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American Folklife Center Collections: Bulgaria

This guide provides access to ethnographic resources documenting Bulgarian expressive culture in Bulgaria and the United States in the collections of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.


"Voyager Golden Record," Alan Lomax Collection (AFC 2004/004). Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center Bulgarian collections document the diversity of this nation's expressive culture at home and in the diaspora. Among its unique collections are the Martha Forsyth collection of traditional singing made in Bulgaria during the 1970s and 1980s, and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance collection, which featured Bulgarian and Bulgarian-American musicians in New York.

Perhaps the most famous Bulgarian recording in the Center is Valya Balkanska's version of "Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin," recorded in 1968 by Ethel Raim and Martin Koenig, who were studying dance traditions in Bulgaria. This recording was later included on a gold-plated disc affixed to the two unmanned Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, the "Voyager Golden Records." The original recording is part of the Martin Koenig Collection (AFC 2021/005), recently acquired by the American Folklife Center. Astronomer Carl Sagan and ethnographer Alan Lomax were tasked making the track list of representative music and language from around the world. Read more about this in "Alan Lomax and the Voyager Golden Records" in Bertram Lyons' January 30, 2014, Folklife Today blogpost.

Collections of Interest

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

Public Programming

Turkish and Bulgarian vocalists and instrumentalists Tzvety Weiner, Valeri Georgiev & Varol Saatcioglu share their traditional music.