Monday, March 16, 2009
Pasha Hristova - "Edna Bulgarska Rosa" ("A Bulgarian Rose")
Parashkeva Hristova Stefanova, known artistically as Pasha Hristova (Bulgarian: Паша Христова) (July 16, 1946 - December 21, 1971) was a Bulgarian singer, best known for performing one of Bulgaria's most popular songs "Edna balgarska roza" ("A Bulgarian Rose"). Some of her other hits were "Povey, vetre" ("Blow, oh Wind"), "Tozi diven sviat" ("This Wonderful World", a version of Czesław Niemen's "Dziwny jest ten świat") and "Yantra" ("Yantra"). Her brief but meteoric career started in the late 1960s. Between 1967 and 1971, she won a number of awards at Bulgarian and international music festivals. She died in a plane crash in 1971.
Life and career:
Pasha was born in Sofia. When she was five, her parents divorced and her father, who married another woman, received custody of her. She had a very close relationship with her grandmother on the paternal side, who took care of her and took her to violin lessons. While most people at the time called her Pepi (normally a diminutive from the male name Petar), her grandmother, who was a great admirer of Pasha Angelina (a famous Soviet Stakhanovite from the Stalin era), gave her the nickname Pasha. Pasha suffered a lot when her grandmother died. In the subsequent, teenage years she reportedly had many conflicts with her father and would occasionally move to her mother's place after a row and stay there for a couple of days. Acquaintances at the time and later described her as a very shy and modest girl. After she completed her secondary education, she started work as a draftsman at an electric truck factory. She married Vasil Ivanov, an engineer, who had helped hire her. Later she left him (without an official divorce) and kept the child that they had.
At the same time, Pasha applied for a school for pop singers. She was accepted because of her voice and despite a speech defect or lisp that was later treated surgically. With the help of her teacher, she found work as a soloist - after a failed attempt to be accepted in Sofia Orchestra - in the Labour Corps Ensemble. Her first great success was at the 1967 Sochi festival in the Soviet Union, where she won a gold medal and the first prize. In 1968 she moved to the Sofia Orchestra, with which she worked during the rest of her career. The then-conductor and leader of the band, Nikolay "Bebo" Kuyumdzhiev, was soon replaced by Nikolay "Fucho" Arabadzhiev, with whom Pasha collaborated productively and basically lived in a common law marriage until their death. She would spend the following years touring Bulgaria and various countries, primarily in what was then the Soviet bloc. In 1970 she won the 3rd prize at the Golden Stag Festival in Braşov, Romania, 1st prize for the song "Yavor's Spring" (music by Svetozar Rusinov) at the radio competition "Spring", and at the all-Bulgarian Golden Orpheus Festival, the Great Prize was won by "Povey, vetre" and the First Prize - by "A Bulgarian Rose" (with music by Dimitar Valchev), both performed by Pasha Hristova. In 1971, her performance of "Tozi diven svyat" won the First Prize for a Polish Song at the Sopot International Song Festival in Poland. Finally, her song "Byala pesen" ("A White Song") won the Bulgarian "Melody of the year" TV contest in 1972, after her death.
In 1971, she was due for a flight to Algeria where she would have toured with the Sofia Orchestra and other colleagues, including well-known pop singers Mariya Neykova, Boris Gudjunov and folk music singer Yanka Rupkina. As the plane was taking off, it rapidly lost altitude, hit the ground headfirst, broke in half and its front exploded and went in flames. Pasha and Nikolay Arabadzhiev were in the front seats and did not survive (all in all 30 people were killed, including the entire crew). When Pasha died, she was carrying her second child, by Arabadzhiev. The causes of the plane crash remained unclear.
Musical style and voice
Pasha Hristova worked in different genres. Some of her songs can be described as ballads or chansons, many others are jazz and contemporary rock and roll, and she has even recorded a few folk songs. As was common among Bulgarian singers at the time, a large part of her songs were translations or broad adaptations of foreign originals.
Her singing voice was capable of varying between the powerful and the dramatic ("a voice that sweeps everything away"), on the one hand, and the gentle and the lyrical, on the other.
Her colleague, singer Mimi Ivanova, has commented that despite being a shy and delicate person in everyday life, Pasha was "a vulcan on the stage".
Singles and EPs
* 1969: "Az, ti i rozite" (You, Me and the Roses) (original unspecified, Bulgarian lyrics by Milcho Spasov) / "Shtastlivi zaedno" (Happy Together) (a Bulgarian language version of The Turtles' 1967 song Happy Together)
* 1970:"Neka tozi mig da spre" (Let This Moment Stop) (a Bulgarian language version of Dusty Springfield's 1968 song "I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten", Bulgarian lyrics by Milcho Spasov). Featuring also "Cigani" (Gypsies) (Bulgarian lyrics by Bogomil Gudev), "Znay" (I Want You To Know) (Bulgarian lyrics by Pasha Hristova) and "Ostani" (Stay) (music by Nikolay Arabadzhiev, lyrics by Dimitar Vasilev)
* 1971: "Tozi diven svyat" (This Wonderful World) (music and original lyrics by Czesław Niemen, Bulgarian lyrics by Bogomil Gudev) / "Kogato si otidesh" (When You Have Gone) (Bulgarian lyrics by Bogomil Gudev)
* 1972: "Edna balgarska roza" (A Bulgarian Rose, post-mortem)
1. "Edna balgarska roza" (A Bulgarian Rose) (music by Dimitar Valchev, lyrics by Nayden Valchev)
2. "Ostani" (Stay) (music by Nikolay Arabadzhiev, lyrics by Dimitar Vasilev)
3. "Edna godina lyubov" (A Year of Love) (original unspecified, Bulgarian lyrics by Zhiva Kyuldzhieva)
4. "Tozi diven svyat" (This Wonderful World) (music and original lyrics by Czesław Niemen, Bulgarian lyrics by Bogomil Gudev)
5. "Popaten vyatar" (Sailing with the Wind) (music by Genko Genkov, lyrics by Milcho Spasov)
6. "Znay" (I Want You To Know) (original unspecified, Bulgarian lyrics by Pasha Hristova)
7. "Shtastlivi zaedno" (Happy Together) (a Bulgarian language version of The Turtles' 1967 song Happy Together)
8. "Povei, vetre" (Blow, oh Wind) (music by Yosif Tsankov, lyrics by Dimitar Vasilev)
9. "Spri, vreme" (Stop, Time) (music by Alexander Yosifov, lyrics by Anna Georgieva)
10. "Kogato imash" (When You Have) (original unspecified, Bulgarian lyrics by Bogomil Gudev)
11. "Cyala nosht" (The Whole Night) (original unspecified, Bulgarian lyrics by Dimitar Kerelezov)
12. "Byala pesen" (A White Song) (music by Dimitar Valchev, lyrics by Petar Karaangov)
13. "Neka tozi mig da spre" (Let This Moment Stop) (a Bulgarian language version of Dusty Springfield's 1968 song "I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten", Bulgarian lyrics by Milcho Spasov).
14. "Az, ti i rozite" (You, Me and the Roses) (original unspecified, Bulgarian lyrics by Milcho Spasov)