Fronted by "one of the most exciting voices in the New York global music scene" (World Music Central), Balkan Tales brings modern soul to the Balkan diaspora. Reaching far and wide for its tales, the group’s repertoire stretches from Tomova’s native Bulgaria to the rest of the Balkans to the Middle East, with flavors of India and Sephardic Spain, recalling Bulgaria’s cultural origins shaped by ancient migrations.
Conceived while Tomova was still a student, Balkan Tales was inspired by the daily exchange of stories, songs and experiences with colleagues and friends from around the world in the multi-cultural beehive of Berklee College of Music.
The group’s critically acclaimed album Balkan Tales, hailed by The Boston Globe for its "haunting, otherworldly energy" and NY Music Daily as "a rich, intense treat, all the way through" was released in 2011 by leading Bulgarian label Kuker Music. Following the release, Balkan Tales performed a series of memorable concerts with special guest Bulgarian kaval virtuoso Theodosii Spassov.
Tomava has now opened a new creative page by writing and performing her original songs. Audiences from Sofia to New York to Havana have enthusiastically embraced premieres of the work. An album of her original songs is forthcoming in 2019.
Tomova and Balkan Tales have appeared at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (New York), Carnegie’s Zankel Hall (New York), Chicago World Music Festival, Toronto’s Small World Festival, Havana World Music (Cuba), and the National Palace of Culture and Bulgarian National Radio Hall (Bulgaria), to name a few.
Vlada Tomova’s Balkan Tales weaves together folk songs and sensibilities from Bulgaria, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East into a contemporary acoustic sound, while illuminating the connection between traditions.
Tomova, known for her "phenomenal acrobatic vocalizations" (Boston Globe), joins forces with an international ensemble extraordinaire to bring a superb array of textures and moods to the stage. Their reinterpretations of ancient songs tell old-time tales of sweet or forbidden love, horses and wild mountains, potent wine, pepper planting, the moon holding secrets, and the sun falling in love with a beautiful girl and her song. Joyous, mysterious, mournful, exuberant, mesmerizing melodies; rich, unusual harmonies; and peculiar, odd rhythms come together to shimmer, intrigue, and delight the ear. Balkan Tales channels the joy that helps keep all great folk traditions alive.