From Kremena's website:
A living legend among Bulgarian folk singers, Kremena Stancheva was born in the village of Kovachevtsi in the Shope region, near Sofia. She began singing at an early age, learning from her aunts and other singers in the village. In 1960, Kremena went to Sofia to study at the Higher Institute of Economics. Although she did finish her course of study, fate had other plans for Kremena!
As a 19-year-old student, she competed for and won a place in the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, the group which later became world famous as Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. From her earliest days in the choir, Kremena distinguished herself not only as a lead ensemble member, but also as a soloist. Her spine-tingling interpretations of the slow diaphonic harvest songs from her native region—characterized by their intricate ornamentation and edgy tremolos in close dissonant harmonies with a supporting drone—have astonished and delighted audiences around the globe. An example cherished by many people is the beautiful “Vetar vee” (sung by Kremena and her lifelong singing partner Vassilka Andonova), recorded by Ethel Raim and released on the Nonesuch album Village Music of Bulgaria.
Kremena recorded over a hundred songs for the Bulgarian Radio’s archive of traditional songs. And in recognition of her masterful artistry, she received numerous international awards, including the Bratislava Grand Prize and the Cyril & Methodius Award for her contribution to Bulgarian Culture and Society. She has been featured on dozens of recordings which have been distributed internationally on the 4AD, Nonesuch, Polygram, Jaro, Gega, and Balkanton labels. Kremena released a solo album entitled Rays of Sound (available on cassette), and a CD entitled Bulgarian Folk Melodies, which contains many of the songs that she and Vassilka recorded together.
In 2000 and 2002 the East European Folklife Center (EEFC) and the acclaimed American women's vocal ensemble KITKA combined forces to bring Kremena to the United States for a series of performances and educational activities, including serving on the faculty of the EEFC’s Balkan Music & Dance Workshops in Mendocino, CA, and Ramblewood, MD. Students at these workshops raved about Kremena Stancheva’s vast knowledge of Bulgarian folk songs and folklore, her uniquely gorgeous voice, and her warmly encouraging, inspiring teaching technique.
Kremena died on March 8, 2013.