The Bulgarian folk singer Stefka Sabotinova has died at the age of 80.
She was a member of the choir of Hristo Kutev Ensemble and of the Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices female vocal choir for years.
Stefka Sabotinova was born in Thrace, Bulgaria's large southern plain. Her native village Rozov Kladenets (Rose Well) is no longer there -- it lies at the bottom of a huge dam. The signer however, often revisits the sweet memories of its beautiful nature. She calls that lost place, a Paradise, surviving today in folk songs only. Most of her songs Stefka learned from her grandmother. Her granny had in fact borrowed some of them from a once famous local singer who had migrated to Bulgaria from Greece. With this priceless musical capital Stefka Sabotinova ran for a place in the prestigious state folk song and dance ensemble Fillip Koutev. Back in 1954 when she was just 21, her original song selection and magnificent voice did impress the selection panel. She was immediately selected, and composer Fillip Koutev arranged some of the songs she brought. They are still part of the ensemble's programs though its one-time soloist.