Valery: Mommy, Mommy, where is Daddy?
Zlatina: I don’t know, go look for him. I’ll take one of the babies.
Zlatina and Ivo are proud parents of all four of their children – Marin (5), Valery (3) and twins Theo and Sia who will soon turn two months. The interview with December’s Family of the month took place at their home and we are grateful for their hospitality.
/Photographer Minko Minev enters./
Minko: Coming here felt like magic. I didn’t ring but the door opened by itself, I didn’t know which floor to go to and I was met at the stairs.
Zlatina: Now, it is important that you continue with this magic, so that our house looks in perfect order on the pictures. Where is Valery?
Pepi: He is under the desk, playing and hiding.
Zlatina: I was counting and I thought: “One child is missing”.
Babysitter Pepi helps them for the children. Sometimes, she accompanies Marin and Valery to their lessons with Dessy Markova at Modo’s programme “The Little Musician”. Their home is beautiful, cosy and full of beds… just like in the seven dwarfs’ house.
Didi: Valery, which one is your favourite instrument?
Valery: The fute. (“flute” – Ed.)
Zlatina: Which one would you like to play? You wanted… Please, stop with the flute, you woke up Sia and now she will cry.
Valery (to the crying baby): Why are you crying? Don’t cry. It’s pointless to cry.
Didi: What do you play when you’re with Dessy?
Valery: Also on the fute. Where is Teo? I want to give him a kiss.
Zlatina: Marin is always very eager to attend Dessy’s lessons. He wanted to play the piano since he was two. He used to wake up, we would leave him on the bed and he started playing a small toy piano. We tried piano lessons when he was three and a half but we were told he was too young.
Zlatina: Tell me, sweety, is it interesting where you go for the Little Musician?
Valery: It is not little, it is BIG.
Zlatina: But is it interesting?
Zlatina: What do you do there?
Valery: We’re playing.
Zlatina: Your projects are really nice. I like that in musical education you’re implementing ways to attract children’s attention. And by the way, your musical house is really cool, it is great what you have done with it.
Someone bashes something on the floor. Possible suspects are either Minko, or Valery.
Minko: It wasn’t me.
Zlatina: We’ll stare at you in an accusatory way.
Valery: Can I write some letters for you, Didi? I’ll write you mine.
Didi: What do they like at the Pillow Concerts, how do you think?
Ivo: When there is some sort of a theatrical action, it really engages them.
Didi: Actually, how many concerts have you visited?
Zlatina: Many as last year we covered at least 70% of the concerts and this year we have not missed a single one. And we’ve been before, too, so perhaps 10-15. Is it possible?
Didi: Maybe, maybe more…
Zlatina: Let’s check…
Zlatina brings the programmes of all concerts they have attended – a large pile and it turns out not all of them are in it.
Didi: Which ones are your favorite?
Zlatina: Marin, tell me which ones are your favorite Pillow Concerts. You don’t want to, I’ll say then. I like all of them especially when there is… I remember one with a flute, jazz was performed by this lady. The Virtuoso concert, I think, when there were different musicians coming from all sides. It was a great party, the kids danced and she was really into the flute and it was good, a wonderful party, really. On this one the kids rushed off dancing, they had great fun. But all concerts are very nice, I can’t say which one is our top one. We missed the one with the marimba or at least I did. Did you go?
Ivo: Yes, yes, I did.
Zlatina: Which one is your favorite?
Ivo: Oh, I don’t know, I have a short-term memory.
Zlatina: The one that was at the Military club, the crowded one, was really enjoyable. The conductor (Zhorzh Dimitrov – Ed.) was great in communication with the children and then we talked a little with him. The concert was super funny with all of the animals. I think you can repeat this concert over and over again – it will never bore us. Something else I really like are the articles at Dnevnik.bg with information about each concert.
Minko (to Marin): I got you! I could finally take a picture of you!
Didi: What else would you like or expect from the Pillow Concerts?
Zlatina: What would we like to see? Organ, although I don’t know if you can have them at the Bulgaria Hall.
Ivo: Honestly, because our children are constantly running around during the concerts, I have wondered if it is possible to organize it so they can play and run and at the same time those who want to listen to stay in front and really listen. Perhaps having some sort of a children’ play area where they can play and romp. An area to play and an area to listen. Because there is no way for us to stop them for 45 minutes to move around. But we want to present them with the opportunity, if they want to, they should be able to take it. So this was what I’ve had in my head. As some sort of a relief for the parents. People don’t have the attitude to set kids free during the concerts – they must stay and listen. I let ours go, I can’t really stop them actually, but what I mean is that many people hold their kids “stay, listen, sit here”. For me, it is important for them to hear and when they like something they’ll stop and hear it. Not everyone would agree about this kind of freedom for the children.
Zlatina: I think, though, that it is nice when people go to a concert to teach children that they are indeed at a concert and not in the park to play while some people there have decided to accidentally play music in the meantime.
Ivo: Yes, yes, but it depends on the age.
Zlatina: Even with the age. I think that if there is some type of a theatrical element, some actors to pop up from here and there – it will be interesting. Because I, for example, tell them stories when we are together. And while talking I can see on their faces that they feel through it. I’m making it all up because I’m new to the music, too and learning with them. Yes, this is true – who showed us what classical music is when we were little? “Classical music is for grannies”. I learned at school that you should not clap during the movements, but at the end.
Ivo: You can make signs at the Pillow Concerts like “Clap now”.
Marin: Clap now, clap now!
Zlatina: The kids will have fun with such things. Some signs with pictures.
Valery: Ciap now! (“clap” – Ed.)
Zlatina: What I really like at the Pillow Concerts is that at the end they can touch the instruments and see for themselves that these are normal things, like getting some chewing gum from the store. You can play the piano or the violin and there are so accessible! It is not something that very little people do. And, one more thing: it would be nice to have some sort of education for the parents. I’m very intrigued by the music but there is no musical explanation for me.
Didi: And now I’ll ask about something that is not connected to the Pillow Concerts. What do you do for a living?
Zlatina: Mr. Mihailov has a very musical job.
Ivo: Yup, that’s right. I’m a finance manager in the sense that I manage some money.
Zlatina: And I manage people. Seriously, I work at in a company for sustainability (denkstatt Bulgaria – Ed.) and we are real innovators in Bulgaria because sustainability is popular in the West but in Bulgaria people ask “what are you talking about?” Our team’s goal is to increase life’s quality, of our life and of our children – it is a super interesting job. It is a bit like what you do – children and parents to be together in such a setting is part of the life’s quality enhancement.
The interview is about to end and Minko has still no luck in taking a picture of all of them at the same time.
Minko: Would I be able to take a picture of all of you or at least part of you…
Ivo: Let’s try, boys, come here…
Minko: …come here to beat your Dad!
Ivo: Don’t, it will really happen!
Zlatina: Children don’t get jokes. Look, there is a little dove flying away. /The picture was finally taken. /
Interview by Didi Brankova, coordinator of Modo’s events.
Photography by Minko Minev, http://minkominev.com