“Schumi Maritza”

Pavel Naydenov

The project’s name “Schumi Maritza” uses the title of the first Bulgarian national anthem. It deals with the concept of nationonal anthems as a political instrument. What is the meaning of a national anthem these days? Who makes use of it and for what purposes? What are the criteria for a national anthem? What is the value of it in relation to national identity?

“Schumi Maritza” was the first national anthem of the Kingdom of Bulgaria between 1886 and 1944, which had been installed after more than 400 years of Ottoman history and Bulgaria being part of the Ottoman empire. After the Second World War the Communist Party changed the national anthem. The reason for this was that the song “Schumi Maritza” was perceived as a profascist anthem. In the last decades, after 1989, people who could be identified as part of the right wing have repeatedly suggested that “Schumi Maritza” should be re-elected for the national anthem of the Republic of Bulgaria. The project is a reaction to right-wing politics, nationalism, racism and xenophobic movements in the country. As a political symbol, the anthem serves as a powerful populistic tool in favor of nationalist circles, which thus arouse feelings of patriotism in society and especially among young people. The project “Schumi Maritza” is a project based on music. It is an attempt to reshape the strong foundation of the well-known song by using the same lyrics and variations of the musical material, and such changing the perspective. It is a provocation. The message of the new composition is to resist nationalistic ideologies and to expose and criticize the romanticized, utopian image of war hidden in the lyrics and musical structure of the formal national anthem. The project includes research on national anthems (in the Bulgarian and international context), musical pieces and unconventional musical scores.

Postcard with the music score of the first national anthem of Knyazhestvo Bulgaria

"Schumi Maritza" , 1913; published by Royalty Bookstore “Iv. B. Kasparov"


June 2020
Vienna/ Bulgaria
Pavel Naydenov