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Popular Music in Communist and Post-Communist Europe

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Edited By Jan Blüml, Yvetta Kajanová and Rüdiger Ritter

Through selected topics, the book presents an up-to-date and comprehensive view of the popular music of communist and post-communist Europe. The studies introduce new sources, discuss transformations of the institutional background of popular music of the given geopolitical sphere, its social, cultural-political, or artistic conditions. Thanks to the time span of nearly thirty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the authors have in many ways revised or supplemented traditional post-communist perceptions of the issues in question. This is being done with respect to the genres such as jazz, rock, pop, singer-songwriters, hip-hop, or White Power Music, as well as across the whole region from the former Yugoslavia through Central European states to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

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Inventing Bulgarian Estrada Music: Concepts, Institutions and Practice (1950s–1970s)

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Abstract: Since the late 1940s, musical production and performance in Bulgaria experienced a strong centralization within some state-controlled and state-funded institutions. Meanwhile, mass urbanization changed the cultural profile of the society from a predominantly rural into an urban lifestyle, provoking the outburst of new dynamic tastes in entertainment and music. The development of a new semi-academic genre of entertainment music was meant to meet these new specific tastes and, at the same time, adapt them to the official aesthetic and moral values. In spite of the strict control, practices in the creation and distribution of entertainment music showed informal and different strategies, beneficial for the development of this genre.

Keywords: entertainment music; popular; estrada; institutions; control; taste; practice

The topic of everyday culture in Bulgaria in the years of the socialist regime is one of the issues that can provide a lot of facts for the historic reconstruction of the period. Everyday life itself consists of a wide range of subtopics, and the social aspects of entertainment music is one of them. Based on mainly archival sources, this chapter tries to present some significant moments for the development of music between the late 1940s and the mid-1970s, the time when the institutionalization of entertainment music experienced significant dynamics. The paper concentrates on the so-called estrada, which was the official term for this kind of music.

The usage of the term entertainment music instead of popular music in the article is intentional as...

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