Alexandra Georgieva is a folk singer and gadulka player who has won various music competitions for both singing and instrumental music. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Apostol (Toli) Georgiev was born and raised in a family of professional musicians, playing gaida (bagpipe), piano, clarinet and saxophone. He graduated the National school of music in Shiroka Luka, Bulgaria and received a Bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine arts in Plovdiv. Winning many instrumental competitions and participating in the world-famous ensemble “Dragostinfolk”, he became renowned in the folk society in Bulgaria. He also started composing at an early age and some of his music pieces were performed by the Academic orchestra in the Music academy in Plovdiv.
Nikolay Gueorguiev is a native of Silistra, Bulgaria and was born into a family of musicians. His father was a maker of musical instruments and his brother is a renowned accordionist. At the age of 6 he began his formal musical studies at the local music school, taking gadulka, accordion, music theory, and music history. The following year started performing with “Dobrudjanche”, a children’s folk ensemble (where he later returned as a teacher). His secondary musical studies were in the national school for folk music ”Filip Kutev”. After concluding his studies at the university “Konstantin Preslavski” (where he studied musical pedagogy), Nikolay continued as an active performer in concerts, TV, radio shows, festivals, and recordings with various groups. At the same time he was an active teacher of Bulgarian folk music classes, chamber music, and gadulka at a secondary school for music, cultural community center, and children’s ensembles “Grebentzi” and “Dobrudjanche”. He later became Concert Master of the state ensemble “Silistra”. Since immigrating to the United States, he has been actively involved with Ethnic Dance Theatre, “Mila” vocal ensemble, and as a co-founder of “Traki” group.
Originally a classically trained pianist, Eric Ray has pursued both classical as well as numerous folk genres of accordion performance, having received instruction from such renowned performers as Dee Langley, Vladimir Mollov, Peggy Müller, Viatcheslav Semionov, Joe Smiell, and numerous others. He performs regularly on three classes of free reed instruments, including piano accordion, Russian chromatic accordion (Bayan), as well as Austrian diatonic button accordion (Steirische Harmonika). Eric’s performance highlights include appearances with the 2006-2007 MMEA All-State Orchestra, Flying Foot Forum, Ethnic Dance Theatre Folk Orchestra, Szászka, Orkestar Bez Ime, as well as Traki and Mila Vocal Ensemble. As a performer of folk music, Eric specializes in the performance idioms of upper Bavarian and Austrian folk music, as well as those of Balkan and eastern European styles of accordion performance.
Natalie Nowytski is a classically trained village singer, composer, multi-faceted performer, and educator specializing in traditional Eastern European vocal styling. She sings in more than 50 languages and over a dozen unique vocal styles. She has performed with folk luminaries across the US, Bulgaria, France, Czech Republic, and Serbia and has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. US-based highlights include performances with Peter Ostroushko, Ruth MacKenzie, Orkestar Bez Ime, Mila Vocal Ensemble, Traki, The Rose Ensemble, Flying Foot Forum, Ethnic Dance Theatre, Százska, Ukrainian Village Band, Country Roads, and others. Natalie has received performance and composition awards from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, American Composers Forum, SAGE Awards, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Her website is natalien.com.