Whose Is this Song? (Chia e tazi pesen?)

Bulgaria 2003, Documentary, 70' | Director, Screenplay Adela Peeva | DoP Joro Nedelkov | Editor Jelio Jelev, Nina Altoparmakova | Production Adela Media Ltd. Film & TV Productions

Adela Peeva first hears that song in a restaurant in Istanbul. With her at the table are friends from a number of Balkan countries, all of whom start to hum along in recognition. And why? Because each of them claims that the song comes from their country. So the film-maker sets off on a tour of Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria in an attempt to find the source of a song that, no matter in which language it is performed, seems to belong to the national treasury of songs in several different countries. Sometimes as a love ballad, sometimes as a religious hymn, as a revolutionary anthem or as a military march. Wherever she goes, the people insist that the song must have had its origins in their country.

What began as a relatively straightforward research trip soon turns into a sociological and historical study of misunderstanding between the peoples of a (Balkan) region scarred by ethnic hatred and war. Tragicomically, the documentary of Whose is this Song? exposes the craziness of national myth building and the all too human need for people to set themselves apart from neighbours who in real life are pretty much similar.


Born in Bulgaria, Adela Peeva studied film direction at the Film, Drama and TV Academy in Belgrade. She first worked for Yugoslavian TV and then as a documentary maker in Sofia. She set up Adela Media, her own production company, in 1991.

Adela Peeva
Focus: Around the Balkans