Belonoga: Through the Eyes of the Sun

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Through the Eyes of the Sun
Elen Music (

Belonoga is the stage name of Gergana Dimitrova, one of the star singers of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares and more recently with the Eva Quartet. Her work with the latter can be heard on the monumental The Arch, the sessions which inspired Dimitrova to bring the current solo project to fruition. The results of her labors have been faithfully documented on Through the Eyes of the Sun, for which Dimitrova searched deep to reawaken her vocal soul. Recorded over a four-year period, it pools her knowledge of Aboriginal, Pygmy, and Bulgarian musical heritages, and with the able assistance of percussionist Vangelis Karipis, kaval virtuoso Kostadin Genchev, accordionist Dimitar Tishev, oudist Haig Yazdjian, saxophonist Anatoly Vapirov, Violeta Petkova on rebec, and Alex Nushev at the mixing board, she forges terrain at once organic and meticulous.

The sun of the album's title is Dimitrova's voice. Earthy, precise, and speckled with the characteristic ululations of her heritage, it emerges clothed in electronic processing. Despite the digital enhancements, her voice never strays from its immediacy, never undermines the lessons of its wayfaring. As the twittering of “Salikh, from the Mountains” graces the ear, it is clear that landscape has played an important role in the growth of this music. Not only because its melodies are drawn from various geographic locales in Bulgaria and beyond, but also because its textures bespeak an environmental cause. The processed voice becomes its own entity and shares breathing room with kaval, their marriage like mountains: a fusion of groundedness and skyward pointing. Their repeated motifs come as a comfort, the cycle of life made audible.

"Salikh, from the Mountains"

“Gypsy Sketches” extends this emotional journey. Blending plains rhythms and oud, its underlying pulse glows like light through a prism. Rebec, accordion, and percussion leave their footprints across the canvas, echoing throughout the rest of the album.

"Gypsy Sketches"

From the wayworn suspensions of “A Song in the Dark (A Path Within)” and “A Wedding at the Camel Caravan” to the soothsaying of “A Woman without Shadow” and the title track, Dimitrova attends to details both obvious and less so. Whether surrounded in a bevy of plectrums and beats or floating on waves of applied reverb, she traces a star's path, horizon to horizon, in time-lapse sonography, her tailwind giving purchase to unwritten stories. Of those stories we get glimpses in songs like “Tsveta's Magics,” which welcomes the dawn in a surge of light, and in “Kunga,” which from elemental beginnings summons a savannah's worth of hunting. “Shopski Yenge” is less about text than context as it plies the ether for sonic riches.


Through the Eyes of the Sun is a mirage that only grows more solid with approach. When listening to it, it's difficult to tell whether one is waking up from a dream or falling into one. Dimitrova's singing carries with it vestiges of something now lost in a sullied world. There is something, then, almost postapocalyptic about the music, as if it were an echo of a better time. It holds fast to hope of its own accord and brings the omen back to us. Like the ceramic tile glued into the CD's foldout case, it leaves no mystery as to its origins. From dust to dust, it forms and dissipates. - Tyran Grillo

Further reading: Eva Quartet & Hector Zazou: The Arch

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