YILDIZ IBRAHIMOVA'S THREE DECADES
Virginia Records, Universal's Bulgarian subsidiary, is ready to release a double disc of Yildiz Ibrahimova. The contents of the disc entitled 30 Years on The Stage have been selected by the singer. Although she says she made her debut with the Bulgarian radio band in Varna in 1976, the truth is that Yildiz appeared for the first time with a program in the jazz club of the Union of Musical Figures in March 1975. The concert was performed in front of a limited audience of specially invited musicians, but the fact is worth remembering, at least for its historical precision.
The jubilee disc includes 33 records that Yildiz made with various ensembles both live and in studio. The musical spectrum is extremely rich and spreads on the huge material that the singer used in various stages of her career led by her unsatiable curiosity and willingness to try herself in new fields. This is how a repertoire was made in which Bach and Bizet coexisted with Gershwin and the folklore themes (Bulgarian, Turkish and Romany) - with the free improvisation shows.
There is one more detail that needs to be precised: as a student in the Sofia Musical Academy, Yildiz appeared for the first time in the just opened jazz club of the Union of Musical Figures in the early spring of 1974. She performed two of the best known works by George Gershwin which the specialized audience in the club accepted with condescension. Still, nobody dared to deny her huge potential which she developed in the following years and which helped her establish herself on both the Bulgarian and the international stage.
It's true that she spent some time in the shadow of Kamelia Todorova who appeared sensationally and immediately became the favourite of the audience, the musical and the film circles. Even though there were obvious differences and all of them in favour of Yildiz - her academic education contrasted to Kamelia's amateur's spontaneity and her improvising abilities exceeded the modest capacity of the new star. This is why creative musicians and bands preferred to work with Yildiz Ibrahimova - Mario Stanchev, Petar Petrov from Rousse and especially Lyubomir Denev from Sofia who saw her strong features and wrote a special song for her based on American and Russian poetry. He also assisted for her first appearance on an international jazz festival - in Nis and Prague. Again, he was the one to work out with her a substantial repertoire on which Yildiz based her following concert and recording work.
Paradoxically, in the course of these three decades Bulgaria established just two female jazz singers - Yildiz Ibrahimova and Kamelia Todorova who, following her unsuccessful emigration and her second return home, made extreme efforts to build a new career. During this period Yildiz Ibrahimova did not stop searching for new territories for making music, gradually losing touch with the song repertoire traditional for the jazz and turning to ever more complicated matters.
The disgraceful change of her name to Suzana Erova during the rebirth process did not seem to affect her career - the number of her spectacles was growing and both the audience and the musicians were well-disposed to her. Nobody ever called her with her new name in person! In the late 1980s when the social atmosphere was growing ever more oppressive and the signs of cultural opposition were getting numerous, she took part in a great number of vanguard shows - from the happenings of artists from Varna to the concert drawing of Edmond Dermidzhiyan. Meanwhile, Yildiz joined the circle of Plovdiv musicians known as the Jazz Line who experimented successfully with folklore intonation and metrorhythmic material. Later came the contact with a French piano-player with whom she performed a series of concerts and recitals in many West European cities.
After setting up a family in Turkey, Yildiz became an official artist of Universal and her creative potential went to a new direction - towards the intimacy of some folklore dialects from South Bulgaria and the Anatolia. She is the most regular attendant to the international jazz festivals in Bulgaria, she makes concerts, she records and enters the unknown world of a university lecturer in Turkey. This is how a creative personality was formed with various interests and activities, with an active and constantly seeking spirit, with a broad spectrum of aesthetic passions. In the first very difficult years of Bulgaria's transition to democracy Yildiz Ibrahimova was already a leader and was permanently inviting Bulgarian musicians to work in Turkey. She thus gave them the breath of fresh air and self-confidence they needed. Many of them take part in the jubilee product 30 Years on the Stage which is to be released in Bulgaria. A series of presentations is planned to take place in the towns in which Yildiz made concerts most frequently, supported by local musicians.