tim gubelTim Gubel is born in 1984 in Brussels but he has been living in Sofia for 7 years yet. Tim shared with us his story about how much really loves Bulgaria,” his second home” as he refers to it. The Belgian runs a small call-center on one hand, but his main job is in the music industry. He works in the fields of music and event management and production, organizing concerts and festivals and producing the band Oratnitza. His main mission is to promote Bulgarian music with a typical Bulgarian touch to it or how he calls it “etno fusion” in Bulgaria and abroad.  

- What did you know about Bulgaria before you came here?

- Almost nothing. I went on one concert of Teodosii Spasov in Brussels and I really liked it. Then I was looking for a job abroad. By this time I have worked as a clinical psychologist and I was also organizing jazz concerts in Brussels. I wanted to raise my horizon after I’ve been traveling a bit. I wanted to be not only a tourist but to have more deeper experience. And I ended up in Bulgaria. I didn’t know anything about it. I came here and I worked 6 months in the Business Park. I didn’t like it and then I have started my own company and the rest is history.

- Why have you decided to stay here?

- It all started when I quit my job. I’ve started my first company and I noticed that there is interesting music here. It was a time when the Balkan beat was very popular on the European musical market but that was mainly Romanian, Serbian and Macedonian music and the Bulgarian music wasn’t part of it. May be because of the fact that Bulgarian music isn’t typically like the gypsy orchestra music it’s more emotional, melancholic, a bit more refined. On a mass level nowadays Bulgaria is absolutely underrepresented and when I see opportunities like this I grab them. I organized this competition where any band with any style could participate the only condition was to interpret a Bulgarian folk song. My idea was to re-cross the message that on an international level your chances are higher if you use something unique if you can differentiate yourself of the others thousands bands. There are very unique features to Bulgarian music so why not to use them if you have it already in your roots. A friend of mine from Germany says: “Wide branches need deep roots.”. The winner of the competition was Oratnitza and since then I’ve started to work with them. So this is how I got into the music management and production. There are a lot of opportunities on the market and it is very exciting to see a community which is in progress. More and more I found the reason to stay here. The quality of life is a bit better. Money and infrastructure are not contributing to the happiness. People here are enjoying the life a bit more. You have such a good weather all year around.

- Name your favorite places in Sofia?

- I like to go to the Bitaka from time to time. It’s a gloomy place but it has something very unique. I like to visit Zhenski bazaar as well. I like to have a coffee on the rooftop café on the National archives. It’s a 20-stories something building with an amazing breathtaking view and you can have a coffee for 40 stotinki.

- How you find Sofia as a city to live in?

- A lot of my friends come to visit me and more often they tell me: “I don’t know what it is exactly but Sofia reminds me a lot of Brussels.”. I know how odd this may sound. We don’t have mountains and we don’t have so many things that you have but there is something which is very similar. I was thinking about what it could be that it made me feel like home here from the very begging. Mainly because the fact that it is a capital but it’s not a huge city in like global terms.

- How have you learn Bulgarian?

- I had a few classes during my first job and I bought a book “Learn Bulgarian by yourself”. I made a point to learn 10 new words a day, but the best way was just “Talk. Talk. Talk.” and “Listen. Listen. Listen.”. Most of the people with who I hang out with and my colleges are Bulgarians so I have the chance to speak every day. I’ve never been afraid “of losing my face”, I mean, “of making mistakes”. It’s a beautiful language but also very difficult, you know. I think that I try my best to start speaking it now on the next level.

- What is your Bulgarian favorite word?

- I will tell you about the world with which I struggled for a long time. It’s “sedmochislenitzi”. My previous office was right next to it and I was saying “Let meet at “Sedmo…”-“Sedmochi”-“You know the church, right”. That was my biggest tomb breaker.

- How you’ve learned about Sofia City® Info Guide?

- I saw it in couple places. I think you have a very good distribution. I have seen at a hotel’s lobby, at bars and clubs. I think you are doing very good job.