home - news - reviews - music - biography - photos

video - band - gigs - press pack - publications - contact - links

"Lilly Of The West"

Lilly of the West Delivers Innovative Music - October 2012

A centuries-old country at the crossroads of ancient civilizations, Bulgaria is home to a unique musical intersection as well. With her genre-defying ensemble Lilly of the West, Lilly Drumeva has pioneered the promotion of bluegrass music in the Balkans and beyond for more than fifteen years. In fact, the versatile vocalist/songwriter/musician has made this her life mission and passion. She backs up that goal with extensive credits.

Drumeva has taken America’s homegrown genre on tour not only throughout her homeland, but also to a dozen European countries stretching from the United Kingdom to Russia. She has even crossed the Atlantic with her unusual program, appearing successfully in the United States.
Bluegrass – a homegrown American form derived from country, blues and Scotch-Irish music – exhibits qualities that resonate with traditional Bulgarian folk. Drumeva and Lilly of the West have expanded upon this by blending these complementary styles into an engaging repertoire that also includes bluesy ballads and jazzy swing tunes.

Founding Lilly of the West in 1996, Drumeva has captivated audiences on such prestigious stages as the International Bluegrass Music Awards show (United States), European World of Bluegrass (the Netherlands), Inverness (Scotland) Festival of the Arts, Bansko (Bulgaria) Jazz Fest, Trondheim (Norway) Country Music Fest, Athy (Ireland) Bluegrass Festival, Karl May Festival (Germany), Musica Latina (Italy), Paide Shanty Festival (Estonia), and in various European embassies, to name a few.

Lilly of the West showcases the outstanding talents of lead vocalist Drumeva who also plays guitar and fiddle, Yassen Vassilev with his driving guitar work and vocals, Michail Shishkov who dazzles on Dobro guitar, harmonica and piano, and Svoboda Bozduganova who anchors the group’s sound with upright bass and who also lends vocals.

Nine recordings, plus one live performance DVD, released over the last decade and a half have placed – and kept – Lilly of the West in demand for concert, festival, radio and television appearances. The latest CD, Swings and Heartaches, covers classic country-blues ballads, Western swing and a taste of Bulgarian folk music. Its success, supported with rave reviews from journalists around the globe, has secured the quartet’s standing in the international entertainment arena.

Future goals include touring such countries as Australia, Canada, Japan and Brazil. In the works is a video devoted to Bulgarian folk music, as well as a companion DVD for Swings and Heartaches. Drumeva also continues to develop original material for the band.

Visit http://lillydrumeva.net for detailed information and all the latest news about Lilly of the West. For interviews, contact lilly@techno-link.com or phone 359-888-660-990 (Bulgaria).

Career highlights of Lilly Drumeva and her band "Lilly of the West"

Lilly Drumeva (bandleader, lead vocalist) was born in Bulgaria but was raised and educated in several European countries: Germany, France, Austria, Czech Republic where her parents worked with the diplomatic service. It was in Vienna, 1992, where she first started to sing country and bluegrass.

She returned to Bulgaria in 1996 and formed her own band "Lilly of the West". A debut album was released, followed by appearances at major festivals in the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, the Netherlands and in the UK.

In May 1998 Lilly of the West performed at the first EUROPEAN WORLD OF BLUEGRASS Convention in The Netherlands and won first place. In October 1998 they performed at the International Bluegrass Music Awards in Louisville, Kentucky, sharing the spotlight with Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs and many others. Lilly was also a presenter during the award ceremony gala and appeared on Fox Television.

In May 1999 Lilly of the West released a second album "Sail on the Wild Wild Wind" on Strictly Country Records in the Netherlands. The songs were recorded live during the band's tours in Holland.

A third album followed in January 2000, entitled "Dear & Kind" which was inspired by the band's native Bulgarian folk music.

After completing a three-month tour in Europe 2001, Lilly took a position with the BBC World Service and settled down in London. She worked with British bluegrass musicians Rick Townend & Rosie Davis, releasing a 6 track CD "Lilly & Rosie".

In May 2003 Lilly returned to Bulgaria where she started her own music show on Retro Radio Network, the second most popular station in Bulgaria. She released the forth album "A collection", featuring some of the most requested songs of the band's repertoire.

In October 2004 Lilly of the West showcased at the International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA) in Louisville, Kentucky with additional performances at the Galt House International Suites. Lilly Drumeva was backed by very talented young Slovak musicians.

In March 2005 Lilly Drumeva toured in the United States together with American musicians (Marshall Wilborne, Jesse Brock, Mike Munford) and graduated from the Bluegrass Leadership Program in Nashville, Tennessee. She released a new CD "Pickin' live", recorded live in the United States. The same year Lilly started her own country music show on Balkan Bulgarian Television.

In May 2005 Lilly of the West showcased at the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) in Barneveld, Holland and Lilly was elected in the board of the European Bluegrass Music Association.

In April 2006 Lilly Drumeva took a position as music editor on Radio Sofia, part of Bulgaria's State National Radio. In September she started her own country music show "Country with Lilly". She toured also with US mandolinist Jesse Brock in Switzerland, Norway and Lithuania.

In January 2007 Lilly of the West released a new album "Time after time", featuring Lilly's favorite classics from the 60s "All I have to do is dream", "The end of the world", Cindy Lauper's "Time after time", Irish traditionals like "The water is wide", "A walk in the Irish rain", John Denver's "Leaving on a jet plane" and others. The album had great reviews and is currently sold on CD Baby.

In June 2008 Lilly Drumeva teamed up with Czech musicians Lubos Malina (banjo) and Lubos Novotny (dobro) and performed several shows in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. In September Lilly visited the United States and performed with The Nob Hill Boys (bluegrass band from Wisconsin) and Al Goll (Dorbo player from Nashville). She also attended IBMA's International Summit, being one of the official delegates from Europe.

In 2009 the band toured successfully in Europe and Bulgaria, performing at Willisau bluegrass festival, Switzerland, European World of Bluegrass, The Netherlands, La Roche Bluegrass festival, France, concerts in the Bulgarian embassies in Prague and Budapest. Lilly Drumeva worked with musicians of the renowned Czech band "Monogram". Lilly & band performed at studio 1 of the Bulgarian national radio, the concert was recorded for the "golden fund".

In January 2010 Lilly released her 8th album, entitled "Lovin' you". Recorded in Sofia and Prague, it features Czech band "Monogram" and "Lilly of the West", Bulgaria. The repertoire is bluegrass, country, swing & Bulgarian folk. Lilly recorded also duets with Monogram's singer/guitarist Jakub Racek. CD release parties were held in Sofia and Prague. Lilly performed also with renowned Irish musicians Paul O'Shaughnessy and Larry Egan in Sofia.

In 2011 the band perfumed with the Ebony Hillbillies (US) at the National Palace of Culture, Sofia; took part in the first Country Music Festival in Bankya ("Country West Fest"); celebrated its 15 years anniversary at the "Sofia Live Club". Lilly and band performed also at Greven grass bluegrass festival, Germany, La Roche sur Forron bluegrass festival, France, Bansko jazz fest Bulgaria. They played several concerts in Sofia parks, organized by the city hall. The band collaborated with top French mandolin player Dorian Ricaux. A10 days European tour has been completed (22 September- 20 October), featuring guest mandolinist Michal Barok (Slovakia). Recordings for the new album "Swings & heartaches" have been finalized.

Current members: Lilly Drumeva - vocal, guitar, fiddle, mandolin,
Yassen Vassilev- guitar,
Svoboda Bozduganova - upright bass,
Michail Shishkov - Dobro, banjo, piano, harmonica

Performances in Bulgaria:

Lilly of the West is a famous name in Sofia's live music scene. The band performs regularly in clubs (Flannagan's, Murphy's, Swinging hall, Checkpoint Charley, Tea house, Sachmo jazz club, Fans rock club, 2night piano bar) at parties & receptions (M-Tel, Heinecken Beer, Socialist Party), on TV (Kanal 1, TV 7) & radio (Horizont, Darik). The band preformed at some of the major music festivals in Bulgaria: Salon of the Arts, NDK, Christmas & New year's festival, NDK, Apolonia festival of the Arts, Sozopol,. Lilly of the West is a popular band among the ex-pat community in Bulgaria, concerts for the Embassies of The United States, Peace Corps, USAID, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, The European Union Delegation in Bulgaria, The International Women's Club, Bulgarian Jewish Society, Bulgarian - Irish Society.

Some of the major festivals aboard:

European World of Bluegrass, The Netherlands

Dobro Fest Trnava, Slovakia

Donauinsel Fest Vienna, Austria

Inverness festival of the Arts, Scotland

Karl Mai festival Dresden - Germany

Mrangovo Country Picnic - Poland

Paide Shanty festival - Estonia

Musica Latina - Italy

SBMA festival - Switzerland

Big Baer festival - The Netherlands

Athy Bluegrass festival - Ireland

Bohemian Bluegrass Festival Pisek - Czech Republic

Trondheim Country Music fest, Norway

IBMA festival, Louisville Kentucky, USA

IBMA festival Nashville, Tennessee, USA

New Arc festival, Delaware, USA

La Roche Bluegrass Festival, France

Willisau bluegrass festival, Switzerland

Delaware Valley Bluegrass festival, New Jersey, USA

Greven Grass bluegrass festival Germany

Bansko Jazz fest, Bulgaria

Arena musica Sofia

Country West Fest, Bankya


"Lilly of the West" - a bluegrass band with a fresh modern repertoire consisting of captivating
folk songs and swinging bluegrass tunes.

"Lilly of the West" is the only bluegrass band in Bulgaria but they shine amongst the best
bluegrass talent in the World.

"Lilly of the West" have been winning over audiences throughout Europe, as well as the
States at the 1998 IBMA Awards in Louisville, Kentucky.

Yassen Vassilev - guitar, vocal

Lilly Drumeva - guitar, fiddle, lead vocal,

Michail Shishkov (Misho) – Dobro guitar, harmonica, piano

Svoboda Bozduganova (Bodi) - upright bass, vaocal,

2012 Band Photographs.

[Please click on photo to load full size picture]

Last updated: 31-May-2015 8:46 PM