Traditional Bulgarian music by the best! 


Come hear and dance (on a wooden floor!) to this fabulous group in Pittsburgh on Friday, October 9, 2009.  Location is the Friends Meeting House at 4836 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Start time is 8 pm.  $12 at the door.  Refreshments will be served.





Nikolay Kolev - gadulka

Vladimir Mollov - accordion

Stoyan Kostov - tambura

Jordan Scannella - bass

Donka and Maria Koleva – vocals


























Nikolay Kolev is a famous Gadulka virtuoso from the village Karavelovo in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria. After graduating from Shiroka Luka High School, he performed with the Sliven Ensemble for three years. In 1984, he founded the orchestra Sopot. In the same year, he started the wedding band "Rozova Dolina" which became one of the most sought-after groups in Thrace. In 1992, he also founded "Balkanski Glasove"--the singing group which took first place at the Varna Festival in 1994 and 1995. Nikolay is also an accomplished composer and arranger of folk songs. His compositions have been performed by such well known singers as Roumen Rodopski, Savka Sarieva, Donka Koleva and others. Nikolay Kolev has taught at the EEFC Balkan Camps on both coasts, and has an adoring cadre of private students. In 1999, Nikolay Kolev was the first Bulgarian to be recognized by the Slavic Heritage Council of America for his outstanding contributions in music.


Vladimir Mollov, accordionist extraordinaire, was born to a family of self-taught wedding musicians, Vladimir was inspired by the sounds of the accordion since   early childhood.  Even at one-and-a-half years old he “played” his little accordion alongside his father at weddings.  At the age of seven he started taking accordion lessons with the nationally recognized pedagogue Nadejda Nicheva in Kazanluk, Bulgaria.  At his later stages of musical development he studied with Peter Marinov, who is a professor in the National Music Academy, Hristina Danova, who is a worldwide recognized accordion artist; and Nedelcho Dimitrov, who is a laureate of national and international accordion festivals and competitions.  At the age of thirteen he participated in an accordion competition in Vladivostok, Russia and placed fourth.  At the age of fifteen he placed first in the International Competition for Accordion and Guitar in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria; received fourth place in the World Accordion Competition in Castelfidardo, Italy; placed second in the national accordion competition in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where he received a special award for virtuosic performance of folk music.  During his senior year in high school he received a first award in the national competition for variety music and jazz on accordion in Novi Pazar, Bulgaria.  During 2002 he joined the Duquesne University Tamburitzans and for the four years when he was a student in the university he performed over three hundred and fifty shows with the ensemble.  He also arranged music for some of the dances and as I      instrumental numbers on the shows, fulfilled the position of a combo leader and performed a solo piece on every show.    Vladimir has a solo accordion album featuring folklore, jazz and some new experimental fusion styles.




Stoyan Kostov, tambura, is a professional musician from Bulgaria. He graduated from the folk music school in Kotel and the Plovdiv Academy of Music and     Dance.  Stoyan performed with Ensemble Trakiya, Harmanliska Troika and the Ograzhden ensemble in Sandanski, where he also directed the N. Vaptsarov Folk Ensemble.  He currently teaches at the Balkan Music and Dance workshops sponsored by the East European Folklife Center and has private students as well.





Jordan Scannella, an extraordinaire bass player, began his musical journey on piano at age eight. At the age 14, he discovered the bass while attending the School for Creative and Performing Arts in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Nourished with a steady diet of everything from jazz to classical music, Jordan received a scholarship to further his musical growth at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where he studied performance, composition and music production. Jordan is currently a busy performer, writer and teacher in the NJ/ NYC area. Versed in many musical forms and settings, his playing has allowed him to travel and tour in France, Mexico, China, Japan and Bulgaria.




Donka Koleva is a vocalist prized for her rich, clear and melodic voice. Also a graduate of the Folklore High School in Shiroka Luka, she worked as a soloist with the Sliven Ensemble for three years. She then directed the chorus of the Sopot Ensemble, and soloed with the wedding band "Rozova Dolina".  In 1994, Donka started recording with the National Radio and Television in Bulgaria. In 1997, her recording of "Javore" was song of the year. Since she moved to U.S. in 1995, she has taught traditional and arranged songs from Thrace region at Balkan camps on the West and East coasts and has given many workshops and private lessons across United States and Canada with well-known singing groups as "Kitka", "Planina", "Chubritsa", "Mila" and many other.  She, along with her daughter Maria, was featured in the “Everything is illuminated” soundtrack.







Songstress Maria Koleva, daughter of Nikolay and Donka, is also a graduate of the Shiroka Luka Folklore School, and a fine singer in her own right, has recorded with the National Radio in Bulgaria. She started singing at the age of 10, always being closely related to the music and folk traditions of her region and country. Her first stage appearance took place in 1993 at the Rose Festival in Karlovo. While studying at the Shiroka Luka High School of Folk Music she received honors and musical awards including top prizes at the Teen Folk Music Festival at Albena, as well as recognition at the Chirpan and Plovdiv Music Festivals in 1996 and 1997.   She has toured the USA and Canada twice, performing intensively at festivals, concerts and summer camps. She has also been performing with the Kolev Family Ensemble "Balkan Voices" for the last 6 years. She is currently residing in New York City performing with Ivan Milev's "Balkan Band". Maria Koleva has been recognized for her great expressive singing and truly melodic and rich tone. Although she sings the traditional music of many Bulgarian regions, she is most celebrated for her stunning performance of Thracian songs.