Emil Dimitrov (Емил Димитров)

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December 23, 1940 - March 30, 2005

Emil Dimitrov was born in 1940 in Pleven in a family illusionists - his father, Dimitar Dimitrov performed under the name Fakir Miti with his mother Anastasia astisting under the name of Madame Sisi. The couple divorced when Emil was young with his mother returnig to her native country France. Young Emil was fond of classical music and painting, and was even approved to study acting at VITIZ Theatre in 1960. In the same year he made his debut as a singer in a concert hosted by Costa Tsonev and perform their song ‘Арлекино’ (Arlequino), accompanied on accordion. This marks the beginning of his singing career. That career received a dent when he was arrested in 1964 with 26 other men (amongst whom actor Georgi Partsalev) and accused of having "perverted homosexual relationships". The following process was regarderd as showprocess from the regime so that "people will understand how decadent the Western culture is". This did not stop Emil from releasing a compilation debut album on the State label Balkanton in 1965, gaining him much popularity. To counter the gay rumours he has a shortlived marriage in 1967 with Greta Gantcheva but after one year he divorces her and marries again in 1968 with Marieta (with whom he has a son).

In 1970 he released one of his biggest hits, ‘Моя страна, моя България’ (My country, my Bulgaria), which later became the song of the century. A trip to France brought him on contact with Charles Aznavour and Dalida who he joined on stage. In Italy he joined the stage with Gianni Morandi. Meanwhile the song "My country, my Bulgaria" was translated into "Monica" in French, German, Italian, Spanish and released onto the Western European market. In 1972 he has a second European chartsucces with the ‘Julia’ coming from the album ‘Dance with’. The album was a break with the more traditional chanson-style he had in the sixties and was heavily influenced by psychedelic beatmusic he encountered in the west. Emil’s fame in neighbouring Russia grew rapidly when young unknown singer Alla Puchageva performed ‘Arlequino’at the international festival “Golden Orpheus”.

Since 1999 Emil Dimitrov was not actively involved in music because of his bad health after a stroke. In 2001, director Stilian Ivanov made the film ‘Glory, love, loneliness!’ about the life of Emil Dimitrov. On March 30, 2005 Dimitrov died in Sofia leaving behind a repertoire of over 400 compositions, of which 280 original Bulgarian popsongs.

On the web:

- Emil's website: http://www.emil-dimitrov.com/

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

- Claude Nougaro (France)

- Raphael (Spain)

What do we think:

DB: The king of Bulgarian song. Emil has an almost holy status in his native country but is hardly known outside. Which is too bad since he has a great voice, can handle several genres, delivered some great funky raregrooves and some classic chanson/beat with a Bulgarian twist. Some call him the Sinatra of the East but in fact he has more of a Slavic Tony Bennett. Thanks to Ivo for bringing Emil under our attention and Yurin for selling us copies of his classic albums. Which almost all are called Emil, which makes it a bit complicated.


- Emil Dimitrov - 1965

- Sings Emil Dimitrov - 1967

- Emil - 1968

♪♪♪♪ - Moja Strana - 1970

♪♪♪♪♪ - Dance With Emil - 1972

- Emil Dimitrov - 1973

- Emil  - 1974

- Емил - 1976

- Emil - 1978

- One life only - 1982

- Accordion - 1985

- Private Eye - 1991

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Central Europe