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A LEGEND FROM PODUENE

Vasko the Patch (Vasil Georgiev) opened his eyes upon the light of this world in 1959. His sign of the zodiac is Gemini. The first instrument he learned to play on the benches in parks was the guitar. But drums were his love. In 1975 when he was a schoolboy he played in his first group, called Stars. Their base drum was a tin of paint and their tom-tom drum was an empty pot. In 1977 Vasko finished the Autotransport Technical School.
When he left the army he worked as a car mechanic of taxis at day time and in the evening he played drums in pubs. He wanted to save money to go abroad to buy "cool" drums. He played with the Universe trio in Norway for five months and in Denmark for a month, where he got to know blues was the kind of music he loved. One of the reasons was the hippie commune Christiania. He bought the drums he had been dreaming of - "Tama". He came back to Bulgaria to play rock and that was the beginning of... great "hunger". Recording studios were almost inaccessible. (Except for the people from the music mafia - this unbreakable wall - who got big money from authorship.) He played in different groups. When he was with Airo band, they made a small record. And then one of his dreams came true - he started to work with Parallel 42 rock group.

But there was a long way to go before he could form a blues band because singing social songs was not allowed by the music commissions. And blues is the music of the poor and the underprivileged. Songs express social protest and striving for freedom. This proves that there is humanity even in greatest misery.

In 1986 Vasko had the chance to start work with Start and Mimi Ivanova. Their "boss" Razvigor Popov let them perform freely on concerts. They toured the country. That was an opportunity to get to know the audience and the branch.

When wind of change started to blow from the north and people began to found different organisations, Vasko made up his mind to make an "informal group" to play the music he loved. So Poduene Blues Band's date of birth is September 1989.

Here are some things Vasko's friends from the band said about him:
Vladimir Stoyanov (harmonica): "We've grown up together. He's very easy-going. He's self-ironic. We started to like blues after the film "The Bold Dog".
Kiril Georgiev (drums): "He's a good man. He's good at communicating with people. He helps me because he's a wonderful drummer."
Nikola Dragnev (solo-guitar): "Vasko writes the lyrics and the music is based on the blues-scheme. We have often rehearsed on the phone."
Veselin Ivanov (base-guitar): "It's hard to find blues musicians here. And the blues-scheme in music is like "A" in the alphabet. But you can't earn money from blues only. We play for pleasure, which has nothing to do with business."

Although he is busy, Vasko dedicated some time to "Tempo-express" readers with pleasure.

"How do you write the songs for Poduene Blues Band?'
"I don't compose. I find them somewhere inside me. I sing about what I feel. That's how the songs "Beaurocrat", "Sunny Beach Blues", "Communism Is Going Away" were created."

"Is there anything you can't forgive yourself you did before 10 November?"
"That I played a few times and it wasn't live, which is offensive to the audience. And that I was afraid and I... survived. Sweet Sasho wasn't afraid and he was killed in a concentration camp. But I was a pawn in this bloody game. But I don't feel like talking about this. I feel like singing.

"In the last few months you have been singing more in front of thousands of people on demonstrations than in concert halls."
"I'm a man from the street and I will always be part of it. I feel like singing on stage as much as I feel like marching in the streets with people. That's why the thing I'll remember from demonstration will be people's awakening, not my performance."

"Your most faithful audience?"
"No doubt – the hippies. And lots of "blue grannies" like me too. But I want the audience to lead me, not the other way round."

"But other "grannies against violence" want you to leave the country in order to sing "there".
"Who cares?"

...

"And what is the latest news about your lovers?
"I wish to say I have only one lover on Earth and I owe everything to her. Her name is Elena and she... has been my wife for six years. I love my daughter Vasilena and my son Boyan too."

"Where do you find those patched jeans?"
"On the junk market. I have no money for new ones."

"When would you put on a suit and a tie to sing?"
"I wore jeans even at my wedding. Clothes are of no interest to me."

"Your band has already realized the first successful concert at... a circus in Sofia. What do you wish to happen to Poduene Blues Band in 1991?"
"To see the moment when the audience will decide who will play on stage and who will not."

Legends are told about him in spite of his youth. I hope you, my reader, have felt the truth about "the bard of the street" too.

Valentin Hetimov, "Express", 16 January 1991

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