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Georgi Minchev – life, sung to the rhythm of rock

We, the Bulgarians, are such people that we rarely unite around a person with a single good opinion of him. Well, the late Bulgarian King of Rock and Roll – Georgi Minchev, is one of the few happy people about whom, during his lifetime and after his death, Bulgarians – and especially musicians, speak only good.

And he was not an angel. On the contrary, he confessed all earthly sins to himself, and from this confession, uttered frankly by a “nepukist,” they somehow became “half a sin” and made everyone smile and love him as a loved one.

Georgi Minchev, on the stage of “Golden Orpheus” (Photo: Archive Dir.bg)

Georgi Minchev experienced everything, or almost everything in his short life. And he sang everything he experienced, or vice versa – he experienced everything he sang. His short life went through all the “notes” of the ladder – up, down, but always passionately, in the rhythms of rock.

That’s why his fans will always associate him with the nostalgic time when “rock’n’roll was young”. And he left young – only 57. He went to the “white silence” of the Otherworld on February 18, 2001, stricken by an unequal battle with cancer.

Today marks exactly 20 years since the death of Georgi Minchev.

For years, musicians have honored his memory with “Flower for Gosho”. Before the pandemic, the rock blues festival in South Park in Sofia was becoming a real spontaneous happening of love between people. Something rare in today’s difficult times. Both musicians and the audience sang from the heart, with sincere enthusiasm, in memory of the man who became a symbol of rock and roll in our country.

Singer Milena Slavova on the stage of the festival “Flower for Gosho” (Source: Official site of the singer Georgi Minchev)

Georgi Minchev lives in the memory of many not only with his songs, but also with those confessional interviews that can serve as lessons for many.

“I lived my life the way few people in our country have managed to live it. And I ate, and drank, and I went after women, I even managed to sing! I never imagined that I would be written in encyclopedias and I did not do it because of that. I never wanted to punch like that – head first. I am on the principle of “Pass away the simpleton with contempt.” I’m just over things. I am not interested in the material side of life. We are not of this generation doing business. We are fools, enthusiasts.

Well said. But the so-called “fools” and “enthusiasts” have always been the engine of spirituality in human history. The eternal “pieces” of Georgi Minchev expressed this spirituality without shame and high pretense. In an understandable, simple way. In the language of ordinary people. But they touched the soul deep inside its “lining”, torn here and there by the troubles of life, and treated it with music. Gosho’s songs excited precisely because everyone found their story in them.

He was born on April 9, 1943 with the baptismal name Georgi Kurtev. Minchev is his artistic pseudonym. Few people know that he graduated… Foreign Trade. But his destiny was preparing another field, not to work as a merchant.

Even as a student he grabbed the statuette of “Golden Orpheus” with the song of Boris Karadimchev and Bogomil Gudev “White Silence” – an iconic song for several generations of Bulgarians to this day. Another hit from that time was “The Snow of Memory”.

His first solo performances date back to the early 60’s. At that time Joro Minchev sang in a duet with Biser Kirov, was a soloist at “Studio 5” and played with the legendary rock band “Bandaratsite”, founded by brothers Dimitar and Vacho Milevi. It also includes Vacho’s classmate Kiril Marichkov and his friend from the neighborhood Petar Tsankov. Together with them Gosho Minchev performs the songs of Cliff Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.

After the “rebel” group disintegrated, Marichkov and Tsankov founded the “Crickets”. It was to the accompaniment of the new group and string quartet “Dimov” that Georgi Minchev sang “White Silence”, which, in addition to grabbing the Grand Prize of “Orpheus”, became the Melody of the Year ’67.

Photo: Archive Dir.bg.

At the end of the 60’s the hits of Georgi Minchev “The Snow of Memory” and “Silver Flocks” sounded on the Bulgarian radio, whose refrains we still remember today. In 1968/69 Minchev joined the group “Silver Bracelets”, created four years earlier by Valentin Stefanov-Valyo Hryvnata. The group is very successful not only in Bulgaria but also abroad.

Georgi Minchev himself went to study film and television directing in Belgium. After graduating in 1977, he returned to Bulgaria, but somehow things did not go easily. He wants to release an album, but he has a lot of problems in his life. “Another” man is ruining his family. He fights for his love, but fails to save it. He later admitted in an interview:

“I am just an ordinary man. I’m not a downloader at all – this is a role I’ve invented and I continue to play. In fact, I’m pretty shy! When I see a woman, in most cases I burst out, or at least blush.

These confessions of the singer made everyone who communicated with him feel so close that he opened his soul to him. There is hardly a person under the sun who at least once in his life has not felt “alone at the bar” and has said in his mind “Ah, his old mother”… In other words, “how did I deserve this” ?!

Although it seemed like a swear word, the phrase was not perceived vulgarly, but as a spontaneous expression of feelings that erupted at some point in life in each of us. We get angry so often, but we are ashamed to admit it. And he wasn’t ashamed to express it the way he could best – in song.

In the 80’s Georgi Minchev took on a new field – as a journalist. Between 1980 and 1982 he hosted the radio show “Songs of the Week” on Radio Sofia. In the period 1982 and 1984 he was the host of the Youth Competition for a funny song on BNT. In the late 80’s Georgi Minchev finally managed to release his debut album “Bulgarian Rock”. It includes his emblematic “songs” “Rock lesson”, “Almost midnight”, “Autumn in Sozopol”, “What times” and others. By the end of his life he released four more albums: “Rock and Roll Veterans”, “Balance Sheet”, “BG Rock” and “White Silence”.

1992 Petar Gyuzelev and Georgi Minchev at a concert of the group “Old Muzzles” (Photo: BulFoto)

In 1991, together with Petar Gyuzelev, they created the group “Old Muzzles”, where he became a frontman, and in 1998, together with Razvigor Popov – the group “Minerals”. The names of the groups are eloquently allegorical, prompted by the inimitable sense of self-irony that Georgi Minchev had. From that period is his iconic song “Blessed Years” – a cover of an American country tune, whose lyrics won many fans in our country.

With the above two mentioned groups, events happen that make the singer really happy. In “Old Muzzles” he works with Ivan Lechev, Ivaylo Kraychovski and Georgi Markov. The band participated in the festival in La Rochelle in 1992, and in 1994 released the album “Beer, Sex and Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Songs such as “Bulgarian Reggae”, “Spas’s Pub” and “Boyfriend Bonbon” became hits.

Few people know that with the group “Minerals” Georgi Minchev released an album with his songs in French – “Le Monde De Demain” / 2000 /. He is little known to the audience in Bulgaria, but the singer himself was very excited to realize his dream, to sing in French.

In 2000, the rock legend worked around the clock with musicians Ivan Lechev and Ivaylo Krajchovski on the long-awaited album “Tomorrow’s World”. Hundreds of songs sounded in Joro’s head, but he was already very exhausted from the disease and was angry with himself when he did not feel able to work. He was looking forward to his friends from the FSB to record the new songs in the studio as soon as possible… In fact, according to his closest ones, he was in a hurry because he foresaw the End…

Georgi Minchev passed away on February 18, 2001, after a long and very grueling battle with cancer. He bequeathed his guitar to his friend Vasco the Patch, who made a kind of worship with her at the grave of Jimi Hendrix in Seattle. The patch also became the main organizer of the annual music event dedicated to Georgi Minchev – “Flower for Gosho”, as well as the man who maintains the site of his late friend. Gosho’s memory is kept alive not by a “flower” but by a huge “bouquet” of his friends and admirers.

Musicologists have the expert opinion to classify Georgi Minchev as a master of blues, blues rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock and pop rock in our country. For ordinary Bulgarians he remained just Joro Minchev, and for those closer – just Gosho. Its absence is palpable not only on the rock scene, but above all – in the hearts of the “old rock muzzles”.

Today a street in the capital’s Reduta district is named after Georgi Minchev. The singer is also the hero of a short poem written in his memory in a collection of poems by Ivo Kazar, but what makes him unforgettable so many years after his death is the love for his music, sealed as a refrain in the hearts of thousands of his fans.

Georgi Minchev (Source: Official site of the singer)

A tribute to the memory of the singer, with a flower Love for Man Georgi Minchev, from Impressio!

Amy MARIANSKA