“Ivelina is a top singer of Bulgarian and world music; her vocal range is remarkably large. Her intelligence and erudition are evident, both on stage and outside of it. Her repertoire includes a variety of styles – classic jazz, pop, Turkish and Gypsy music, and Russian-Gypsy romances, which she interprets through modern covers. Because of all this, I see her as the best contemporary Bulgarian jazz-folk singer.” Todor Bakalov, PhD, Anthology of Bulgarian Folklore Musicians, volume II.
Ivelina Balcheva (a.k.a. Balcha) was born on the national day of music, October 1st, 1964 in Provadia, Bulgaria. She studied at the Pedagogical University of Shumen, majoring in Primary School Pedagogy, with a second major in Music and Singing.
Her career started in the early 1980s. At that time, she sang with different bands in her hometown. While studying at university, Balcheva created the first women jazz trio at the Institute for Primary School and Kindergarten Teachers in Dobrich. Till 1988 Ivelina built her professional career by working with the first private Big Band in the country, the Band of Varna, conducted by Dimitar Andreev. She then went on to play with the Big Band of Anatolii Vapirov, a world-class musician. In those early years, Balcha also worked with the Dixieland bands of Varna and Veliko Tarnovo.
In 1988 she won third prize at a competition for young performers in Sofia, where she met composer Zornitsa Popova. Zornitsa helped her to contact other well-known Bulgarian composers who appreciated her talent. This led to the recording and airing of Ivelina’s songs on the national radio. In 1989 Balcha moved to Bojurishte in the Sofia region. She has been living in Sofia since 1990 but she feels a “citizen” of the world and works with musicians and artists from Europe and Asia.
Hello friends! My name is Ivelina Balcheva. I am a 156 centimeters tall small woman with a big spirit, eyes so blue and brown hair. I speak Russian fluently, also English, but I speak my mother’s tongue, Bulgarian, the best. Please keep in mind that I sing in many languages, such as Russian, Kazakh, Roma and Turkish. I am also ready to experiment with other languages, for instance African. I respect the official language of the country I am visiting and I always prepare a song in the native language. I love sports, volleyball and ice-skating the most. I dance a lot and I do it well. I love flamenco, Bulgarian folklore, and authentic gypsy dances.