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Musical Folklore

Dr Ruzha Neykova is an ethnologist and ethnomusicologist, PhD and senior research worker (docent) at the Institute for Folklore of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her professional interests concern the Bulgarian musical folklore and ritual traditions.

She has received funding from Horizon for her ethnological and sociological research of folkloric traditions. In 2002 and 2005 she did ethnological investigations as well as observations of folk musical traditions in Russian autonomous republics of Chuvash, Tatarstan and Kabardino-Balkaria. Tatarstan is the former Bulgaristan, another Bulgarian country, established in Volga-Kama region after 6th century AD.

This project involved field work to investigate the present level of preservation of folk pagan beliefs and the contemporary contents of the folk rituals beneath the cover of Islam and Christianity. Ruzha also observed folk musical traditions and the connection and possible explanation of similar musical phenomena within the Volga-Kama region and the Rhodopy mountains. Her expeditions resulted in some articles and the monography, published in 2009, titled ‘ Shamanhood and the Bulgars ‘. This year, Horizon is sponsoring Ruzha extended and continued investigation in the Northern Caucasus, this time in the Russian autonomous republics of Ossetia and Karachaevo-Cherkessia, which until now had not seen any ethnological research from the Bulgarian side at all. She will collect more information on the possible survival of ancient connections between the peoples from the Balkan and the Caucasus. The Caucasus region and toward the north (along the Volga river) trace out the border between Europe and West Asia not only in geographical but also in ethnological characteristics. These lands are an ‘ethnocultural contact zone’ where various ancient cultures crossed and left behind remaining tangible idiosyncrasies.