Being a part-time resident of Sofia myself, of course I had seen the ladies and gentlemen on TV, dressed in traditional rural attire and performing old songs in front of impeccably maintained scenic village settings. I had spotted some instruments that didn’t seem to align with the pre-electric world on display, but these were just details, provided that most such performances were visualizations produced to bring audio recordings on screen (vulgo: playback). Hardly did I suspect that by now the acoustic heart of the nation had turned digital.
Tony Stevanovski is an accordionist and arranger hailing from Macedonia, now living in and working out of Sofia, Bulgaria, where he has become a busy professional in the unlikely art of faking acoustic recordings. He has specialized in creating arrangements for traditional music of the Balkans countries, assembled from the sounds he finds in instrument sample libraries. This is the style:
Here is a more contemporary “pop folk” / “chalga” arrangement by Tony: