Archives for December2015


Popocatépetl

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Having named their band after the active Mexican volcano, these guys have always been almost that much eruptive and unpredictable on stage ever since 1995 when they gathered for the first time. The leading singer and the face of the group from the beginning is Tzetzo the Animal – an explosive ball of energy who gives himself away when on stage. At the beginning of the 1990s he was a notable figure in the city as he hosted a radio show on a local media. My memories of this period are not so profound as I was quite young, but what I know from my recent encounter with the band is that the Animal has not changed at all. A couple of months ago, when I went to Station Hall to see the band play, his stage performance was so contagious, so inflammatory, that I found myself dancing right away.

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The group changed its members on different occasions and was joined by members of two renowned nation-wide groups: Favorit, a famous jazz-and-rock musical group, whose leading vocal and drummer died one after the other in tragic circumstances, and Fobos, a trash musical band. This altogether lead to a change in the band’s sound and from producing rock and alternative cover pieces and creating their own tracks in the same genres, now they experiment with pop, ethno, and swing music as the group attracted some young brass players as well.

Popocatépetl was the support band for Goran Bregovich’s concert in Bulstrad Arena on December 20, 2015, which speaks for the international recognition and respect the band has deserved with their music.

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.

Station Hall

If you are looking for a club where you can dance the night away, listen to the alternative sounds of the ’90s, or enjoy a live band indulging their audience into a myraid of styles from Jazz to Rock and roll, and see a great many locals and have a word with them, this is your place!

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Check the program first to know what Station Hall is up to in the evening. And sleep well: I can assure you, cross my heart, over my dead body, you will never hear chalga in this place.

The club is located on the bank of the Danube river. As the rumors have it, the owner (possibly tenant) of Station Hall is an Irish guy. Do not ask me what wind of change has brought him here. I can only bless and cherish the day he heard of Rousse. Rousse needed such a place—and this is me that I tell this to you; me, not living in Rousse.

Station Hall has two halls, one of them is the restaurant. You may wish to have a meal during the day there or dinner in the evening and then just across the door is the club itself. Don’t spare youyrself this experience, just go and enjoy yourself by chatting with friends over a beer, vodka, or many of each depending on your metabolism and enzyme capacity for processing alcohol. The inside is red brick walls, high ceilings (it’s a hall, after all), a stage, and a couple of cosy niches looking out over the scene. No smoking is allowed inside, but you can enjoy a fag outside the front door, or cross the railway and sit by the river to enjoy the sound of the water splashing against the bank. I like this place and sincerely recommend it!

This is the map to Station Hall.

Check out what’s up tonight in Sation Hall on their Facebook page.

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.

Angel Kanchev University of Rousse

universityThe University is named after Angel Kanchev, a 19-century Bulgarian revolutionary who committed suicide at 21 in Rousse after having been betrayed and his attempt to join the Bulgarian revolutionaries in Romania failed.

The university was established in 1945. At the time it was the one and only higher technical school in Bulgaria outside the capital city of Sofia. This was the result of the efforts of local intellectuals to decentralize the educational system in the country. Back then, before the land nationalization and the consequential end of the private sector in Bulgaria had been initiated by the Communist government, the urban working class was just emerging and the country was primarily depending on its agriculture. Hence, the initial agricultural and mechanical engineering specialities at the university. Nowadays, the scope includes Law, Business and Management, Public Health, Natural Science and Education.

One of the nation-wide initiative held at the University is the RuseConf. A relatively new event with its first release in October 2014, it brings together leading Bulgarian IT specialists as part of a free conference on cutting-edge programming technologies and coding.

When talking about the University of Rousse, I cannot but share the name of Ignat Kaneff, one known too well to the locals. In short, he is born in a village near Rousse to poor parents as one of their 7 children. After leaving Bulgaria first for Austria and then for Canada, he is now the owner of a billion dollar construction business. At 89 he is known in Rousse as a major University benefactor. He donated USD 1,5 million, which was used to build a state-of-the-art conference hall named after him and opened in 2014.

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Well, I am humbled by such a deed and my heart is filled with hope. As long as there are people who are rich enough not to care about education and still do, I agree we can all do better.

If you are further interested in this topic, here is some detailed information about Angel Kanchev, University of Rousse, RuseConf, Kaneff Centre, and Ignat Kaneff.

Photo credit: Georgi Kirichkov.

Arena Monbat (Arena Rousse, Bulstrad Arena)

Author’s note: in 2018 Bulstrad Arena was renamed to Arena Monbat, also known as Arena Rousse. The links and text below were respectively updated on 14.01.2019.

Among the greatest and recent accomplishments for Rousse is the newly-built fully-functionaning, though not completely finished, Bulstrad Arena sports venue with a capacity to accommodate more than 8,000 people in live concerts. Its opening was announced at the end of July, 2015 (remember that concert I told you about? Lili Ivanova – rings a bell?) and has already hosted Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, Scottish hard-rock band Nazareth, Bosnian world-famous film-music composer Goran Bregovitch, as well as Dunav Ruse women’s basketball tournaments. (Author’s note: despite their unprecedented achievements, the women’s basketball team in Rousse was disbanded at the end of 2017.)

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It took the local authorities nigh four decades to complete the sports hall, the construction works having been suspended on various occasions and innumerable reasons, among which some of national importance such as the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. The dead site of construction, cuddled behind a hedge of metal plates, has been a regular sight for what it seemed ages and an alternating symbol of malfunctioning communication between national and regional authorities, lack of investments, change of building intentions, and economic stagnation. For years to come, people would briskly shrug at the question if anyone knew what was going to become of these bare, as if wasted in the limbo of the passing time, hundreds of square metres. Now that the end result was even officially acknowledged in July by the presense of the Prime Minister, I must confess I am happy to see almost all of it said and done and that all efforts on behalf of the local institutions and patience on behalf of the citizens have been worth it.

The official page of the Arena features all scheduled events that are going to take place in it.

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As an aside, they host the all-cultural events program for the month on their website too. (Author’s note: which is no lonegr true – their website included that information when the hall was under the Bulstrad Arena management.) If you are still wondering what to see this December, check it out – the program is quite interesting and intended to add to the Christmas holiday spirit. So, my dear fellas, take your child to the Regional Library, your partner to a Christmas concert in Kaneff Centre, or your Granny to the Opera (she does not hear well anyway!) and simply enjoy yourselves!

Here is some additional information on the Arena from Wikipedia.

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.