The Songs and Life of Línka Gékova Gérgova
from the Village of Bístritsa
(Sofia Region), Bulgaria

by Martha Forsyth

LÍNKA GÉRGOVA (1904-1992) was a remarkable singer from the village of Bístritsa (located near the capitol city, Sofia) in Bulgaria. Daughter of two consummate singers, Línka’s own repertoire contained at least 200 songs.

MARTHA FORSYTH (American folklorist and musicologist) has compiled Línka’s extensive song repertoire, and set it against Linka’s own description of her life and of the traditions that formed the background for her songs, to make a one-of-a-kind book:

Listen, Daughter, and Remember Well . . .
(Слушай, щерко, и добре запомни . . . )

This 740-page book, published in 1996 by the St. Kliment Ohridski University Press (Sofia University Press, ISBN 954-07-0765-X), is a completely bi-lingual edition (Bulgarian and English).

  • Part I is devoted to Línka’s life, and is narrated almost completely in her own words (very entertaining reading!).
  • Part II presents the songs that she knew, arranged according to the occasion on which they were to be sung. Each section (dance songs, songs for particular holidays, etc.) includes introductory remarks that give more information about the occasion in question (again, told mostly in Línka’s own words), and information about the musical or textual aspects particular to that genre.

Throughout the book, the narrative is enriched with drawings, photographs, and musical notation. An accompanying compact disc includes samples of most of the melodies presented, plus a sample of Línka’s song dictation and a portion of a conversation with her. Martha has compiled a unique in-depth study of a singer, her life, her songs, and her village’s culture. While the work is carefully and thoroughly documented (from Martha’s many hours of recorded conversations), thanks to Línka’s engaging story-telling it is conversational in style, and eminently readable.


See or hear some samples from the book:
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Ordering information

The cost of the book (including CD) is $50.
$5 shipping and handling within the U.S.
Mass. residents please add $3. sales tax
Contact me for information on shipping
outside the U.S., or special cases.
In 2021 the least expensive shipping
to the UK was around $45.

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