Svata Nedelya

May 1993
Svata Nedelya ('Holy Sunday'), Sofia, Bulgaria

What is it?

Vesi is a ballad for low female voice and backing band. I have never bothered writing it all out, but if anyone were to be interested I could provide a backing track and a lead sheet on request. It does require a singer able to project a wide dynamic range and get across a complex variety of emotions but other than that the melody is not particularly difficult to sing.


On a cold and starry evening
As we walked across the square
Vesi looked at the cathedral
Ran her fingers through her hair
Then I heard her tragic whisper
Breathing words that chilled my heart
They were words of desolation
That could tear your soul apart
She said
Poison of the people
That's all religion is
Poison of the people
But my life it feels so empty
Oh I wish I could believe
Wish I could receive

Vesi looked at all the candles
And the icons on the wall
Felt her eyes begin to water
But regained her self-control
Then with grim determination
She walked out the way we'd come
Leaving words of desolation
Whispering echoes round the dome
Poison of the people ...

So I went to church next Sunday
In a great big conference hall
Where a thousand people praising
Need no icons on their wall
They were people just like Vesi
All responding to the Lord
Who before Christ Jesus touched them
Might have echoed Vesi's words
Poison of the people ...

||: Jesus come into my life :||


This fine performance gets across well the dynamic and emotional range of the song. It uses a backing track that I prepared and that anyone is welcome to use.



Vitosha Mountain, which dominated the view from our office

In October 1992 I went to work in Sofia, Bulgaria for four weeks. Our project assistant was a young lady named Vesela Brankova, whom we knew simply as Vesi. After work on Friday 23rd October 1992, a Serbian colleague of mine expressed a desire to visit the Svata Nedelya church in the city centre, to light a candle for a relative of his. Vesi and I went with him. Although relatively young, Vesi was still old enough to have had the communist doctrine of religion being "the poison of the people" drummed into her - and yet I sensed that she knew something was missing from her life.

I suspect that Vesi regarded me as just as much of an emigma as I regarded her. The offices in which we were working were sparse in the extreme and lacked any kind of heating, so Vesi and I were often working in the clothes in which we arrived at the office. I have no idea where she is these days - but I'd love to hear from her if ever she reads this.

How I discovered that the Bulgarian Church of God met in the top-floor conference hall of Sofia's National Palace of Culture is a story in its own right; but on my first visit, we got to a point where the pastor asked everyone to greet the person next to them. Turning to my left, I found myself staring into the eyes of the most stupendously beautiful young woman I'd met in a very long time. She smiled and started speaking to me in Bulgarian. Summoning up the little Bulgarian that I knew at the stage, I said, "I'm sorry, I don't understand you." Her smile broadened into a grin. "You don't understand? Praise God!" she said. Then she threw her arms around me and gave me a kiss.

I'd like to say that I went back the following week out of a desire for spiritual enlightenment - but you wouldn't believe me, would you?!

Rila Hotel

The Rila Hotel, my base while working in Sofia

Contact me if you'd like to sing Vesi