I (Ellis) first read about Bulgarian singer Lilly Drumeva in a recent issue of Vagabond Magazine, and when I learned she sang American folk and country music, I wrote her an email. Awhile later we received an invitation to a concert of Lilly of the West staged at the Bulgarian National Radio studio and we were pleased to attend.
The performance was recorded for the Bulgarian Golden Radio Fund and was accompanied by an announcer giving the history of bluegrass and country music. The introductions were in Bulgarian, but with every other word being a mention of singers like Elvis Presley and Hank Williams, we understood everything.
Lilly sang a mixture of country, folk, bluegrass and original compositions, and with one exception, all of the songs were in English. She performed songs of Shania Twain, Patsy Cline ("Walkin' After Midnight"), and Sheryl Crowe. Lilly was accompanied by her very talented band consisting of Yasen Vasilev on guitar, Ivan Penchev on fiddle, and Svoboda Bozduganova on upright bass. Guest performers included Rayko Pepelanov on guitar, Michail Shihskov on Dorbo and piano, and Rumen Boyadjiev on drums.
We enjoyed every minute of the performance. On the last song of the show, each member of the band had a solo on "My Window Faces the South". For an encore, Lilly sang "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen.
After the show, we were invited to a glass of wine and we had a chance to meet Lilly (and get autographed copies of her CDs). We are looking forward to the upcoming release of the band's new CD, "Lovin' You" and also to attending more performances of Lilly of the West in the coming months.
The above picture shows Lilly Drumeva, Svoboda Bozduganova on upright bass and Rumen Boyadjiev on drums and is taken from Lilly Drumeva's website.