Formerly known by the overly literal moniker 'The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir', Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares have been exercising their sublime and dissonant harmonies for over half a century. It wasn't until their unlikely signing however, in 1986 to 4AD - a label known for its underground rock music at the time (Pixies, Throwing Muses, Bauhaus) that they reached a global audience. This 20 or so strong female choir also went on to influence the likes of Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins.
On first sight of the over-the-top traditional dress, you'd be forgiven if Borat popped into your head at least once, but any associations with the calamitous Kazakh journalist don't last long. Ancient folk songs, developed over time, sung with extraordinary purity and power, plunbing the depths of sadness and the heights of ecstasy make for a spine-tingling, aurally sensational experience, and some! Punctuating the emotional rollercoaster, are occasional lighthearted screeches and titters - a reminder of the folk tradition the choir come from.
The Barbican has played host to these Mysterious Bulgarian Voices for several years now with shows selling out. With only a month to go before this year's show, we'd advise prompt booking.