Vassil Bebelekov Memorial

Remembering Vassil

Butt-dialing, “Pile, Pile” on a Tambura, and smiling

Thanks Bill Cope opening up a way to once again remember Vassil Bebelekov.

Vassil memories often have me feeling like I’m at a California shore next to a vast ocean. It’s the same feeling I’d have in his presence when he shared all that positive energy, calm, and life’s wonder. My lessons with him could start anywhere and end anywhere. I always had an idea of what I wanted – then we would begin… Two of my favorite memories are:

First, during a lesson I butt-dialed a nephew who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. My nephew later told me he took the call because he knew it was me calling. However, he was confused yet captivated by the call. He said he could tell I was in the middle of a music lesson but it also seemed so much like a philosophical discussion. He listened for a long time before hanging up. Lessons were always like that for me, i.e., welcoming, food, drink, conversation, philosophy, and the music. They always went together. That was his music he shared with me.

Second, Vassil would always listen to my requests. Sometimes he might say “Memo, that’s not a good idea”. Most times not. Once I told him I wanted to get better at playing chordal rhythm on a Tambura. To my surprise he pulled out a Tambura and had me strum while he played melody on his and sang. Hearing his recorded voice in this session, and hearing him play the Tambura melody for Pile, Pile brings tears and a smile. It reminds me how I would always leave his San Jose home, i.e., smiling 😃. Those smiles would last all the drive back to my home in Chico, Ca. My wife would invariably tell me, you always come home so happy from seeing Vassil.

Here’s to remembering you, Vasil:

— Memo Keswick
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