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Originally published February 14, 2011 at 2:54 PM | Page modified February 14, 2011 at 4:46 PM

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Northwest Folklife Festival to highlight Bulgarian culture

The Northwest Folklife Festival, which takes place at Seattle Center Memorial Day weekend, May 27-30, has announced a Bulgarian theme for its 2011 program. Highlights include an exhibit of photographs, "Voices & Images from Bulgaria: 1966-1979," taken by Martin Koenig, and Bulgarian singer Tsvetanka Varimezova and her husband, piper Ivan Varimezov.

Seattle Times arts writer

Northwest Folklife Festival

May 27-30 at Seattle Center, Seattle; suggested donation $10 per person, $20 per family (www.nwfolklifefestival.org).

The Northwest Folklife Festival, which takes place at Seattle Center Memorial Day weekend, May 27-30, has announced a Bulgarian theme for its 2011 program.

A highlight of the Bulgarian focus is an exhibit of photographs, "Voices & Images from Bulgaria: 1966-1979," taken by Martin Koenig, founder of the Balkan Arts Center in New York. Koenig first went to Bulgaria 40 years ago with a letter of introduction from Margaret Mead. According to a news release from Northwest Folklife, Koenig's village photographs document "a life that no longer exists." An exhibit catalog will be available for sale and Koenig will give talks and discuss his field work at the festival's Narrative Stage.

Also on tap is Bulgarian singer Tsvetanka Varimezova and her husband, piper Ivan Varimezov, along with their two daughters on vocals and tambura. As always, the festival will host a Balkan participatory dance featuring local Balkan and Bulgarian dance bands as well as workshops, panel discussions, lectures and children's activities. More information on these activities will be made available at www.nwfolklifefestival.org as the festival approaches.

In addition to the Bulgarian program, the festival offers a Northwest Stories component, which opens Friday, May 27, at the Charlotte Martin Theater. The evening showcases the variety of ways stories are told, through performance, dance and song. It draws on talent from the Seattle Storytellers Guild, Hugo House, Jack Straw Productions, Pongo Teen Writing Project, Voices Rising, SPLAB and the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen College.

The festival also brings back the All Ages | All Day Showcase at Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum on Sunday, May 29, featuring the 8-Bit Showcase, in which "chiptune" musicians repurpose old Game Boys and video-game systems, using the limited 8-bit tones to make original music.

Paul de Barros: 206-464-3247 or pdebarros@seattletimes.com

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