Ivo Papasov

"Ivo's wedding music, played first thing in the morning, provides thorough and long-lasting attitude adjustment for the busy executive". Frank Zappa.

Known by his fans around the world as The King Of Wedding Band Music, Bulgarian music legend Ivo Papasov is a master of the Balkan clarinet. His extraordinarily virtuosic playing style has to be seen to be believed and his fiery concerts blending Bulgarian and Balkan folk with contemporary have been acclaimed throughout the world.

Ivo was born in Kurdzhali in south-central Bulgaria in 1952 into a Turkish family. He was just nine years old when started to play the accordion then, following the family tradition, the clarinet, teaching himself to such a level that his impressed father and musician colleagues sent him to study with the clarinetist Peter Filipov. But his real schooling turned out to be the multitude of weddings that Ivo attended with his father, and where he mastered his instrument and developed his virtuoso technique.

In 1974 Ivo formed his Trakija band and so began a revolution in Balkan music. Starting with a purely traditional repertoire, it gradually incorporated more and more improvisation and a diversity of styles. This was the beginning of a new movement that would later be known as wedding band music. In 1982, because of his Turkish origins and his popularity among Bulgaria?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Turkish population, Ivo was sent to work in a labour camp. On his release Ivo became a celebrity among Bulgarian students and intellectuals, who found in his music the freedom that was lacking in official Bulgarian culture.

It was record producer Joe Boyd who first introduced Ivo to audiences outside Bulgaria. Their meeting in Bulgaria during the 80s led to two albums, Orpheus Ascending (1989) and Balkanology (1991), released internationally by Hannibal Records and produced by Joe Boyd. Live tours followed in the USA, Canada and Britain, and over the next 10 years Ivo worked on joint projects with many international artists including, Johnny Griffin, Hector Zazou, Kalman Baolgh and Sergei Starostin.

In 2005 Ivo received the BBC Radio 3 World Music Audience Award and brought the house down at the awards ceremony with an unrehearsed demonstration of virtuosic clarinet playing. This return to fom and the exposure that followed led to a recording contract with World Village/Harmonia Mundi and an impressive new album, Dance Of The Falcon released in 2008. As ever Ivo's style is beyond categorization: there are elements of the potent jazz, funk and world music fusions and more traditional elements.

"...inventive, virtuosic and constantly changing blend of traditional styles and jazz improvisation..." The Guardian

"some of the most nimble and virtuoso music you'll encounter anywhere in the world." Songlines

We administer music publishing rights for Ivo Papasov worldwide