CULTURE

MUMMERS, CATS AND CANARIES

For over 10 years Yambol, the city in southeastern Bulgaria, has been the host of a major street festival attended by dozens of groups of mummers from all over Bulgaria. Usually, it is held at the end of February or the beginning of March, and from its beginning it has included an international photography exhibition of mummers and carnivals called Kukerlandia. In 2018, the Vagabond Magazine Special Prize went to Ekaterina Staromanova from Sofia.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

WAITING FOR THE GOATS: NEW MEMORY FROM OLD BULGARIA, An excerpt from a memoir

My gaze passes onto the other hill, Kalakoch, the kale and its mysterious banks and ditches. The place could have been a Thracian hillfort and some say it was later used as a refuge when the Goths and the Huns and the Avar tribes streamed across the Danube to raid the Byzantine Empire. After that it was a place of quarry for building stone and a tryst for young lovers. Out with the sheep they would pick around the stones and pots and tell stories.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

TIHOMIR STOYANOV

Photography has of course changed beyond recognition since the digital revolution. Everyone with a smart phone now considers him or herself to be a photographer, and there is already a generation of young people who not only have no idea what a "darkroom" as opposed to Adobe Lightroom means, but who take Instagram to be the ultimate tool for disseminating visual statements ranging from the political to the selfies taken in front of some sunny beach or secluded waterfall.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THIS DRUM BEATS LIKE A HEART, A travelogue

I wake up with the increasingly sticky morning heat and the crushing smell of the traditional feijoada's black beans with pork that Suzanna is already stirring in the tiny kitchen. Suzanna is the live-in maid. All middle-class households have one here – just because they can. Ours is 22, with warm sparkly eyes and three kids, the youngest of whom she had at 16. Preta (Portuguese for black), she says, poking an index finger at her chest.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

YOU'LL TAKE THE HIGH ROAD

The open road is unpredictable, it could take you anywhere and a return ticket is not guaranteed. Georgieff’s road takes us into a realm both familiar and unsettling, of classic Scotland and of another hidden, interior Scotland that takes you by surprise.

This is a realm of broom and mist, ruined castles and time-nibbled remains of crofts, burns and lochs, and oceanic waters that fill and empty and refill the land ceaselessly. And everywhere – the ever-shifting sky of steel-grey. It is a sky you don’t see on the European continent.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE TEXTURE OF JOY: A STOWAWAY STORY, An excerpt

In many ways, you could say that Justine never really left Ghana, even with all the ships, even with all his time in Bahia. Calling himself Sankofa was just another thread stitching him back to home. In his kitchen in Salvador, when I visited, there was a plastic container sitting on a shelf next to jars of raw cane sugar and cacao nibs. He tilted it to show me what was inside. "I’m making banku," he explained, as water washed over the fermenting cornmeal dough. "It will be ready in a few days." He still speaks fluent Fante even though most of his days are spent in Portuguese.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

JEWISH BULGARIA EXHIBITION GOES TO LONDON

Bulgaria, one of Europe's least known lands, famously did not deport about 48,000 Jews during the Second World War. In 1943, before it had emerged that Nazi Germany would be losing the war, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, a German satellite, failed to do what was expected of it – despite all the plans, the array of barges and the waiting cattle cars. Who is to take the credit for the unprecedented rescue: the Communist Party, the Orthodox Church, the king, a bunch of forthright MPs who openly opposed the planned deportations, or the power of Bulgaria's civil society?

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE MASTER, An excerpt from a short story

It was the winter of 1980, the year of my birth and of my grandfather's death, when Grandma Nelly first put on Dencho's Dress, as she used to call it, and never took it off again. I remember she even used to wear it at night and sleep in it, with her arms crossed over her chest, as though to embrace herself as strongly and as tightly as possible, tucking her fingers underneath her ribcage. When I asked her why she did that, she would smile and say it was a way for her to embrace two people at once—my grandfather and herself.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THE MASTER, An excerpt from a short story

It was the winter of 1980, the year of my birth and of my grandfather's death, when Grandma Nelly first put on Dencho's Dress, as she used to call it, and never took it off again. I remember she even used to wear it at night and sleep in it, with her arms crossed over her chest, as though to embrace herself as strongly and as tightly as possible, tucking her fingers underneath her ribcage. When I asked her why she did that, she would smile and say it was a way for her to embrace two people at once—my grandfather and herself.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment