Ramo Bilyalov Yusainov, Clarinetist - CV

Hear RealAudio Clips of Ramo's music with the "Izvora" group:

Tune 1
Tune 2
Tune 3
Tune 4
Tune 5
Tune 6

Ramo Bilyalov Yusainov (birth name)
Radoslav Bonev Yulev (by passport)
Born May 10, 1934 in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

1945-1953: Ramo began singing at about the age of 11. His repertoire included Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Rom songs. He had no formal training in singing, but learned by listening and by practicing.

1953-1956: "Blagoevgrad Tobacco Industry Ensemble"
Director: Valentin Stoitsov
Ramo was simultaneously a member of both the Rom and the Bulgarian divisions of this ensemble, which was connected to the cigarette factory "Pirin." The Rom division performed Rom songs and dances, and the Bulgarian division, Bulgarian folk music and dance. Ramo was a singer and a dancer in both divisions, and became the leader of the line, or "vodach" in both as well. This ensemble was a "samodein kolektiv," in other words, amateur rather than professional. Expenses were covered, but they were not salaried. Each division had about 40 members. They regularly gave concerts in towns such as Blagoevgrad, Sandanski, Petrich, and Gotse Delchev. Once a year they participated in a regional competition, usually taking second place.

1956-1958: Ramo was in the army

1958-1969: "Blagoevgrad Tobacco Industry Ensemble"
After the army, Ramo continued with this same ensemble, but he had taken up clarinet (again, self-taught), and in a short time, became a clarinetist in the ensemble and no longer was singing and dancing for them.

1958-1982: Folk clarinetist and singer for weddings and restaurants. During this period, Ramo played at weddings most weekends, and in Blagoevgrad restaurants most weeknights. The wedding band consisted of 4 musicians (2 clarinet, 1 accordion, and 1 percussion), and performed not only in southwest Bulgaria, but in the Sofia, Montana, Ihtiman, and Yacoruda regions as well. The repertoire for the weddings and the restaurants was Bulgarian folk and Rom. The restaurant work involved various combinations of musicians over the years.

1963-1966: "Profsoyuzen Ensemble" Director: Ruichev
Ramo describes this ensemble as "halfway between an amateur and a professional ensemble." The members received an honorarium as well as their expenses. There were about 19 singers, dancers, and musicians.The music was Bulgarian folk. Ramo played clarinet for them.

1967-1982: "Specter 5"
Director: Konstantin Karakostov
This ensemble began as an ensemble for Bulgarian folk music and dance with about 30 members, but over the years metamorphosed into a group of about 14 singers and musicians, and although some Bulgarian folk music was still performed, the repertoire became largely "estradna" music, something which Ramo described as Bulgarian music of a lighter and more popular kind. This group was connected to a Blagoevgrad factory, as was typical for many ensembles during the Communist period. No salaries were paid, only performers' expenses. Concerts were regularly given throughout southwest Bulgaria. Ramo played clarinet.

1970: "Specter 5" went on a 2-week concert tour of Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.

1982-1984: "The Bulgarian Ensemble of the Central Club of Tripoli"
Tripoli, Libya
While working for 2 years in Libya, Ramo sang and played clarinet in a Bulgarian ensemble formed to entertain Bulgarians working in Libya. There were about 15 members, including singers, dancers, and musicians. They performed both Bulgarian and Macedonian folk music and traveled to various cities throughout Libya to give concerts.

1985-1987: Ramo was a member of another folk dance ensemble connected with a company (ZMK). This time, expenses and an honorarium were paid.

1984-1993: Ramo was a member of a band that regularly played at weddings in the Blagoevgrad and Sofia regions. The band consisted of Ramo on clarinet and vocals, and 4 other musicians (trumpet, accordion, guitar, and percussion). The repertoire was Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Rom folk music.

1993-present: Ramo has continued to regularly play at weddings, but with various combinations of musicians. Again, Bulgarian, Rom, and Macedonian folk music.

1997-present: clarinetist and singer for the band "Izvora"
This is a 4 member band (clarinet, 2 accordions, and tarambuka) which plays 6 nights a week at a Blagoevgrad mehana ("Mehana Izvora"). The music is primarily Macedonian folk, with some Rom and Bulgarian as well.

Teaching experience:

Ramo has mainly been a performer, but he has worked with various clarinet students over the years. There were 7 people whom he taught to play from beginner level up, and several of these continued studying with him to an advanced level and then became professional musicians themselves. In terms of Americans, the only ones I know of who have worked with him are Matthew Fass and Peter Jaques. He has had less experience teaching singing, but he has been working with a student for about one year now, predominantly on Macedonian singing. I find him to be a very patient and supportive teacher, but at the same time, he pays close attention to detail and doesn't let any mistakes slip by uncorrected. He's also a good storyteller, and enjoys giving the background on the songs, if the student is interested.

Ramo with members of "Izvora" - August 1999

At a party in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria - October 1999


At the Koprivshtitsa Festival - Summer 2000
with friends from Vermont

At the Mehanata Izvor, August 1999

Blagoevgrad - October 1999

Ramo and Matthew at a Rom Christening - September 1999