A Spell In Time was formed in 1995 by storyteller, Moni Sheehan and musician, Ivor Davies to bring Bulgaria's extraordinary traditional tales to English-speaking audiences in an accessible form. Company members draw on their knowledge of both traditional Bulgarian and contemporary British culture to create performances that are exciting, entertaining and relevant to modern audiences.
Moni Sheehan, storyteller, is half Bulgarian and half British. She trained in contemporary dance at Middlesex University and in Bulgarian folk dance in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Her passion for myth and folklore brought her to storytelling in 1993. Bulgarian traditional tales were unknown in the UK at that time, and very little was available in print in English. So Moni enlisted the help of her mum, Paraskeva Armstrong, a native Bulgarian to begin the huge task of translating tales from her collection of Bulgarian folklore books. At the same time she teamed up with musician, Ivor Davies, to bring the tales to life through a combination of storytelling and music. Thus A Spell In Time was born - the UK's first and only Bulgarian storytelling company.
Ivor Davies, musician, plays an unusual range of instruments including the Bulgarian gudulka (nail fiddle) and a customised autoharp. He plays the autoharp in an unorthodox way, using violin bow, fingers and percussion sticks to create gorgeously atmospheric music. He has collaborated with musicians from both British and Bulgarian backgrounds, from The Dunav Balkan Group to new wave folk songstress, Sharron Kraus. He loves the creative stimulus offered by storytelling.
Paraskeva Armstrong, translator, is a native Bulgarian who has lived in England for many years. She has the vital task of translating the source texts upon which each performance is based. This can be quite tricky because the texts are usually in old or dialect Bulgarian - authentic heroic epics, mythological ballads, ritual songs, legends and traditional narratives collected by Bulgarian folklorists from village storytellers and singers.
A Spell In Time's two core performing members are Moni Sheehan and Ivor Davies. We have also had the privilege of working extensively with the wonderful Dessislava Stefanova, Bulgarian folk singer and leader of the fabulous London Bulgarian Choir, who was a Company member for several years.
We have also worked with the following brilliant musicians: Galen Nikolov, who plays the Bulgarian kaval (wooden flute) and gaida (bagpipe), and joined A Spell In Time for Breathing The Dawn; Angel Atanasov Karaivanov, kaval (wooden flute) player; Todor Todorov, multi-instrumentalist; Judy Greenwell, singer; and Oliver Baldwin, tambura and guitar-player.
“Primal tales from the heart of Bulgarian myth and folklore...
A spellbinding mix of storytelling, ritual and evocative music”