Ladies of Jazz & Soul (Bulgaria)
Kamelia Todorova - vocal
Ruth Koleva - vocal
Militsa Gladnishka – vocal
The Fingertones (Bulgaria)
Arnau Garofe - saxophone;
Philip Alexandrov - piano
Bogomil Enchev - drums
Svetoslav Nedelchev - bass
Todor Bakardzhiev - trumpet
Petko Drenikov - guitar
“Ladies of Jazz” is a project of Kamelia Todorova, Militsa Gladnishka and Ruth Koleva, with which they invite all fans of soul, funk and jazz music to an event uniting three generations of Bulgarian musicians. The three singers will present a special programme highlighting the most intensive nuances of the world women's jazz scene in recent decades. In addition to original music and iconic songs such as “Whispered Dreams” and “Let this world be in love”, the programme includes versions of songs by Ella Fitzgerald and Erica Badu.
Ruth Koleva, extraordinary as she is, cannot be included in any standards. Born into the family of a famous weightlifting coach and a painter, she grew up in Bahrain, India and Thailand. She has been singing since her childhood. The first prize in a competition came when she was 13, and two years later she made her first recording (in New York). Ruth Koleva then decided to develop her career in Bulgaria, starting with collaborations in different musical styles and finding her own way path of development with songs like Close, I See, Oceans. Looking back at 2009, her song Scream My Name was featured in the MTV World Chart Express, and only a year ago Candy Coated became part of the selection of MTV USA. And this is just a brief history of her songs that sound and play around the world. Her quest for a more extensive musical expression led to projects with the Sofia Philharmonic such as Confidence and Truth, produced by Georgi Linev, KAN WAKAN. She represented Bulgaria at the Eurosonic Festival in Groningen (the Netherlands) as a winner of one of the major awards in the Spring Radio Competition of the Bulgarian National Radio. She won the award for best jazz vocalist from JAJ Radio in Japan. In 2018, her story with Bansko Jazz Festival began, when she closed the festival with her band. At this year’s edition (collaborating with other inspiring artists) she will be part of the festival opening.
Militsa Gladnishka is an actress and singer. She graduated from the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts “Krastyo Sarafov” with a degree in Puppet Theater Acting. Simultaneously, she studied opera singing with Reni Penkova. Militsa Gladnishka works in television productions, on the theater stage, is a dubbing artist in films for the small and big screen. Colourful, bright and impressive, she easily moves into different musical worlds and is constantly looking for new challenges she is able to handle with ease.
As a singer she collaborates with many of the best jazz musicians on the Balkans like Lubo Denev, Angel Zaberski, Vasil Spasov, Ventsislav Blagoev, as well as with the jazz formations Mikhail Yosifov Sextet, Antoni Donchev and the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio. She has participated in programmes of the Pleven Philharmonic, Plovdiv Opera, Burgas Opera, Stara Zagora Opera, Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra. She has two nominations (for Askeer Theatre Award and Icarus Awards) for theatrical music for the performances Escapes and The Last Man.
In 2021 the latest musical performance of the Ruse opera Mess in the Opera will be released, in which Militsa Gladnishka collaborated with Nencho Balabanov, the arrangements are made by Angel Zaberski and Mihail Yosifov, the conductor is Dimitar Kosev, and the script is by Simeon Simeonov. Militsa's new programme with Mikhail Yosifov's sextet EuFURIA is coming out this year, to which we can add projects such as Throwing Opera into Jazz and Life Like a Movie.
Kameliya Todorova is not only one of the most popular and influential Bulgarian musicians, she is an internationally acclaimed artist. Her excellent vocal technique and unique singing style allow her to perform in different styles like Jazz, Pop, Rock, Soul, Funk and R&B. Her songs „Room on wheels“, „Don’t look like that at me, boy“, „Whispered dreams“ (The last taxis) belong to the golden Bulgarian hits. Het elegant, beautiful singing and a stylish presence at the stage are the trade mark of Kameliya Todorova. Her popularity could be compared to the fame of the modern pop stars which is not typical for a jazz performer in our modern societies with diverse musical cultures. The singer has received many invitations from different music festivals, show programmes and prestigious events in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Portugal, India, Malta, England, the USA.
She is collaborating with the best Bulgarian musicians and artists like the pioneer of Bulgarian jazz, Lyudmil Georgiev, Milcho Leviev, Mario Stanchev, Antoni Donchev, Rumen Toskov, Zhivko Petrov, Angel Zeberski-junior, Milen Kukusharov, Simeon Shterev, Teodosi Spasov, Patar Slavov, MIchail Yosifov, Vili Stoyanov.
Kameliya Todorova has performed together with jazz legends like Don Cherry, Albert Mangelsdorf, the Stan Getz Trio, Charles Mingus from the Mingus Dinasty Band. She has collaborated on the same stage with musicians like Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Billy Preston, Luis Belson.
As one of the leading vocal performers and true inspiration for the new generations of musicians and artists, Kameliya Todorova was invited to share her experience and to support the development of the new talents as university lecturer at the New Bulgarian University.Kameliya Todorova is not only one of the founders and supporters of Bansko Jazz Festival, she participated in the festival programme at every festival’s edition.