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Lilly Drumeva „STRONG MACHINE”
Eberhard Finke
© 2016 Bulgarien


Vor 20 Jahren stieg „Lilly of the West“ aus Sofia in die Musik ein, jetzt veröffentlicht sie ihre zehnte CD – keine schlechte Ausbeute. Waren die ersten neun mehr oder minder stilecht im Folk- und Bluegrassidiom gehalten, so versucht sie hier etwas Neues, Poppiges. Damit ist sie schon in die einheimischen Charts eingedrungen, in den USA hat sie einen „Academia Music Award“ (Sitz in Los Angeles) als bestes Popalbum bekommen. Wenn sie damit etwas mehr Geld verdient, sei es ihr gegönnt. Sie hat sich schließlich vielfältig für Bluegrass und akustische Musik in ihrer Heimat eingesetzt und gekämpft, sie fühlt sich dabei wie eine „starke Maschine“, wie der Titelsong es ausdrückt. Sie gehört eher zu den stillen Sängerinnen, entsprechend ruhig und akustisch geht es zu ohne unnötigen Lärm und Aufwand. Ganz zum Schluss wird es aber dank einiger slowakischer Freunde noch richtig bluegrassig.


CD review by Stephanie P. Ledgin, award-winning author/journalist

Lilly Drumeva steps outside her more familiar role as leader of Bulgaria's bluegrass band, Lilly of the West, with this highly personal recording, Strong Machine. A singer-songwriter effort within the realm of acoustic or "Euro" pop, Strong Machine provides a pathway for Drumeva to capture and release feelings about some of the pain and suffering she and her family have endured in recent years. She composed or co-wrote seven of the ten tracks. All speak to life experiences, from spiritual guidance and self-awareness to looking toward better times.

Songs written and sung in Bulgarian present Drumeva at her best, relaxed and demonstrating a more natural tone when delivering in her native language. The country number "Leave Today" is an excellent example of this.

English lyrics in others lose a little bit of poetic expression with a slightly awkward verbosity. The intimate "Life Is Not Fair" perhaps would have served better as liner notes to explain further the impetus behind the recording, or more creatively as a "spoken art" work.

Everything aside, the album remains a delightfully solid blend of heartfelt songs and singing. "You Can Count On Me" is a terrific, inspirational song, dedicated to and spawned by Drumeva's husband's 2014 stroke, from which he thankfully recovered. "Poem in Open D" showcases wonderful instrumentation and presentation with strings enhancement, with Drumeva composing and singing in Bulgarian. Both of these tracks should receive wide airplay and notice, along with the aforementioned "Leave Today."

Drumeva takes creative liberties with splendid augmentation alongside John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads" on her arrangement in Bulgarian titled "Country In My Soul."

A host of gifted musicians provides outstanding accompaniment on a diverse array of instruments including pedal steel, piano and mandolin. The CD is attractive with its bright colors, beautiful artwork and photography, an aspect often overlooked in today's recording market.

Review of Lilly's first book

"In the mood with Lilly - fifty music themes", released on 29th September 2014

There is no fan of country music in Bulgaria, who has not heard of the Lilly of the West band. Its founder is Lilly Drumeva. Furthermore, she is also a producer, radio host, songwriter and much more when it comes to music. A pleasant surprise for all music lovers is the decision of Lilly to collect her knowledge in a book.

In an interview with Radio Bulgaria she told us more about her book:

"The book is based on 50 scripts for my radio show. This year it celebrates its 10th anniversary. 2 years ago I accidentally discovered some old scripts in my computer. I decided to use them in order to write the book. I added a lot more topics and collected all my music knowledge and experience from the past 20 years in it. "

The book has a circulation of 1,000 copies but it has not been officially presented yet. This will happen during the second half of September. The 300-page book contains photos and 10 chapters covering a total of 50 topics. "It took me about a year and a half. I was working mostly during the night and weekends. I did not stop with my other professional commitments,” Lilly Drumeva says.

We asked her if she had a favorite chapter.

"Yes, I love the chapter about sad songs. They tell us a lot and we must respect the musicians who have revealed their souls and shared their grief with us. Another favorite chapter is "Off the charts songs." In an album there are 2 or 3 hit songs and the rest seem to just fill up the gaps. I pay attention to them and very often these songs are better than the hits. I focus on the whole work of an artist and the songs that remain off the charts need to be brought out."

Before writing the book Lilly Drumeva read a great number of music books, most of them coming from the U.S. Over time, after gathering much experience and knowledge the idea how the book should look emerged. Each chapter begins with an explanation concerning the specific radio show before the topic is presented in details. There are no doubts creating such an encyclopedia required much effort.

Lilly’s energy is inexhaustible because it stems from her passion for music. She has been interested in it since she was a child.

She used to sing in the Children’s Choir of the Bulgarian National Radio and learned a lot from the huge music collection of her father Christo Drumev. In 1996 she and mandolin player Rosen Hristov created "Lilly of the West." Over the years the members of the band changed, but they were mainly Bulgarians. The band often has concerts in Sofia. On the 29th of August, 2014 all country music lovers would be able to enjoy the concert of the band in the Borisova Garden in Sofia, starting 6 pm.

Lilly Drumeva says foreigners see Bulgarian music as something unique and exotic. Of course, folk songs are refracted through the prism of country and jazz music. The albums of "Lilly of the West" always contain 1or 2 Bulgarian songs.

The new book "In the Mood with Lilly - 50 Music Themes” pays attention to everything related to emotions and the nature of music. Providing detailed information about great musicians, the book could easily turn into a modern music encyclopedia.

Author: Deyana Borissova
English: Alexander Markov

Lilly Of The West : Swings & Heartaches

Lilly of the West delivers pizzazz with latest recording...

Top-flight entertainment is the menu du jour with Swings and Heartaches, the latest recording from Lilly of the West. The CD covers classic country-blues ballads, Western swing and a taste of Bulgarian folk music. Rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic continue to support its success. Internationally renowned journalist Stephanie Ledgin calls this “the group’s best project to date.” A genre-defying ensemble, Lilly of the West showcases the outstanding talents of founder and lead vocalist Lilly 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. Including the new one, 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. A companion DVD for Swings and Heartaches is in progress. Drumeva, a pioneer in promoting bluegrass music in the Balkans and beyond for more than fifteen years, has made this her life mission and passion. She backs up that goal with extensive credits. She has taken America’s homegrown music 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 ocean with her unique program, appearing successfully in the United States. Bluegrass – a derivative American form that draws 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 explores bluesy ballads and jazzy swing tunes. Since 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. Future goals include touring such countries as Australia, Canada, Japan and Brazil. Also in the works is a video devoted to Bulgarian folk music, while Drumeva 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).

Lilly Of The West : Swings & Heartaches

The hard working singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, music arranger, manager and record producer of the Bulgarian group Lilly of the West now offers a special project with two parts, the "swings" are lively, up-tempo songs from the 40s/50s, and the "heartaches" are beautiful ballads with strong lyrics. Lilly Drumeva (lead & harmony vocals, fiddle), Yasen Vasilev (lead & harmony vocals, lead & rhythm guitars), Michail Shishkov (lead and Harmony vocals, Dobro, piano), and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass) with special guests Michal Barok (mandolin) and Milena Vuleva (fiddle) are very enjoyable to hear and time passes quickly listening to those 11 songs, the tasteful voice(s) and fine picking make it easy to indulge in ? style that is on the edge of bluegrass. And as in the eight previous projects, Lilly includes two songs in Bulgarian.


Lilly Of The West : Swings & Heartaches

"Bluegrass Unlimited"

[link to image]

Lilly Of The West : Swings & Heartaches



Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul / Who Knows What Tomorrow
May Bring / Lovesick Blues / I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter / Walkin' After Midnight / My Window Faces The South / If I Were A Carpenter / Brala Moma Ruzha Cvete / Crying In The Rain / Malka Moma Si Se Bogu Moli / Valentine Moon
Producers: Lilly Of The West

Lilly Of The West is a classy outfit of international quality. I have followed Lilly Drumeva’s recording career with interest and have long admired her beautiful singing and consistent professionalism. Here again she has the excellent guitarist and singer, Yasen Vasilev, and the very accomplished bass player Svoboda Bozduganova who were band-members on her 2009 album Lovin’ You, which readers might remember I recommended with enthusiasm. The band has since taken on the talented Dobro player and singer, Michail Shishkov. They are joined on this session, by guests Michal Barok – mandolin and Milena Vuleva – fiddle.

As its title suggests, the album brings together up-tempo songs that swing with heartfelt ballads. The sources from which the songs are drawn are impeccable and include: Hank Williams; Johnny Cash and June Carter; Bob Wills; Patsy Cline, Fats Waller; the Everly Brothers and our own dear Jools Holland with his co-written heart-render, Valentine Moon. It’s always a treat to hear Lilly sing folk songs from her beloved homeland, Bulgaria and she doesn’t disappoint. Her renditions of two of her country’s finest resonate with the history of her small but stoic nation.

The singing is sublime, with lead and harmonies shared as Lilly duets first with Yasen on If I Were A Carpenter and later with Michail on Crying in The Rain. The harmonies throughout the album are luxurious. As for the instrumental work, that, as previously, is flawless. Yasen’s guitar work is laid back but precise with breaks flowing and splitting smoothly from one musician to another. New member, Michail Shishkov’s Dobro playing bubbles with freshness and wit - particularly in his break on My Window Faces The South. Svoboda’s bass solo on I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter is masterful.

All-in-all another winner from a bunch of folks who know what they’re about and how to entertain with style and sophistication - and long may they keep doing it.
Album available from: www.lillydrumeva.net

Tom Travis
Country Music People

Lilly Of The West : Swings & Heartaches

Changement de cap et de look pour Lilly Drumeva. Après l'album Lovin'You sorti sous son nom il y a deux ans et pour lequel elle s'était gainée de cuir façon vamp dominatrice (la sous-section SM du Cri voulait même la mettre en couverture !), Elle revient à son groupe Liily Of The West et opte pour un look thirties bien assorti à la musique du nouvel album, Swings & Heartaches. Nous étions nombreux à penser que le principal attrait des albums bluegrass de Lilly résidait dans ses chansons swing. Elle semble l'avoir compris à son tour puisqu'elle a complètement abandonné le bluegrass. Son groupe comprend l'excellent guitariste Yasen Vasilev, le dobroïste Michail Shishkov et la contrebassiste Svoboda Bozduganova. L'album se partage entre swings et chansons mélancoliques (les Heartaches du titre, je suppose). Les six swings sont très connus. Le disque démarre bien avec Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Sou! (Patsy Cline). J'aime aussi la version des Lilly de Lovesick Blues (Hank Williams entre autres). I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter aussi été chanté par Fats Waller, Sinatra. Madeleine Seydoux et même Paul McCartney sur son récent disque Kisses On The Bottom. S'attaquer à des titres aussi connus peut se révéler piégeux. On connait de meilieures versions de Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Claire Lynch) et Walkin' After Midnight. Sur ces deux titres, le phrasé de Lilly est trop précipité et un peu plat. Sur Walkin'... et My Window Faces The South (Bob Wills), elle se rattrape en doublant magnifiquement sa voix, à l'égal de ce que peuvent faire Rhonda Vincent et Alison Krauss. Parmi les chansons mélancoliques, un des deux titres en bulgare. Brala Mona Rhuza Cvete a dailleurs un superbe refrain grâce aux harmonies vocales. II y a aussi deux belles chansons en duo. If I Were A Carpenter avec Vasiiev et surtout Crying In The Rain, un titre de Carole King popularisé par les Everly Brothers, très bien interprété avec Shishkov L'album se termine par Valentine Moon que Lilly chante seule accompagnée au piano par Shishkov. Et pour le coup, je préfère cette version à l'original de Sam Brown. Après avoir longtemps persévéré dans le bluegrass, Lilly semble avoir trouvé sa voie dans ce mélange de swing et de country folk.
© (DF) www.lillydrumeva.net

Lilly of the West - Swings & Heartaches
Lead singer Lilly Drumeva leads this fantastic quartet through an album of classic and Western swing tunes. From the lively to the soulful, they nail it with pizzazz, start to finish. Throw in a couple of Bulgarian folk songs and you have the group's best project to date. Now this is entertainment! - Quote by Stephanie P. Ledgin

Back in 2010, I was well taken with the Lilly Drumeva album, "Lovin' You". My first encounter with Bulgarian bluegrass, it saw Ms Drumeva recording with Czech bluegrass legends (another yes, really) Monogram on one half of her record, and with her band, Lilly Of The West on the rest. I reckoned it was an absolute delight from top to bottom, and have been playing it incessantly ever since. And now she's back with Lilly Of The West for this new album.

"Swings & Heartaches" is the group's recently released ninth album, and includes eleven songs, in two parts, a "swing side" and a "heartache side", hence the title. And it's an absolute cracker. The "swing side" is my favourite, and sees the band tackling up-tempo swing tunes from the 1940s/50s. There's a couple of Patsy Cline hits ('Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul' and 'Walkin' After Midnight', which sees a mighty fine vocal turn, a Hank Williams classic ('Lovesick blues'), and a few more standards.

Over on the "heartaches side", it's time for the ballads, with 'If I Were A Carpenter', the Everly Brothers' peach 'Crying In The Rain', a surprise visit to 'Valentine Moon', a song written and performed by Jools Holland & Sam Brown, from his "Small World Big Band" albums and, like "Lovin' You", some Bulgarian folk melodies in the shape of 'Brala Moma' Ruzha Cvete and 'Malka Moma si se Bogu moli'. Lilly and her band - Yasen Vasilev (lead & harmony vocals, lead & rhythm guitars); Michail Shishkov (lead and harmony vocals, Dobro, piano); and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass: pizzicato and arco). are in sparkling form, and helped along with special guests, Michal Barok (mandolin) and Milena Vuleva (fiddle) have made an absolutely essential bluegrass and country release.

Posted by zeitgeist

Bulharská skupina Lilly Of The West vydala nové album s názvem
Swings & Heartaches…
Skupina vznikla v bulharské Sofii v roce 1995 z iniciativy Lilly Drumevy. Krátce po vydání premiérového alba úsp?šn? koncertovala v Evrop? i Spojených státech a dosáhla ?ady evropských i mezinárodních ocen?ní na poli bluegrassové hudby. Formace (mimochodem v Bulharsku jediná tohoto žánru) má v sou?asné dob? široký repertoár od hudby country p?es bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop a bulharskou lidovou hudbu. Její zatím poslední vydané album je devátým v po?adí.

Deska obsahuje jedenáct song? ze dvou hudebních oblastí, jak ostatn? p?edznamenává samotný název desky. Materiál desky ozna?ený jako swingový ?erpá z amerického hudebního fondu 40. a 50. let 20. století. Zastoupený je skladbami od americké countryové hv?zdy Patsy Clineové ("Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul" a Walkin' After Midnight") a nemén? slavného Hanka Williamse ("Lovesick Blues"), dále dv?ma western-swingovými standardy ("My Window Faces The South " a " I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter") a kone?n? jednou moderní swingovou skladbou ("Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring").

Druhá tématická oblast nového alba obsahuje balady se silnými texty, v první ?ad? duet z repertoáru Johnnyho Cashe a June Carterové ("If I Were a Carpenter"), klasiku od Everly Brothers ("Crying In The Rain"), nostalgickou píse? ("Valentine Moon") známou d?íve z podání britského pianisty, zp?váka a skladatele Juliana Milese "Joolse" Hollanda a britské písni?ká?ky Samanthy Brownové. Kolekci uzavírají dv? bulharské lidové melodie ("Brala moma Ruzha cvete" a " Malka moma si se Bogu moli").

Kapela nahrála desku v následujícím obsazení: Lilly Drumeva - lead & harmony vocals, fiddle, Yasen Vasilev - lead & rhythm guitars, Michail Shishkov - Dobro, piano a Svoboda Bozduganova - upright bass (pizzicato and arco). K nahrávce byli p?izváni také speciální hosté, excelentní slovenský mandolinista Michal Barok a bulharská houslistka Milena Vuleva.
Ukázky z alba vydaného v b?eznu 2012 a ?adu dalších informací najdete na adrese:

It’s a bit strange that one has to go all the way to Bulgaria to meet up with a music band that can faithfully perform bluegrass and country music. It was in Bulgaria that we met Lilly Drumeva, the singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, music arranger, manager and record producer of the Bulgarian group Lilly of the West. "Swings & Heartaches" is the group’s recently released ninth album.

We first met Lilly at a concert staged at a studio in Sofia in November 2009 which aired on Bulgarian National Radio. The performance was recorded for the Bulgarian Golden Radio Fund and was accompanied by an announcer giving the history of bluegrass and country music. The introductions were in Bulgarian, but the songs were a highly enjoyable mixture of country, folk, bluegrass and original compositions, most of them performed in English.

The second time we saw Lilly of the West was at a matinee performance three months later at the Tea House in central Sofia, which came shortly after the release of the group's CD, "Lovin' You". Lilly and her band performed songs from the new CD, including "Pennies from Heaven" and "Tennessee Waltz". Other songs included Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" and "You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All," the country song written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz sung by Ronan Keating in the film "Notting Hill".

The new album of Lilly of the West is entitled ”Swings & Heartaches” and it includes eleven songs, half of them “swings” and half of them “heartaches.” As per Lilly’s website, the "swings" are “lively, up-tempo songs from the 40s/50s” and they include two Patsy Cline hits (“Walking After Midnight” and “Gotta Lotta Rhythm in My Soul”); a Hank Williams song (“Lovesick Blues”) and other western/swing standards.

The "heartaches", as Lilly describes them, are “beautiful ballads with strong lyrics”. One is the classic Johnny Cash/June Carter duet ("If I Were a Carpenter"); another is the Everly Brothers' hit "Crying in the Rain"). There are also two Bulgarian folk melodies in the collection.

Musicians on the album are Lilly Drumeva (lead & harmony vocals, fiddle); Yasen Vasilev (lead & harmony vocals, lead & rhythm guitars); Michail Shishkov (lead and harmony vocals, Dobro, piano); and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass: pizzicato and arco). Special guests on the album are Michal Barok (mandolin) and Milena Vuleva (fiddle).

Lilly of the West was formed in 1996 by Lilly Drumeva in Sofia. Shortly after releasing a debut album, the band toured successfully throughout Europe and the U.S., winning European and international bluegrass music awards.

I invited Lilly to come perform in Israel and hopefully one day she and her band will be able to take me up on this invitation. In the meantime, downloading ”Swings & Heartaches” from CDBaby is a simple task. Within minutes, one can begin enjoying the swings and the heartaches of bluegrass and country music, performed by an extremely talented Bulgarian group.

Ellis Shuman | March 19, 2012

Bulgarian folk and bluegrass singer Lilly Drumeva has defied stylistic pigeon-holing since she first came to attention with her band, Lilly of the West, in 1996. Over the course of 9 albums, her music has involved elements of country, bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop and Bulgarian folk music.
The band’s most recent release, Swings & Heartaches, offers up Lilly’s versions of two popular Americana musical forms, presented in an acoustic,
“The ‘swings’ are lively, up-tempo songs from the 1940s/50s, featuring two Patsy Cline hits (Gotta Lotta Rhythm in My Soul and Walkin’ After Midnight), one by Hank Williams (Lovesick Blues), two old western/swing standards (My Window Faces The South, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter) and a modern swing (Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring).
The ‘heartaches’ are beautiful ballades with strong lyrics. One is a Johnny Cash/June Carter duet (If I Were A Carpenter), another is an Everly Brothers’ classic (Crying in The Rain); a modern nostalgic song by Jools Holland & Sam Brown (Valentine Moon) and two Bulgarian folk melodies (Brala Moms and Malka Moma).”
Joining Drumeva on vocals and fiddle are Yasen Vasilev on guitar, Michail Shishkov on piano and resonator guitar, Svoboda Bozduganova on bass, Michal Barok on mandolin and Milena Vuleva on violin.

John Lawless | March 16, 2012

Proving that music crosses many borders Bulgarian Lilly Drumeva and her band Lilly of the West (and guests Monogram from the Czech Republic) are playing quality bluegrass and acoustic country. The songs are from the pen of such traditional stalwarts as Bill Monroe, Hank Williams Snr, Jimmie Rodgers as well as from Tim O'Brien, Townes Zan Vandt as well as contemporary writes like Gillian Welch. The versions here are not pushing any envelopes but are delivered with skill, verve and understanding. Drumeva, in her sleeve note, say her passion for this music came from hearing Emmylou Harris' Live At The Ryman album and that is a pretty good compass point for what's happening here. She also mixes thins up a little by choosing to cover a 1930's jazz standard Pennies From Heaven in a way that nods to it's source. While the closing song, her take on Tennessee Waltz shows that her range could easily extend to traditional country as easily as the acoustic bluegrass base of much of the material. What comes across is a singer and set of musicians enjoying what they are doing and exploring the music they love. It shows that in the future that if it was decided to seek out some less well know choices and expanding on original writing abilities that Lily Drumeva should be able to take her music to another level. In the meantime Loving You is here to be enjoyed.

Friday, October 8, 2010 at 04:41PM
From "Lonesome highway"- internet portal for hard core country and folk music

Lilly Drumeva divides her latest recording into two segments. The larger segment she recorded in Prague with Monogram, a Czech bluegrass band featuring guitarists/vocalist Jakub Racek, mandolinist Zdenek Jahoda, banjoist Jarda Jahoda, and bassist Pavel Lzicar. The nine songs they record together are predominantly covers of well-known bluegrass tunes. Four of them-"Molly And Tenbrooks," "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome," "Can't You Hear Me Callin'," and "I Am A Pilgrim"-are standards. Of them, "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome" stands out, partially transformed from its usual stomp into something of a wistful lament. The nonstandards are "Nellie Cain," "If I Needed You," Gillian Welch's "Red Clay Halo," and Jimmy Newman's "Cry, Cry Darling." Drumeva's original "Turn Away," a lively tune about leaving England's rain and wind for the sun and blue skies of the Balkans, rounds out the Prague sessions. All are enjoyable and well-played, though the arrangements, particularly of the standards, are just that-standard.
The smaller Bulgarian segment of the tunes finds Drumeva backed by her regular band, Lilly Of The West, a group currently consisting of guitarist Yasen Vasilev, fiddler Ivan Penchev, bassist Svoboda Bozduganova, and percussionist Borislav Bojadjiev. With these six tracks, the interest comes up a notch. Here, the material is more outside the norm, with only the lush, moody "Tennessee Waltz" having even a remote tie to bluegrass. Instead, there's a cover of the Lovin' Spoonful's ragtime "Lovin' You," two intriguing Bulgarian folk tunes (in interesting time signatures) about freedom fighters, a swing treatment of one of Jimmie Rodgers' lesser heard tunes,"When The Cactus Is In Bloom," and a straight jazz performance of "Pennies From Heaven."
Putting the two segments together, Lovin' You rises above average on the strengths of good singing, good instrumental work, and the interesting material found in the Bulgarian segment.
(Lilly Drumeva, Marin Drinov 25/3, Sofia 1504, Bulgaria, www.lilydrumeva.net. )

BW - Bluegrass unlimitted website

LILLY DRUMEVA - Lovin' You (Music Author Records MK 54604)

I've been something of a closet fan of Country/Bluegrass music for quite a few years but it's only recently that I've made an effort to find out more about it. Lilly Drumeva is something of an anomaly in that she is Bulgarian and (for the first 9 tracks) she utilises the services of one of the Czech Republic's finest bluegrass band's Monogram. For the last six tracks she is joined by her own not inconsiderable bunch of talented musicians aptly titled Lilly Of The West. As a newcomer I wasn't quite sure what to expect but on the strength of the fifteen tracks here I know that I would like to see a live performance. Drumeva's vocals are satin smooth and ideally suited to the music she obviously has an empathy with and when joined in the duets by Monogram's Jakub Racek the performance brings back memories of Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers without the American burr. Spirited arrangements featuring banjo, mandolin and guitar drive everything along at a cracking pace and the title track along with the beautifully seductive "Tennessee Waltz" are particularly well judged. The eclectic nature of the recording utilising country, bluegrass, swing and even a touch of Bulgarian folk song is like a breath of fresh air to these somewhat jaded 'folk' ears of mine and when it's as superbly crafted as this it has certainly become one of my favourite albums this year. www.lillydrumeva.net


Posted by Stuart A. Hamilton, for "Zeitgeist"

Lovin' You
self released 2010

Bulgarian bluegrass (yes. really) from Ms Drumeva who, despite appearances, has been releasing albums since 1996. For this one, she headed off to the Czech Republic to record with with Czech bluegrass legends (another yes, really) Monogram. That takes care of the first nine songs on this release as they work their way through some sparkling renditions of tunes by Bill Monroe, Jimmy C Newman, Townes van Zandt and even Gillian Welch. It's utterly captivating with the pure voice of Ms Drumeva ably set off by the band. As is my wont, I favoured the older songs with 'I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome' and 'Can't You Hear Me Callin' my top picks.

The second half of the record sees Ms Drumeva returning to Bulgaria to work up another set with her band, Lilly Of The West, which mixes up country, swing and Bulgarian folk music. So one minute you're listening to 'Pennies from Heaven', then a traditional Bulgarian song called 'Goro le Goro Zelena', then its off into Jimmie Rodgers 'When the Cactus Is In Bloom'.

It's an absolute delight from top to bottom, with both bands, Monogram and Lilly Of The West in top form. It's my favourite record of the year so far and I've no doubt it will stay at the top of the list for a long time to come.

Lilly Drumeva's new CD "Lovin' you"

Click to open pdf file review as in British Bluegrass Magazine

Lilly Drumeva's new CD "Lovin' you"

(Translation from Portuguese)

"I enjoyed the CD overall. It is the first time I am listening to a CD of that singer and enjoyed it very much. Her smooth voice is pleasant and the choice of repertoire has a very good taste! I found the tracks in Bulgarian being different and moving! It shows the pride in her roots. The songs that I liked mostly on the CD were "Red Clay Halo" by Gillian Welch and the Jimmy C. Newman song "Cry, Cry Darling ". I think it's wonderful to hear bluegrass from other regions of the world. Each country and interpreter is giving his own touch. I loved the CD and I will recommend it to bluegrass lovers. And I will do more follow up on Lilly Drumeva's career.

Written by Quesia Nunes
Bluegrass Association of Brazil

Music Author MK

Excellent mix of bluegrass, country, folk and swing

Bulgaria's Lilly Drumeva has been one of the hardest working musicians on the European bluegrass scene for a number of years. It was more than a dozen years ago that I first encountered this unassuming singer and have watched and marvelled as she has grown and matured both as a singer and bandleader. This is without doubt the most powerful and moving album she's recorded so far with superb and inspired musicianship throughout and top class production. How come singers and musicians in what we'd term almost third world countries can come up with a first class recording like this, leaving most British bluegrass recordings floundering in the dust?

Though basically a bluegrass record, it's a whole lot more than that. The first nine tracks were recorded in Prague with Monogram, one of the top Czech bluegrass bands and more or less keeps to a bluegrass sounds with several songs like Molly and the Tenbrooks, I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome (superb duet with Jakub Racek) and Can't You Hear Me Callin' associated with Bill Monroe. Lilly and the band stamp their own personality on these songs with some outstanding picking and soulful vocals. The final six songs were recorded in Bulgaria with her band Lilly of the West and run the gamut from folk-pop, to swing to western and Bulgarian folk songs. I really enjoyed her innocent, jaunty take on Jimmie Rodgers' When The Cactus Is in Bloom with a touch of yodelling and some stunning acoustic guitar by Yasen Vasiiev. An excellent entertaining and varied musical mix that stands up to repeated playing.
Alan Cackett
Maverick Magazine
April 2010

Lilly Drumeva - Lovin' You - Polysound 54604

Molly And Tenbrooks / I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome / If I Needed You / Nellie Kane / Can't You Hear Me Callin' / I Am A Pilgrim / Red Clay Halo / Cry Cry Darlin' / Turn Away / Lovin' You / Mechkin Kamen / Pennies From Heaven / Goro Le Goro Zelena / When The Cactus Is In Bloom / Tennessee Waltz

Lilly Drumeva aus Sofia, Bulgarien wurde während ihres wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Studiums in Wien 1994 auf Emmylou Harris' CD "Live At The Ryman" aufmerksam. Seither ist sie der Country- und insbesondere der Bluegrass Music eng verbunden. Beim Bulgarian National Radio and TV, der englischen BBC vergleichbar, hat sie eine zweistündige wöchentliche Radiosendung und eine 30-minütige wöchentliche Fernsehsendung, in der sie jeweils sieben aktuelle Videos vorstellt, vornehmlich aus den USA, weil es zu ihrem Leidwesen aus Europa kaum Videos gibt. Mit ihrer 1996 gegründeten Band Lilly Of The West hat sie seit Jahren Bluegrass und Folk gespielt, Swing gehört ebenfalls dazu. Inzwischen hat sie sich auch mit der tschechischen Top Bluegrass Band Monogram zusammengetan. Mit beiden Bands tritt sie auf. Wenn eher Swing- und Folk- Einflüsse gewünscht sind, spielt sie als Lilly Of The West, bei straight Bluegrass heißt es Lilly Drumeva & Monogram.

Für ihre achte CD des Jahrgangs 2009 hat sie beide Formationen ins Studio genommen, Tracks 1 bis 9 sind im September 2009 mit Monogram in Prag entstanden, Tracks 10 bis 15 im August mit Lilly Of The West in Sofia. Seit gut einem Jahr hat sie zur akustischen Gitarre auch die Fiddle addiert, die Aufnahmen sind ohne technischen Tricks wie Overdubs entstanden, so, als würde sie auf der Bühne spielen. "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome" und "If I Needed You" sind Duette mit Jakub Racek, dem Sänger von Monogram. Mit sehr viel Gefühl und einer wunderschönen Stimme sind die Aufnahmen liebevoll eingespielt worden, Gillian Welch's "Red Clay Halo" erweist sich als Perle unter Perlen. "Turn Away" ist eine wunderschöne Eigenkomposition von Lilly mit herrlicher Melodie und einem Rückblick auf das sonnige Bulgarien, denn das Lied ist 2001 entstanden, als sie für zwei Jahre im wettermäßig nicht so beglückten London lebte, das Heimweh hat schließlich obsiegt.

Mit Lilly Of The West ist auch ein wenig bulgarische Folklore ins neue Album eingeflossen, zwei Lieder gehen in diese Richtung. "Lovin' You" leitet insoweit den Stilwechsel ein, Bluegrass und Swing sind hier verwachsen, als habe es noch nie andersklingende Musik gegeben. Im Gegensatz zu vergleichbaren Künstlern aus den USA fehlen die Bluenotes, aber sie werden nicht vermisst, die klare, reine Musik im Stil irischer Folk Music ist ja eine der Wurzeln des Bluegrass. So sind die Aufnahmen dieser CD von unvergleichlicher Schönheit, das CD-Booklet enthält neben großartigen Fotos auch Informationen zu den Liedern und Musikern. Der Tipp schlechthin für einen kleinen Einkauf im Internet bei CD Baby. (Friedrich Hog)

Je viens de recevoir le cd de Lilly Drumeva intitulé Lovin' You Lilly est une chanteuse bulgare multiculturelle, sur cet album elle s'est adjoint les musiciens de Monogram (Craponne , l'un si ce n'est le meilleur groupe Tchèque avec Jakub Racek (Guitare et harmonies vocales), Zdenek Jahoda (mandoline), Jarda Jahoda (banjo), Pavel Lzicar (contrebasse) et Pepa Malina (Violon sur Cry Cry Darlin') Cet album est tout simplement EXCEPTIONNEL. Du Bluegrass tout en douceur et en finesse comme je l'aime.
Pas de la compétition technique comme on trouve trop souvent chez les groupes européens mais de l'émotion, de la douceur, du talent et de l'esthétique.
Le disque est disponible chez CD Baby à http://www.lillydrumeva.net/newsite/music.htm
et on risque de voir bientôt Lilly à Craponne 2011?

Georges Carrier
Country Rendez-vous festival, Creponne, France

(...."exceptional cd, not only for bluegrass standards, it has the heart, sweetness, finesse, talent, esthetic. All that I like"....)

CD "Lovin' You
By Bryn Williams, North England Bluegrass

Talking of old friends it was a pleasant surprise to receive Lilly Drumeva's latest CD "Lovin' You"... you can check out one of the tracks "If I needed you" which she sings on U-tube with Czech Republic "Monogram" guitarist Jakub Racek. This is an excellent CD and I think the tracks that she plays with "Monogram" are the best that she has produced so far. Apart from being a beautiful young Bulgarian lady, Lilly is also a talented singer and the Czech Republic band compliment her style perfectly. The European bands may never get that raw USA bluegrass sound BUT this CD is very well produced and played and deserves to be out there amongst all the other top bands. Lilly will always be a House of Plank favourite and since we first met her all those years ago

Lilly has developed into a good strong singer with a great feel for the music and the musicians with her on this recording are amongst the best in Europe . So in short!! A great CD that is well worth listening to!!

By Bryn Williams, North England Bluegrass - Jan 2010

Bulgaria/Czech Republic -- Lilly Drumeva's new country CD

Lilly Drumeva, a passionate champion of country music and bluegrass in her native Bulgaria, has a new CD out. Called "Lovin' you" it joins Lilly and her band, Lilly of the West, with some of the top Czech country and bluegrass musicians -- namely, the guys from the award-winning Czech band Monogram: Jakub Racek, Zdenek Jahoda, Jarda Jahoda and Pavel Lzicar, with guest Pepa Malina. Lilly has been collaborating with Monogram for more than a year -- I hear them in concert in Prague last March.

The CD was produced by Jakub Racek and recorded in both Bulgaria and the CZ. Tracks include bluegrass, swing, and country (including a cover of one of my favorite songs, Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You") and even a couple of Bulgaria folk tunes.

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, journalist - Jan 2010

"Time after Time" review
Le Cri du Coyote - Nov / Dec 2009

Pour LiLLY OF THE WEST vous excuserez le retard car Time After Time (disponible chez www.cdbaby.com) date de 2007 et le groupe est en train d'enregistrer l'album suivant, son septième depuis 1996. Le style de Lilly Of The West a des points en commun avec celui d'Alison Krauss & Union Station : des arrangements très travaillés, une contrebassiste (Svoboda Bozdugenova) qui privilégie la qualité du son plutôt que le nombre de notes, un altiste (Vladimir Michailov) plutôt qu'un fiddler (Alison Krauss utilise fréquemment l'alto), un guitariste (Yassen Vassilev) et un mandoliniste (l'Américain Jesse Brock qui a joué entre autres avec Lynn Morris et Chris Jones) qui tricotent des arpèges en dentelle. Ils sont tous excellents. L'atout majeur du groupe reste cependant la voix de Lilly Drumeva. Il y a souvent confusion entre le groupe et sa chanteuse, confusion entretenue par le fait qu'elle apparaît seule sur les pochettes de CD. Lilly a un timbre d'une étonnante pureté et d'une grande douceur. Dans la nébuleuse bluegrass/ country acoustique, je ne vois personne en Europe qui tienne la comparaison avec elle dans ce domaine. Par contre, ce n'est pas une chanteuse tout terrain. Sur la fin de Summerfly, ceux qui connaissent la version de Maura O'Connell trouveront que Lilly manque de puissance. Même constat pour la puissance mais aussi la tessiture aiguë pour Time After Time de Cindy Lauper. Par contre sa version de Once In A Very Blue Moon surclasse celles de Nanci Griffith et Mary Black. La ballade folk End Of The World lui va comme un gant. Elle vous met dans sa poche avec deux notes bleues au milieu d'une autre ballade, Rough Ride. J'ai même apprécié The Water Is Wide, slow song pourtant trop entendu mais qui a inspiré les musiciens du groupe. Les chansons qui conviennent à Lilly Drumeva peuvent aussi être plus rythmées comme le vif A Walk In The Irish Rain ou Canada Geese avec batterie et dobro. En plus d'être un formidable mandoliniste, Jesse Brock est un bon chanteur et le duo avec Lilly sur le classique All I Have To Do Is Dream est également très réussi. Promis ! le prochain Lilly Of The West, on vous en parle dès sa sortie.
Dominique FOSSE (in Le Cri du Coyote n° 113 Nov-Dec 2009)
www.lillydrumeva.net, www.myspace.com/lillyofthewest

Magazine: Maverick
Author: Alan Cackett
Date: January 2008 Issue
Band: Lilly of the West
Album: Time After Time
Label: Polysound

"Delicate Bluegrass-flavored acoustic music that is highly recommended."

A mainstay of European bluegrass music for more than a dozen years, Bulgaria's Lilly Drumeva seam's to improve with time. Recorded in Sofia, for this latest album Lilly has chosen her material wisely, blending traditional songs, pop nuggets and folk tunes. What makes it all work so well is the freshness she brings to songs that frankly, over the years; I've probably heard a good too many times. This is particularly true of Cyndi Lauper's title song, which is given a delicate acoustic makeover. She takes Nancy Griffith's once in a very blue moon and makes it her own and even manages to add a new emotion to John Denver's leaving on a jet plan. Lilly's voice really shines as she sings with confidence and emotion on Cheryl Wheeler's summer fly.

Though Lilly's distinctive and sensitive vocals are the focal point of the album, she has also assembled some very good acoustic musicians to assist. The core band is Lilly on vocals and acoustic guitar, Yassen Vassilev (guitar), Vladimir Michailov (viola), Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass) and Jesse Brock (mandolin, vocals) with guest players Rayko Pepelanov (guitar), Rossen Hristov (Dobro), Michail Shishkov (upright bass), Tsvetan Vlaykov (electric bass) and Pavlin Malinov (drums) adding to the mix. It is real refreshing to hear some traditional based music that has a contemporary feel to it. A delightful album, that should bring the discerning listener endless hours of listening pleasure.

"The Bluegrass BAND"

"Time After Time", the latest CD from Lilly Of The West, was actually released several months ago, but we had waited for it to become widely available outside of Europe before posting about it on The Bluegrass BAND. Lilly is Lilly Drumeva, the Bulgarian singer and guitarist who not only fronts the band, but also hosts country and bluegrass music programming on Bulgarian TV and radio, and serves on the board of the European Bluegrass Music Association.

On this project, her approach is a bit different than in the past, with respect to both the material and the musicians. The songs are drawn from the repertoire of pop and folk classics, but the arrangements, and Lilly's distinctively understated delivery, clearly distinguish these versions from the familiar original - and many subsequent - recordings.
The title track was a major pop hit for Cindy Lauper, with other selections like Leaving On A Jet Plane, Just Once in A Very Blue Moon, The End Of The World and All I Have To Do Is Dream having also been radio hits over roughly a fifty year span. Folk favorites The Water Is Wide and A Walk In The Irish Rain are also included, along with one traditional Bulgarian folk song, Oblache Le Bialo.

Instead of putting together a band from among Europe's top bluegrass players, Drumeva picked prominent classical musicians and gave them a crash course in the ways of acoustic/bluegrass string music. American grasser Jesse Brock, who spent much of 2006 in Europe, plays mandolin, with Drumeva on guitar, Svoboda Bozduganova on bass, Yassen Vassilev on nylon string guitar, and in another departure from the norm, Vladimir Michailov on viola.

The arrangements have a subtle, almost restrained feel throughout; you might even describe it as parlor string music. With no banjo, the music is less aggressive than more traditional bluegrass-influenced music, but the impact of where Mr. Monroe's music has gone this past 60 years is clear.
You can hear audio samples from all but one of the CD's 11 tracks on CD Baby, where you can also purchase the album as either digital downloads or an audio CD.

"Time After Time"
Jesse Brock
Mandolin Player of the year.

I first became aware of Lilly Drumeva as the lead singer for the band Lilly of the West when I reviewed her album Sail On the Wild, Wild Wind for Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. The exciting thing about her then, as now, was her extraordinary voice and the freshness of her approach in choosing songs - songs that too many times have become clichés to those of us listening in the USA. Without the cultural constraints that might prevent them from looking beyond the bounds of traditional sources of bluegrass and folk music, Lilly Drumeva and her band choose material from many sources, skillfully arranging and interpreting them in a way that is at once familiar and new and, at the same time, reflecting their Eastern European influences and upbringing.

Those of us fortunate enough to have seen or heard Lilly's music have discovered a pure singer with a serious grounding in traditional American music and an unmatched and appealing creativity that results in a fabulously satisfying listening experience. Her music continues to mature as time goes on, and this collection mines her imagination and influences in a way that makes us looking forward to hearing even more.

Archie Warnock
Reviewer and writer, Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, January 2007

Review in Traditional Music Maker - Nov/Dec 2001

"It was on the now defunct CMR (Country Music Radio For Europe) that I was first introduced to Lilly Drumeva and her band, Lilly Of The West. CMR, like Radio Caroline, beamed out across Europe via the Astra Satellite and Lilly's home country, Bulgaria, could receive the station. Eventually, I received a CD from Lilly and her band and it was 'Dear & Kind.'

I was immediately impressed at the level of musicianship and devotion to traditional American music, as well as the Celtic strains in evidence. Lilly made a guest appearance on CMR at the same time as Australia's Lynn Bowtell and, whilst it was essentially Lynn,s spot, I pulled in Lilly Drumeva to sing a duet and an impromptu Will The Circle Be Unbroken' proved to be one of those magic moments in live radio.

Lilly Drumeva now lives in London and her first album has been revitalised as a current UK release. Bluegrass music - and this is what Lilly Of The West are essentially all about seems to transcend geographical boundaries and, in the hand of sensitive musicians, tends to be a common language. There exists here a total understanding of traditional British/American music and the slightly 'accented' English seems to add to the CDs overall appeal. It also helps that Lilly Drumeva is a beautiful woman, but, unlike so many of her Nashville counterparts, is a real musician and one who is able to interpret traditional American music in such a distinctive way. There seems to be a common ground between the music of Bulgaria - Lilly's native land -and the Bluegrass music of Kentuck and it manifests itself perfectly throughout this wonderful album. There is something of Canada's Rankin Family about Lilly Of The West, in their experimentation with Celtic sounds and, indeed, Lilly turns in a moving and wholly sympathetic rendition of Raylene Rankin's 'Gillis Mountain,' while still being able to belt out an uptempo footstomper like Gretchen Peters' 'If Wishes Were Horses.' It's also extremely refreshing to hear Bulgarian folk songs like 'Sto Mi E Milo I Drago' and 'Daichovo Horo' being given the Bill Monroe treatment.

I know that Lilly and her band didn't find it easy in Bulgaria and hope that now her fortunes have changed and she is living here in the UK, this delightful lady finds success. This particular album was first recorded in Studio 5, at the National Palace of Culture, in Sofia and mixed and mastered by Ivo Yanev and Roumyana Stoyanov, with cover design by Marianna Tcholakova. It should also be mentioned that Tsvetan Vlaykov, played bass and added vocals; Rossen Hristov, picked banjo, played Dobro and added vocals and Rayko Pepelanov, added extra guitar, mandolin and vocals. Lilly played acoustic guitar.
Highly recommended to lovers of real country music."

-Bryan Chalker

What they say about Lilly and the "Lilly of the West" band

"Lilly possesses a voice of astonishing purity and sweetness. I don’t know anyone in the European acoustic scene who sounds quite like her."
(Le cri du coyote, France October 2009)

"Lilly’s distinctively understated delivery, clearly distinguish these versions from the familiar originals"
(European Bluegrass BAND, September 2008)

"Delicate Bluegrass-flavored acoustic music that is highly recommended". Lilly’s voice really shines as she sings with confidence and emotion."

"A delightful album that should bring the discerning listener endless hours of listening pleasure."
(Maverick, United Kingdom, January 2008)

"...'Lilly' of Lilly of the West is Lilly Drumeva, a strikingly beautiful, red- headed Bulgarian singer and guitarist ... Singing in a delicate, almost fragile soprano... Original tunes, written by her and the topnotch Bulgarian musicians backing her up on this excellent project.... Lilly Drumeva has a very bright future in bluegrass music...Recommended..."

"..Is she Europe's Alison Krauss?..True or not, Lilly Drumeva and her band Lilly of the West have been taking audiences by storm. ..They will certainly have many new fans wherever they sing and play their own, original brand of Bulgarian Bluegrass.and they deserve all the success they are getting!....Buy this one!..."
( Bluegrass EUROPE, Switzerland )

"...With an exceptional Eastern European quality of musicianship, sense of entertainment and dedication to their craft , this Bulgarian act are a bluegrass, country and folk phenomenon. Mixing original compositions with country music standards and the fragile, heartfelt vocals of lead singer Lilly Drumeva, they also combine Bulgarian folksongs to create an immensely unique experience..."
( Big Big Country Festival, Glasgow )

" ...Lilly of the West present one of the most accomplished and professional shows in Europe."
( British Bluegrass News, UK )

"..Fresh and natural...Lilly's voice reveals unusual warmth..The stunning beauty is a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist, specializing in bluegrass, country and folk music..instrumentally they reveal rare skills on banjo, Dobro and mandolin..."
( Country Music International )

"..Bulgaria's fantastic bluegrass band is build round the lead singing and charisma of Lilly Drumeva..She is not only a fine singer, but moving spirit in the Bulgarian bluegrass scene..The 13 tracks are an excellent showcase for Lilly's singing and the fine country voice of Tsvetan Vlaykov, they get a strong blend on the harmonies.. "
( Irish Bluegrass Music Association )

"...Bulgaria's music pioneers Lilly of the West are in the forefront of Eastern Europe's country music revolution...a band remarkably instrumentally skilled..Lilly Drumeva handles most of the lead vocals and her whispery delivery serves the delicate , acoustic-routed arrangements...Rossen Hristov's banjo work is powerful and solid...Rayko Pepelanov's mandolin , driving or delicate as the tune dictates and everything is underpinned by the solid bass playing of Tsvetan Vlaykov...Lilly's original 'Tears Roll Again' is a gentle stunner with heartfelt lyrics."
( County Music International )

"..Making waves - a Bulgarian woman on the move to change the environment around her...Sewing the seeds of bluegrass in Bulgaria.."
( Sofia Eco )

"..Sample a taste of Bulgaria...the four piece band revolves around lead singer Lilly Drumeva and is at the forefront of Bulgaria's country music scene...Lilly is a talented singer/songwriter and accomplished guitarist.Tsvetan Vlaykov plays a solid bass and adds some strong lead and harmony vocals..Rayko Pepelanov plays guitar and mandolin in a unique style.Rossen Hristov provides skillful contributions on banjo, Dobro and mandolin..."
(Evening Telegraph, Birmingham )

Last updated - December 23, 2016 2:54 PM