Rumen Radev Awarded the Honorary Sign of the Head of State to the American Ethnographer Martin Koenig
Today a lot of people outside Bulgaria admire our folklore and this is due to the people who accepted as their cause to study and popularize the Bulgarian folklore and one of them is Martin Koenig. This is what Head of State Rumen Radev said at a ceremony at 2 Dondukov street, at which he awarded the American scholar and researcher the Honorary Sign of the President of Bulgaria. The award is given to him for the American scholar’s contribution to preserving and popularizing the Bulgarian folklore art.
In the Head of State’s words, Martin Koenig is not only a prestigious scholar and researcher, but is also Bulgaria’s honest and committed friend and the country’s successful ambassador in the world. “The prestigious award I presented him with symbolizes the recognition of all Bulgarians of his commitment and his cause, which we highly appreciate,” Rumen Radev further said.
The Head of State highlighted that the American ethnographer came to Bulgaria for the first time more than 50 years ago and until this day he is committed to the boundless universe of the Bulgarian spirit, history and art.
Rumen Radev recalled that Martin Koenig is the person who discovered Valya Balkanska while she was still 24 years of age, and the recording he made in the classroom of a village school, years later became one of the visiting cards of mankind on the Voyager space probe. “And this is not all – from then on Mr. Koenig has organized a lot of exhibitions not only in Bulgaria, but also abroad, which popularize the Bulgarian spirit, the Bulgarian folklore,” the President added.
Under the auspices of Vice-president Iliana Iotova Martin Koenig’s exhibition “Echo from the Balkans. The 21st century: Portraits and sounds from Bulgaria” will be presented in Sofia. The exhibition is organized in partnership with the National Art Gallery and includes 73 photos from seven Balkan countries, the largest number is from Bulgaria. They are collected in a big photo album, which is complemented by 2 CDs with authentic folklore.
Martin Koenig in turn thanked for the support extended by the President and Vice-president, and also for the opportunity to come to know Bulgaria. “I got an unusual opportunity, which I highly appreciate and which had an impact on my entire life and totally changed it,” he said and added that he owes a lot to the Bulgarian musicians and singers he has worked with and their relatives who supported him in his current project.