The music camp ETHNO for the first time in Bulgaria
The music camp ETHNO for the first time in Bulgaria


ETHNO is an international program for folk and traditional music from around the world that works with young musicians aged 16-30. Founded in 1990 in Falun, Sweden, ETHNO’s mission is to revive, strengthen and spread our global traditional musical heritage. Today, ETNO is represented in over 40 countries by holding a series of annual international music camps, seminars and concerts that embrace peace, tolerance and understanding.

ETHNO is a program of Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI), the world’s largest youth music non-governmental organization based in Brussels, Belgium. JMI reaches over 6 million youth from 80 countries through more than 40,000 activities annually.

During ETNO events, everyone has the opportunity to learn new music – sometimes around 15-20 tunes are taught and performed, many more are shared in impromptu jam sessions. ETHNO concludes with a series of concerts where participants present their work during the workshop. The program of these final concerts is always very rich in interesting arrangements, virtuoso performances and a lot of positivity

“The Composers hut” – Vitosha / Photo credit: Pierre Chesneau

The first edition of the festival took place for the first time in Bulgaria between August 31st and September 11th this year in Vitosha mountain, Sofia at the small and beautiful hut – “The Composers”. Eight from the days of the camp were determined for rehearsals and preparation for the upcoming concerts at the and of the fest. In this year’s edition of ETHNO, musicians from over 10 countries and 4 continents played together, exchanged invaluable experience and shared positive emotions.

Photo credit: Pierre Chesnea

Each of them contributed for the enrichment of the repertoire in the camp and teached the group to a tune from his own traditional music.

The participants had the opportunity to “touch” the folk music of many and diverse countries such as Finland, Turkey, New Zealand, Belgium and many more.
At the end of the camp the native citizens and also foreigners during the summer season in Sofia also enjoyed the musical pieces, thanks to the three final concerts – at the “The Cоmposers hut”, in German village, and Kino Kabana.

Neli Andreeva’s workshop during ETHNO Bulgaria 2023 / Photo credit: Pierre Chesneau

During these eight days the participans also had the chance to enjoy and learn from the work and professionalism of the Bulgarian folk singer Neli Andreeva, through the workshop she conducted.
One of the artistic mentors at ETHNO Bulgaria ths year – the talented kaval player and composer – Zhivko Vasilev (Bulgaria) extremely contributed for uniqueness of the musical camp, through the concert of his own folk quintet at Kino Kabana. He also made an incredible effort to arrange all of the compositions during the camp and leaded successfully the whole process.

Zhivko Vasilev Folk Quintet в Кино Кабана, по време на ETHNO Bulgaria 2023

The second artistic mentor Vilma Talvitie (Finland), showed exceptional professionalism and dedication, both during the camp and final concerts. The specific feature of the talented finish musician is the great skill of singing, playing the piano and playing percussion, simultaneously and  in a unique symbiosis, which brings joy and delight to every listener.
The participants were fascinated by the walks around the capital, fresh air and beautiful nature in Vitosha mountain.
The music camp even contributed to the kindling of passions between two of the participants and the first “ETHNO Bulgaria” love was born. The amazing and memorable moments during the camp and final concerts were captured by the talented photographer and videographer Pierre Chesneau, who did both an amazing photos and great after movie.
All the photos you can find on ETHNO Bulgaria‘s Facebook page. The after film Pierre created for the camp you can find at the end of the article. The last concert in Kino Kabana was streamed live and you can find it here.

Ethno Bulgaria is managed by Outhentic Foundation and the first edition of the musical camp was implemented with the financial support of National Culture Fund, BulgariaSofia MunicipalityMusicautor and Ethno World, JM International, as well as Bulgarian National Radio as media partners.

For up-to-date information about the festival, you can follow  ETHNO Bulgaria on Facebook and Instagram.