Neshev (born: 1954 in the southern Bulgarian village of Kurdzhali), and saxophonist Yuri Yunakov. Drummer Salif "Sasho" Ali (born 1964 in Kurdzhali) joined in 1980. Despite the group's popularity, they suffered under the socialist government of Blugaria. In 1982, Papazov was accused of distributing anti-government propaganda and incarcerated for three weeks. Although he was scheduled to be sent to a labor camp, a late-minute reprieve granted him freedom. The Trakija Ensemble's fortunes rose in the 1990s after a democratic government assumed control of Bulgaria. The group extended its influence during tours of Europe, North America, and Australia. Following the departure of Yunakov, who left to pursue a solo career in 1995, the Trakija Ensemble continued to perform as a trio. The original quartet reunited in 1998 for an Australian tour.