This was going to be a nice, orderly, immaculately-researched celebration of Věra Špinarová’s birthday today, but this is Pop Music we’re dealing with here…and whenever was that a nice, orderly business?
I say this because I was reminded, when looking over my ‘Birthday List’, of the fact that I’d narrowly missed the birthday of the Bulgarian artist, Margarita Hranova, who was born just two days before Věrka back in December 1951, making that a quite remarkable three days in the history of Eastern Bloc Female Pop and with Valérie Čižmárová about to come along only just over a month later towards the end of January 1952 those were three very Soulful voices being born in very rapid succession somewhere in the Eastern Europe of the early 1950s.
It is a very great pity I missed Margarita’s birthday, since her ‘Sviat’ from 1983 was one of the first songs I encountered in the Summer of last year, when I was in the midst of my first rash of GOTGE-related discoveries, that indicated just how much Soul the artists of the Eastern Bloc could possess, musically. When it comes to Soul, as a ‘Northern’ fan, I do tend to go more for the danceable 60s and 70s material, but just occasionally, the odd bit of slower-tempo more ‘R&B-ish’ material from the 80s does please.
…and this, from a decade previously, is once again at the down-tempo end of proceedings, but it is a very pleasant tune, shows off Margarita’s fabulous voice and the video illustrates what I have been saying about the potential of locations associated with the GOTGE from the Pop Music Tourism point of view. Bulgaria has the added bonus of the seaside, too! I also think, when looking at Eastern Bloc music videos in colour from the early-/mid-1970s, that the fashions and colours would still look ‘hot’ and contemporary now. Are we all early- and mid-1970s Eastern Europeans now?
As is the way of the aforementioned ‘GOTGE-Land’ I have once again fallen victim to ‘those’ related YouTube videos down the right-hand side of the screen and goodness only knows how this name remained a closed book to me in the course of my initial researching-around last year – Svetla Stoeva. If one takes into account belonging to the Male of the species it can fairly easily be seen why this first encounter made me go ‘woah!’ only just over an hour ago as I write. This might be in black and white, but that 1973 look is still ‘hot! hot! hot!’…and the tune is wonderful.
As a Northern Soul fan, this, from the preceding year, has to be considered ‘Northern’ of the highest order…or…as I have alluded to previously in GOTGE…’Eastern Soul’.
Given that Svetla – in my ‘first (unforgettable!) encounter’ – was wearing those sexy, over-the-knee boots, as frequently modelled by Sally Carr, I should have known that she’d have been one of the many artists from all over the place who were dipping into the Middle Of The Road song-book, here performing her cover of ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ in 1971.
…which, since Věrka’s birthday is the occasion-in-hand, brings us full-circle to ‘Táta Jan’ – Věrka’s own cover of ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ – an appropriately partying song, for her birthday, so, Všechno nejlepší k narozeninám, Věrka!…and thank you for (indirectly) bringing Svetla Stoeva to my attention!
Finally, like Valinka was one of the younger ones of the GOTGE generation and was one of the first, sadly, to depart this Earth, so was Svetla, so it would seem. Also, why on Earth didn’t such a hugely marketable star as this have more of a Pop career?
Phew! There are a few bases covered there! Now I’ve got to get back to getting it together to get ready for ‘Miluška-mas’ (Ms. Voborníková’s birthday)…erm…sorry…Christmas!
It’s a chaotic time of year, all right!