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Folklife to have Bulgarian theme for 2011 festival

February 24th, 2011 by Thea

The 40th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, taking place at Seattle Center over Memorial Day weekend from May 27 to 30, will have a special Bulgarian theme this year.

The organization chose Bulgaria for its cultural focus due to the large and growing Bulgarian community here in the Pacific Northwest. From Folklife:

The Bulgarian community is a growing part of the Balkan community in the Pacific Northwest, numbering around five thousand in the Seattle area alone.

In addition to the festival’s regular events (check out the full schedule here), the special programming this year will include a Bulgarian Community Celebration with a number of exhibits, talks and activities surrounding the region, peoples and culture. From Folklife:

The Bulgarian Community Celebration will include an exhibit of photographs taken in Bulgaria in the 1960s and 1970s; an afternoon concert by renowned traditional Bulgarian performers; a participatory dance featuring local Balkan and Bulgarian dance bands; as well as workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and children’s activities.

The photographs, Voices & Images from Bulgaria, 1966-1979, were taken by Martin Koenig, who first went to Bulgaria over forty years ago with a letter of introduction from Margaret Mead. He was initiated into the world of Bulgarian dance, began traveling to festivals and villages, and quickly realized that he was documenting a traditional agrarian culture that was undergoing radical industrial change. His images, and the text describing them, reveal a life that no longer exists. An exhibit catalog will be available for sale, and Koenig will give scheduled gallery talks during the Festival as well as participate in discussions of his fieldwork on the Narrative Stage.

Find more information on the events, exhibits and activities planned during the Bulgarian Community Celebration here.

For more details about the 2011 festival, check out Folklife’s new website. If you’re a teen or young adult artists interested in submitting your work to be featured in a collaborative show at the Ver(A)rt Gallery during the Folklife Festival this year, you can find details on how to apply (deadline is March 20) here.

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