Originally from Bulgaria, both Anton Shekerjiev and Iskra Valtcheva left their home country at an early age and traveled the world. Their paths crossed in Tucson, where their shared passion for Old World music and their love for their culture led them to the founding of the band Ludo Djore to develop a repertoire of traditional Bulgarian songs. Anton is known for his performances with Balkan Spirit, Kyklo, Moreto, and as a member of Ensemble Rhodopchani, a Bulgarian bagpipe band. Iskra has performed with Purple Bamboo Ensemble led by Jing Xia, the Infinite Compassion Orchestra, Datura Moon Orchestra, and Khalid el Boujami. This year, Anton and Iskra are joined by Jeffrey Holsen (upright bass) and J. Emanuel Stuart (accordion) of Balkan Spirit.
Their performance highlights traditional Bulgarian instruments, including gaida (bagpipe), tambura (lute), tapan (large double-headed drum), tarambuka (small goblet drum), as well as oud and guitar. Anton and Iskra’s vocals feature typical Bulgarian harmonies which can sound eerily dissonant to the Western listener, only to resolve into the sweet consonance of familiar intervals and unison. Bulgarian rhythms are complex and syncopated, characterized by compound rhythms such as 7/8 (Rachenitsa), 9/8 (Daichovo Horo) and 11/16 (Kopanitsa).