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Lot Lorien is a Bulgarian band combining in a modern way the traditions of Bulgarian and world folklore with classical music and modern jazz and progressive rock influences.
Music critics define its style as ethno-jazz/world-fusion/progressive-folk rock and the band itself can boast of highly diverse audience starting with lovers of jazz, blues, classical music and folklore and ending with progressive rock, folk and heavy metal fans.
The band came into existence in 1996 with initial members Kiril Georgiev (guitars, lyrics, compositions), Zlatomir Valchev (drums, percussion) and Petar Pavlov (bass). After number of experiments and lineup changes the band was joined by Bora Petkova (vocals) and Galina Koycheva (violin). The crew behind the band was formed later by Alexander Kinov (soundengineer) and Yasen Kazandjiev (manager, webadmin).
Being ardent fans of English fiction writer John R. R. Tolkien, the band members were inspired to choose their name by Tolkien’s Middle-earth works (the place where the stories of Silmarilion, Hobbit and Lord of the Rings unfold). Lothlorien is the fairytale woods kingdom of the Galadhrim elves where time seems to have stopped and every stranger entering this land forget all worries and pending threats. Inspired by this standstill of time, Lot Lorien (they choose to spell the name as two separate words) began to create music evocative of fairytale images that prompt the listener to forget their mundane worries.
Lot Lorien’s first serious performances started in 1998. The band’s first solo concert was in Varna on February 14th, which the band accepts to be its birthday.
With the course of time, the band’s specific sound and style started to evolve and take shape with the contribution of band’s composer Kiril Georgiev and non-standard instrumentation: acoustic guitar, violin and gentle female vocals successfully combined with synthesizer, bass guitar, drums and folk instruments like tapan, tabla, djembe, darbouka. Unique handmade instruments crafted by the band themselves also find place in their compositions.
In 2000 the band started touring abroad and was warmly accepted by international audience and promoters. After numerous successful concerts and demo records, some of which were broadcasted on national air, came the band’s first album Eastern Wind. The album was recorded in the summer of 2002 in the Balkanton studio with legendary sound engineer Deyan Timnev. Renowned young opera singer Ina Kancheva is guest performer in one of the compositions included in this album.
New events followed, and creation of new compositions. At the beginning, Lot Lorien were experiencing the strong influence of classical music and English folklore and had more chamber sound; gradually their style and sound were enhanced by inspirations of jazz, progressive rock and especially Bulgarian folklore. Thus in 2003 started one of the most interesting collaborations of the band with great musician Theodosii Spassov. The first result of this collaboration was the band’s participation at the Mobimak Balkan Square 2003 festival in Ohrid, Macedonia where Lot Lorien's compositions rearranged with the participation of the great kaval player enjoyed great success. The band’s concert was recorded and part of it was later released under the title Live in Ohrid, the second album in the band’s discography.
In 2003 another interesting event occurred: Lot Lorien became member of IOV (a UNESCO- affiliated International Folk Arts Organization).
Gradually the band started touring abroad more frequently, presenting its original compositions and interpretations on Bulgarian folklore tunes. By that time some music videos were created by the famous director Todor Chapkanov – friend of the band. The first music video was for the song “Mari Mariiko” - based on folklore song from the Strandja region of Bulgaria.
The end of 2005 set the beginning of an ambitious project of working title Lot Lorien and Friends. The band purchased their own professional equipment and established a home studio in their own rehearsal premises which provided them with creative freedom for experimentation and with potential to invite guest musicians. At the end of 2006, an album including 12 compositions was a fact: recorded and mixed in the band’s studio. Featuring in this album are numerous guest musicians whom Lot Lorien had met and worked with in Bulgaria and abroad: Roman Stolyar (Russia): flute; Latif Bolat (Turkey/USA): vocals; Nikolay Yordanov: flute; Dragni Dragnev: bagpipe and kaval; Petya Dragneva: folk signing; Maryana Cvetanova-Milanova and Dilyana Cvetanova: violin; Christian Nedelchev: rebeck; Snajen Kovachev: vocals; 84-year old Kiro Dikov from village Brodilovo, and lyrics by Georgi Konstantinov and Rey Gonzales. The album was released at the beginning of 2007 under the name Lot Lorien. One of the most interesting collaborations included in this album was the song Ballad for The Lost which was created on improvisations with certain ideas and was gradually upgraded with numerous instruments, including a string trio, bagpipe and tabla (used for the first time in band’s composition) and the “icing on the cake” was Latif Bolat, a long-time friend of the band and renowned Turkish composer and musician living in the USA, famous for his collaboration with George Lukas on the soundtrack of Young Indiana Jones. Latif and Bora (vocals) produced an interesting multi-language vocal dialogue: Bulgarian lyrics by Lyuben Karavelov and Turkish lyrics by Turkish mediaeval poet Yunus Emre; tunes from Turkish folk song were incorporated at the beginning and the end of the composition. Logically, this song became one of the award winners in the contest for intercultural dialogue “Other songs” of Euromedcafe (held under the auspices of the Directorate for External Relations at the European Commission, Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue and Fondazzione Mediterraneo).
In 2007 Lot Lorien decided to join You Are Not Alone initiative to support the Bulgarian nurses retained in Libya. Apart from a series of concerts in connection with this initiative, with the support of Stefan Sofiansky and the Union of Free Democrats Lot Lorien released a special edition of the Lot Lorien album of which each member of the European Parliament received a copy.
2008 saw a couple of concerts in Bulgaria and the creation of new compositions. At the end of this year the band celebrated its 10th anniversary with a grand concert in Varna Opera House where the musicians presented their recent and earlier compositions and created a conceptual multimedia and special lighting for each song. At the and of the year, the band splits with the manager Yasen Kazandjiev.
In 2009 Lot Lorien continued their work with composing and arrangement of songs for their next album. They had some participations as well, one of which was at the prestigious Spirit of Burgas festival, rated among Europe’s 10 best summer festivals.
2010 was year of dramatic changes for the band: Bora and Galina stepped out but their withdrawal was compensated by Yordan Danev, a virtuoso accordionist who joined the group, a perfect team player and inspired composer and arranger. Yordan Danev contributed to band’s richer and more diversified sound. Of course, the band would be incomplete without suitable vocals and after a long search, at the end of 2010, Lot Lorien were happy and proud to welcome Gergana Velikova, a young singer who instantaneously fused in the band not only with remarkable vocal range and technique but also with vision, presence and creative approach.
With Yordan and Gergana on board, Lot Lorien were active once again and started preparations for their successive album and concert performances.
On February 14th 2011, the band’s 13th anniversary, the band’s new members were officially announced and a new webpage and video were launched. Тhe video was created by the team of young director Stoyan Yankov after the instrumental composition “Different faces” from Lot Lorien’s forthcoming album “Eslewhere”. It was the beginning of new great collaboration.
The main engagement for the band during 2011 was creating and finishing the compositions for the forthcoming fourth album. At the end of the year 11 compositions were recorded.
At the beginning of 2012, the band started mixing the album. During the summer Lot Lorien won the audience’s prize at Golden Spring – a competition for new Bulgarian pop and rock song, produced by the Bulgarian National Radio.
The new album Elsewhere was mastered at the end of the summer and after a competition made by the band, the visual design was created by Dilyana Delcheva – journalist at Metal Hammer magazine for Bulgaria and professional designer for bands like Sonata Arctica, Dreamtale, Absinthium, Gothmog, Leviathan, Amaseffer and others.
At the middle of september, the band participates at Festival for new pop and rock song Sofia 2012, where they won the audience’s prize, after SMS voting. The earnings from the SMS messages are meant to support the National charity campaign “Let's be better” which is initiated by the municipality of Sofia for building of a Centre for treatment and rehabilitation of people injured in accidents and people in "awakening coma". Lot Lorien won with “Gypsy song” – composition from the new album, which had its video released soon after that. The video again was created by Stoyan Yankov’s crew. At the end of september the band started performing and promoting the new album in different towns of Bulgaria.
Right now some technical and organizational problems must be solved in order for the worldwide distribution of the album “Elsewhere” to begin. In the meantime the band is getting ready for new events...
REWARDS AND NOMINATIONS :
1999 - A reward from “New Rhythm” magazine and “Graffitti Studio”;
2007 - Award winner in the contest for intercultural dialogue “Other songs” of Euromedcafe (held under the auspices of the Directorate for External Relations at the European Commission, Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue and Fondazzione Mediterraneo);
2010 - Nomination for “Varna” reward / category “Music”;
2012 The listener’s reward - 43-th competition for new pop and rock music “Golden spring” 2012 - Bulgarian National Radio / Horizont program;
2012 The audience’s reward - Sofia 2012 Festival for pop and rock music
2012 - On top of the weekly music chart by the Bulgarian National Radio, 03.10.2012
2013 - “Varna” reward / "Music" category. Official and prestigious reward by the municipality of Varna (Lot Lorien's home town) for the original album "Elsewhere", created in 2012;