Sunday, 08 January 2023 11:27

Initiative “In Search of Sound” is now complete

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Therapeutic musical initiative involving photo session of models with different kinds of hearing deficits, who wear Bulgarian national costumes and test their sense of rhythm touching real musical instruments while they’re being played, is now complete. “In Search of Sound” is a brand new project carried out in the belief that music is able to stimulate sleeping acoustic neurons and it has a holistic healing power.

The experiment launched by specialized website “We Hear You” (currently Alliance National Centre of Alternative Communication "We Hear You") was a success. It took five months to finish (June, July, September, October and November 2022) and each month a new photo session with different kind of musical instrument was released as follows: bagpipe, kaval flute, gadulka, tambura, tapan drum.

The initiative was carried out with the help of a number of volunteers – ethno photographer Assen Velikov, supervisor of bagpipe band "Petko Voevoda" Ivan Balabanov (Rhodope bagpipe), as well as four professional musicians who play folklore instruments at the Bulgarian National Folklore Ensemble "Philip Kutev" as follows: Ivan Peychev (kaval flute), Denitza Hristova (gadulka), Hristiyan Tzvyatkov (tambura), Genadiy Rashkov (tapan drum).

Photo sessions featured eight amateur models coming from different parts of the country. Each of them is a member of one of the three cultural groups of the Bulgarian deaf society – hard-of-hearing people, people who have lost their hearing and Deaf people. They all had the opportunity to test their sense of sound and rhythm using their hearing aids or cochlear implants and do the same thing without the use of any assistive devices. 

Stela Nikolaeva was photographed alongside a Rhodope bagpipe in Koprivshtitza. Ivelina Ivanova experienced kaval flute in the Old Town of Plovdiv. Boyan Dimitrov was able to sense gadulka in the village of Krushovitsa. Twin sisters Lyudmila and Tanya Garkovi along with two-year-old Stefan were photographed alongside tambura in the village of Svezhen. Family Antonia Hubenova and Nikola Nanev of Stara Zagora were able to sense tapan drum in the village of Yavrovo.

During this search of sound that lasted for half a year, magnificent photo sessions were launched, picturesque places were visited and beautiful national costumes from different ethnographic regions of Bulgaria were worn. Heavenly sounds of folklore musical instruments were being played and you could feel the explosion of emotions and the unforgettable sensations that were around. We also found quite a few new friends throughout the initiative. The results of this original experiment of the therapeutic power of rhythm will be used for the purposes of Alliance National Center of Alternative Communication „We Hear You” (NCAC).

Christina Tchoparova is the initiator, organizer and co-photographer of the musical therapeutic photo session. She is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience with print media and online media who’s worked as editor-in-chief, proof-reader, publisher and media expert. She has late hearing loss resulting from an incident. Her experience with auditory healthcare and communication started more than 30 years ago. She has published a number of media analyses with profound knowledge of the cultural groups in the Bulgarian deaf society. The idea came from the personal experience and search attempts of the initiator in terms of the influence of different styles of music on hearing deficits.

Being a member of the three cultural societies (hearing, hard-of-hearing and people with hearing loss), the initiator believes that music has the power to heal. Hence, she developed her own idea of a therapeutic experiment called “In Search of Sound” with two domains: dance (First Open Lesson on Bulgarian Folklore Dances for People with Hearing Deficits) and music (Photo session with live performance of folklore instrumentals). The initiative is innovative and is the first of its kind in Bulgaria. It was carried out with personal funding and was based on voluntary work without any project-based financial support, sponsorships or donations. 

The total amount of images covering the initiative “In Search of Sound” is 539 and the pictures could be seen in the Gallery of the Site of NCAC “We Hear You”. Rhodope bagpipe is featured on 106 images, kaval flute is seen on 101 images, gadulka is there on 102 images, tambura is featured on 123 images and tapan drum is seen on 107 images. All the images are branded with the logos of Assen Velikov and “We Hear You” and are subjects to copyright.

The best photographs where the search of sound and the emotional moments showing the influence of the melody, are evident will be selected and printed on a calendar. The latter will feature year 2024 and will fill the participants in the initiative and their loved ones with joy, but it could be given to anybody willing to buy it. The funds raised through the selling of the calendar will be used for the charity purposes of Alliance NCAC “We Hear You”.

The initiative, featuring both the dance and photo session parts of it, received broad media coverage aside from the publications present on the Site. A number of Bulgarian medias released publications dedicated to it as follows:

Darik Radio: First Open Lesson on BG Folklore Dances for People with Hearing Deficits

Trud: People with Hearing Deficits Learned How to Do Bulgarian Folklore Dances (online and paper copy)

Ikar Press: People with Hearing Deficits Learned How to Do Bulgarian Folklore Dances

Bulgaria Today: People with Hearing Deficits do Folklore Dances through Vibrations (online and paper copy)

Darik Radio: “We Hear You” is photographing models with hearing deficits alongside folklore instruments

Bulgaria Today: Journalist Christina Tchoparova: people with hearing deficits “hear” folklore (online and paper copy)

Our sincere gratitude goes to all the people involved with the search of sound. We do believe the initiative managed to open the door to knowing yourself better and testing your own capabilities to sense sound beyond silence. Edgar Cayce says music and sound are the medicine of the future which is why anybody could be the healer of themselves through the challenge of discovering the dance and music that bring healing rhythms around them. 

The end of something marks the beginning of another thing. We hope we’ll be able to bring many original projects into reality during 2023! Let there be togetherness!

Article and collages: Christina Tchoparova

Logo of the initiative: Zdravko Denev

EN translation: Maria Mihailova

Alliance NCAC “We Hear You” is the holder of publishing rights on this article.

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