Bulgarian singing workshop

Next course: 13-17th April 2018

Come and study traditional Bulgarian singing at Wild Thyme with professional singer Stela Stoyanova.

This three day workshop in Bulgarian singing is led by Stela Stoyanova and accordionist Dimitar Trifonov who are professional musicians and teachers.

Stela is a traditional singer, performer and teacher with a wonderful knowledge of traditional Bulgarian folk music.  She was trained in Kotel, one of Bulgaria’s centres of traditional music. Dimitar is one of the finest accordion players in the region and the two often play together at festivals and concerts all over the Balkans.  They regularly perform with the Palamartsa village Kapantsi Ensemble which is renowned in Bulgaria.

Traditional Bulgarian songs

Bulgarian music is well known for its complex vocal harmonies made famous by the album Mysteres des Voix Bulgares.  Palamartsa is one of several villages associated with Kapantsi culture and there are many village songs in this style, many of them passed down through generations.

The informal singing workshops will be held over three days with participants working together as a group. These songs are written to be sung by choirs with two or three part harmonies and can be sung by either men or women. Stela is a patient teacher and will guide you through the session introducing one or two new songs each day.  Dimitar (Mitko) will always be there to accompany the group on the accordion. Chris will also be at hand to translate proceedings into English and to help with pronunciation of some of the Bulgarian lyrics. He will have his violin handy to accompany some of the songs.

Bulgarian Music Teachers

Stela and Mitko are fun to work with and they always bond quickly with students. The songs will generally be taught by ear, with the words written out in both Cyrillic and Roman scripts. Mitko can usually provide notation of some of the tunes if you can read music but many of them are pure village folk songs so the notes are not readily available. When learning songs by ear, an audio recording device is always handy so it is a good idea to bring a digital camera or smartphone.

The tuition sessions will be held in the mornings with your afternoons free to look around the village, go hiking in the surrounding countryside or visit some of the local archaeological sites. On one of the evenings we will show a Bulgarian film.

The course finishes with a wonderful evening of traditional music and Bulgarian food in the village centre.  The village women’s choir sings and then workshop participants have an opportunity to sing with the choir.  This is a heart warming event of cultural exchange.

Here are some links to Bulgarian music to whet your appetite:

Stela singing at Wild Thyme in 2016

A clip from 2017 workshop

Final night concert 2017

Our village choir singing

Clip from an old classic Bulgarian film 

A clip from a previous workshop



  • 3 hours of music tuition per day
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • Help yourself to selection of teas through the day
  • Accommodation based on single, twin or double rooms in Wild Thyme Eco Guesthouse
  • Small group of maximum 6 people

Please note that students should bring their own recording devices.


Stella, Bulgarian singing tutor
Your tutor, Stela, is a very talented singer and performer. Stela was trained in traditional music at Kotel and works as a professional singer. She is a member of several ensembles and village choirs which tour all over Europe. She is a patient teacher and has a beautiful warm heart which students readily connect with. Click here for a clip of Stela singing.

Bulgarian music teacher

Mitko will accompany Stela on the accordian.  He teaches accordion at the Popovo Music School but also acts as musical director for the Palamartsa folk ensemble, a renowned group who sing, dance and play music in the local Kapantsi tradition. He has a deep knowledge of Bulgarian traditional music.  He played for many years in the Popovo orchestra and ran the orchestra for the famous Popovo traditional dancing school.  He has travelled all over Europe performing with his students. To see Mitko playing, click here.


Bulgarian Music Night

8.30 am Breakfast

9.15  Singing Tuition

1.30pm Lunch

2.30 Practice time

7.30 Dinner (& small concert on the final evening)

Begins with evening meal on first night and finishes with breakfast on the final morning.  The programme is flexible and the schedule may be adjusted to suit the needs of students and teachers.



  • recording device
  • walking shoes for local walks
  • sun hat, sun cream & sunglasses

Non participating partners are welcome.

We advise you take out travel insurance.

Not included:

  • Beverages
  • Flights & transport of musical instruments
  • Transport from airport. We can help arrange this.

Getting here: Click here for information.

Wild Thyme Organic Farm & Eco-holiday, Kliment Ohridski 9, Palamartsa 7850, Popovo, Bulgaria; hello@wildthymefarm.org; Ph: (00359) 0876562746 or (00359) 0877383790