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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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‘Years ago, when rock’n’roll was young…’ Bulgarian Rock Music as Discussed in Music Memoirs, Reflective and Journalistic Literature

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Abstract: In recent years, the commercial literary market in Bulgaria has released a finite selection of writings on Bulgarian rock, written by local journalists or important members of the scene. These books allow for the examination of a variety of insider perspectives on how the culture positions itself in both local and global contexts. Using Franco Fabbri’s genre theory, and Michel Foucault’s exploration of power relations as theoretical framework, this article will focus on the most prevalent narratives presented in the books, and consider the interpretative possibilities that emerge by critically examining how the history of the local rock culture is constructed.

Keywords: Bulgaria; rock music; genre theory; power relations; journalist literature; interpretation; estrada; authenticity; narrative; political censorship; music during communism

Over the last two decades or so, the popular music section in Bulgarian bookstores has expanded quite a bit, ranging from translated biographies of world-known musicians to the occasional encyclopaedic study on global music genres. I was excited to see among this trend several contributions which focus on the history of the Bulgarian rock scene. Written by local journalists, musicians, and influential scene members, these books could prove to be valuable resources as they offer a variety of cultural-insider viewpoints on important figures, dates, and influences on the genre; as well as commentaries on the issues and obstacles that performers had to cope with during communism. Although individual titles are known in the academic world, building an understanding of how the culture defines...

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