Performance - Workshops - Presentation - Lectures
GUNDULA STOJANOVA GRUEN is a virtuoso violinist and singer who has travelled extensively, transcribing melodies that she learned first-hand from Romani and folk musicians. Described by Songlines Magazine as ‘a shining star in the UK’s Balkan music scene’, her unique performance style showcases a technical ability acquired through intensive conservatoire training as well as a colourful and charismatic personality. Her arrangements and compositions, whilst drawing influence from her love and extensive knowledge of Romany Gypsy music, are original and highly personal.
Currently, Gundula just finished a Master degree course in Ethnomusicology at City University London. Her research focussed on Macedonian music. This project is based on her research results and music discoveries during the fieldwork for her special project (read the essay here) and the preparation for the Master Thesis. Read more...
“Bavarian-born violinist Gundula could well have been raised in the Balkans, for her playing imparts the true soul of Gypsy music, full of colour and passion, an explosion of energy…” Vesti News, Serbian diaspora newspaper.
LINDA GJORGEVA TOTEVA was given a Roma and Traveller’s soul by birth, and a dancing soul into her cradle. Her mum is a Roma from Blagojevgrad, a town on the Macedonian-Bulgarian border and her dad is an Irish Traveller. Linda herself was born in Sofia in Bulgaria. Due to her dad’s job, they moved around Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gaza and Germany, where she picked up the traditional dance styles as they went along. Her uncle (her mum’s brother, from a Roma blacksmith tradition), who worked a knife-sharpener and antique trader, took her regularly back to the Balkans, where she danced in Restaurants from the age of 5, whilst her uncle collected money in his shoe.
Her stay in Egypt and Saudi Arabia inspired her to study belly dance. She also trained in a variety of other styles including contemporary and Street dance, Bulgarian and Irish folk dance; from Cid Chana, she learned Indian Katak dance and Bollywood. Nowadays, Linda works as dancer, specialised in Roma, Middle Eastern and Balkan styles, as jewellery designer and tutor for jewellery making at Greenwich College, and as Belly dance instructor in Tower Hamlets.
“When I say to people I travelled as a kid they’re always ‘Wow, that’s so exciting’ but really I didn’t have many friends; it was very lonely. I didn’t really know what was going to happen from one minute to the next. I wanted to be normal like other kids, be in school and stay home for Christmas. That’s the downside, but on the other hand I think it’s made me the person I am today, it’s been interesting. It’s made me take risks and be more culturally aware of everything I do. It’s all part of what I’ve grown up with”.
TATCHO DROM are considered one of the UK’s leading exponents of Romany Gypsy music. Their name translates to ‘True Journey’ from Rromanes, the language of Romany Gypsies. The quintet's broad repertoire includes traditional music from across Eastern Europe and the Balkans as well as band leader's Gundula’s own original compositions.
Inspired by the charisma of Esma Redžepova, the virtuosity of Taraf de Haïdouks, the elegance of Vivaldi and the humour of Emir Kusturica, Tatcho Drom stage ‘A Gypsy consommé with a satanic pulse’ (Froots Magazine), a vibrant show of beautiful melodies and dancing rhythms from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. To find out more make sure to visit their website.