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  • Martin Bodourov: Palette of moods with trumpet's melody lines

    Kristina Dencheva
    13 April, 2023

    He is young, energetic, and full of desire to create new projects where the sound of the trumpet adds sparkle and light. He is interested in everything latest on the European and world stage related to his favorite instrument. And almost by chance, he received the fulfillment of a dream as a birthday present: participation in a masterclass feat. Tero Lindberg, Finland’s Golden Trumpet. Martin Bodourov is our new guest in “Brass Stories”… 

    How and when did the trumpet come into your life?
    Almost no one knows that the trumpet was not my first love. From a very young age, I had a crush on music. I was 8 years old when I was accepted into the Sofia Boys’ Choir (only 19 out of 200 children were selected). There I learned to love music, to respect it, and treat everything related to it with due responsibility. At the end of the 6th grade, I went for a consultation at the Lubomir Pipkov National Music School. There, they recommended that I consider learning a brass instrument. Alex Vitkov (a friend from the choir who already played trumpet) invited me to listen to a lesson in prof. Anguel Makedonski’s class, and there the magic happened. And so, ever since 2013, I still get excited when I hear the ringing sound of the trumpet.

    Musicians who have had the biggest impact on you so far?
    First and foremost, it's my teachers. I started playing the trumpet when I was 13 years old. I am extremely grateful to prof. Angel Makedonski for the lessons and for placing the trumpet in my hands. My chamber music teacher was also my mentor, a friend I could rely on, the trombone player Stanislav Pochekanski. At the National Music Academy, I was in the class of Mihail Yossifov. For me, he embodies not only an excellent professional but also a nice and cool person. He taught us about attitude towards work and colleagues, and above all, work ethic. 

    During my time in the academy, I attended masterclasses and workshops by Vicente Campos (teacher of Rubén Simeó), Christian Scott (Grammy Award winner), Wim van Hasselt (professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and the Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway), Michael Mossman (professor at Quincy College, Juilliard School), and the BRASS of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. They have all left a lasting impression and taught me a lot.

    Brass musicians from the global stage of the 20th and 21st centuries whom you admire?
    A short list would have probably looked something like this: Mihail Yossifov, Miroslav Petkov, Ibrahim Maalouf, Arturo Sandoval, Adam Rapa, Roy Hargrove, Canadian Brass, Marko Markovic, Wynton Marsalis, Louis Armstrong.
    They inspire me as a trumpeter – some with their mastery of the instrument, others with their approach to music and the expressiveness they bring. I remember how, when we were students, my friends and I would read those famous “12 Tips on How to Practice” by Wynton Marsalis and try to memorize as many of them as possible. It’s been proven that listening to Louis Armstrong increases the level of endorphins in our bodies, making us happier, and I often use this therapeutic effect. Armstrong, for me, is an example that music truly has the power to change people. 

    Trumpeters you’d like to meet or get on stage with?
    I have tremendous respect for Ibrahim Maalouf, he’s definitely one of the trumpeters I’d love to share a stage with. His music is highly impactful. I had the opportunity to attend one of his concerts in a huge hall in Paris in front of 15,000 people. During the concert, he managed to make me both happy and moved to tears. I admire his connection with the audience and his marketing approach.

    Music projects you’re currently putting your heart into?
    Ethnic Palette, Elena Sirakova, Miro, Nikolaos Tsitiridis’s Show, SoulBmoll.

    Let’s talk about the SoulBmoll band. Your third album premiered in March 2023.
    SoulBmoll has always been a school for me. I learn a lot every time I meet these talented colleagues. The band plays funk, and with our third album, we dedicate all our energy to making our interpretation of this style. The album is called “The Funk Hurricane.” In 8 songs, we’ve created a real hurricane of groove, harmonies, brass, and vocals.  

    Ethnic Palette is a project with huge potential not only as music but as a socially committed cause – please introduce the project to us.
    Ethnic Palette is a platform where our goal is to acquaint the audience with the richness and diversity of ethnic groups in Bulgaria. With the support by the National Fund of Culture of Bulgaria, we have created a website and a YouTube channel where we publish video interviews with representatives of various ethnic groups. Our guests share their perspective on being Bulgarian citizens of different ethnicities living in Bulgaria in the 21st century.

    "Ibish Aga" - music and lyrics by DIA, performed by DIA, Chergar band and Teodosii Spasov (kaval)

    It’s an exceptional honor for me to be responsible for the musical aspect of the project, to become acquainted with the music of so many ethnicities. We record a special soundtrack for each video interview. Our goal is to preserve the traditional melodies of the respective ethnic group while arranging them in our preferred styles: jazz, pop, and rock. We have our band called “Chergar.” It’s an honor for us that with Ethnic Palette, we received support from Teodosii Spasov, who recorded an incredibly beautiful solo in the song “Ibish Aga,” as well as from the talented Dia, who became one of the highlights of the project by allowing us to rearrange her original music for joint performances. Stay tuned for more new things to come from Ethnic Palette and the Chergar band!

    Let’s get back to the trumpet. At least half a year before we held the 2023 Trumpet Masterclass, I discovered that you too are a fan of Tero Lindberg...
    Tero Lindberg is amazing. I’ve been following his performances for a long time. He’s familiar to me from trumpet enthusiasts’ websites where they regularly post videos of him playing with superb virtuosity and rare ease. This was definitely one of the masterclasses I’ve attended and will remember forever. Tero is an exceptional professional, educator, and above all, a super cool person. We learned a lot. He showed us techniques that the best trumpet players use and gave us the methodology to apply what we learned in our daily practice. Besides him, Mihail Yossifov, Georgi Velev, and Ivo Kazasov were an integral part of the master classes – it was a privilege for us. Through them, I learned a lot not only about trumpet playing but also about the art of living. It was interesting and pleasant to meet many younger trumpeters than me who were at the master class, and I was delighted to discover that they are exceptionally talented and responsible.

    I think that as musicians, we often ignite our passion for our instruments because of someone we’ve heard. Having the opportunity to meet such performers up close is an exceptional advantage. So, as an actively performing musician in Bulgaria, I am infinitely grateful for the opportunities provided.

    International Masterclass for trumpet and brass ensembles feat. Tero Lindberg (Finland). Martin Bodurov and the youngster Pavel Petkov at the final concert on 25.03.2023 at the Big hall of the National Music Academy "Prof. P. Vladigerov". Photo courtesy of Neli Kurteva

    Have you thought about seeking a place on the European brass scene?
    We live in an age of globalization, and the internet gives us the opportunity to reach an audience anywhere. Our priority with Ethnic Palette and Chergar is to take our product beyond borders. Today, it is very easy to lose our authenticity. Cultural projects like this support our society as well as various communities on an international level by enriching them culturally and promoting tolerance.

    The online presence of musicians on networks and platforms?
    Social media is a great asset for us, artists. Now more than ever, it’s easier to find the right people for what you do, whether you’re a producer or an artist. It’s a matter of personal initiative and desire for development.

    Solo career? Or perhaps an album?
    I’ll quote Velislav Stoyanov, who says that we never play alone. Even when there’s no one else on stage, we interact with the acoustics of the room, with the rhythm and intonation.

    International Masterclass for trumpet and brass ensembles feat. Tero Lindberg (Finland). The final concert on 25.03.2023 at the Big hall of the National Music Academy "Prof. P. Vladigerov". Photo courtesy of Neli Kurteva

    And here we are at the blitz finale of this interview – with 5 questions and 5 brief answers
    Who is trumpeter Martin in three words?
    Optimistic, driven, music-loving.

    Is there something you tell yourself at the start of each day?
    Thank you. I say it every night before I fall asleep and every morning after I wake up. I think it’s an incredibly powerful focus-shifting tool.

    Favorite piece you can listen to endlessly?
    I can listen to Ibrahim Maalouf’s music for hours, so it will be something of his.

    The future of popular music?
    I hope my name is in the answer.

    How do you see yourself in 10 years?
    Creative, happy, loving.

    This interview is available in Bulgarian and in Dutch

    The BRASS STORIES Project is supported by the
    National Culture Fund of the Republic of Bulgaria

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    Atanas Karafezliev

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