Kato Dewa - Bulgarian version of Like A Virgin

Date: 2010-12-04 Autor: Kamil

text and pictures by Kamil Kaznowski and Maciej Stańczak

thanks for additional pictures to Jan from MadonnaCollector

 

Records' market in Eastern Europe was one of the most interesting phenomenon that many of us have ever experienced...

Untill 80's many records from Western Europe and North America were not released in socialist countries in Eastern Europe. Lots of these records were often imported illegally from the west and sold illegally as well. This situation changed a bit in the 80's. It was a time when many companies were founded and they released music from the outside of the Iron Curtain. Unfortunately, lack of legal regulations in many of these countries caused massive growth of music piracy... There was no consequences for those who sold LPs, CDs, MCs without permission from the music owners.

 

When we look at some memorabilias from the late 80's and early 90's which were released in Eastern Europe we can notice some unbelievable freedom in releasing, not just original titles, but those which even didn't originally exist! Take a look at some examples of tapes from Poland on the right.

For example: the first tape you see on the right is a part 1 of the Polish response to The Immaculate Collection. It includes tracks like Who's That Girl or I'm Going Bananas and even... Turn It Up by Michael Davidson (!) from Who's That Girl soundtrack. But even that surprise is not as exciting as Supernatural included on Erotica album released on one of many difeerent Polish tapes in 1992.

As you can see the diversity of these releases is very impressive. All of those unofficial tapes are just funny recollection today. Many of those pressings are truly forgotten but some of them gained importance and they occupy significant place in many bootleg collections...

 

Due to the relatively high interest among collectors we decided to sum up a few facts about Bulgarian edition of Like A Virgin album which is called Kato Dewa.

Simultaneously we want to justify why (in our opinion) it is unofficial pressing and it will not be included to our database. 

There is no doubts that even in these wild times there were music corporations which released many of Western records under licence of the owners. But nobody controlled that and many pirate records were marked as under licence or all rights reserved. There is no evidence that they were indeed released under licence. In almost every of these cases there were no Warner Bros. or Sire Records logos and any other information that could be related to the Madonna's label. This situation fits precisely to Kato Dewa released by Bulgarian Balkanton.

 

 

Balkanton was a state-owned record manufacturing company in Bulgaria founded in 1952. Many of the produced records were, or still are available in the countries of the Soviet bloc. Balkanton's plant in Sofia was equipped for all aspects of record manufacturing from recording the masters and pressing the vinyl records to printing the cover. Multi-channel sound recording was introduced in 1972 with equipment purchased from England. In 1982 Balkanton received its own digital recording equipment. By the mid 80's annual LP production reached 9 million units. The company mainly produced LPs and from 1980 it started to manufacture cassettes. Being the only record company in Bulgaria during 4 decades, Balkanton accumulated a vast library of performances of folk, classical, Bulgarian and foreign popular music, theater, poetry and more. After a couple of attempts to reorganize the company in the 90's, it was finally privatized in 1999. (Wikipedia).

As you can see, Balkanton was a thriving recording company. It can be said thet it was a monopolist on the Bulgarian market. They released records of many artists like Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Kate Bush, ABBA, etc. All of these covers are signed as manufactured under licence.

Balkanton released Madonna's Like A Virgin album, known as Kato Dewa, in 1985. It was released with catalog number BTA 11999 and with completely different artwork mady by Viencislav Trifonov:

 

Kato Dewa was released with three different back covers:

 

Manufactured for Bulgarian market with price in Bulgarian currency:

 

Manufactured for Czechoslovakian market with price in Czechoslovakian currency:

 

Export version (no price):

 

Next to these three different back covers, there were released many different labels as well:

 

Bulgarian track-list and Violet and Dark-Blue:

 

 

Bulgarian track-list [green] and Russian track-list [green]:

 

 

English track-list [light-blue] and English track-list [red]:

 

 

English track-list [stars] and English track-list [pink]:

 

 

English track-list [orange] and Russian track-list [red] and Russian track-list [blue]:

  

 

There exists Kato Dewa with Bulgarian track-list and stars-labels but we don't have any pictures right now.

Kato Dewa was released on tape (BTMC 7475) as well:

 

 

Track-list of Kato Dewa:

Side A: Material Girl * Angel * Like A Virgin * Over And Over * Dress You Up

Side B: Love Don't Live Here Anymore * Shoo-Bee-Doo * Pretender * Stay

 

Our conclusions:

  • There is no connections to Sire Records and Warner Brothers (no information on the labels and front/back covers); no information about the owner of these tracks allows to suppose that this is the unofficial pressing.
  • There is no proof that Warner Brothers gave permission for changing front and back covers, layout of the Like A Virgin album and order of the songs (two tracks are swapped); if there is any chance that Balkanton got official permission from Warner Bros. to released all 9 tracks, probably each of 9 songs was licenced separately - it allows to released them as a part of collection/medley of songs under different title - Kato Dewa
  • Balkanton made records of Western artist and they distributed them in Eastern Europe. Probably they made official pressings of native artists and there is nothing strange with that because in the 80's and early 90's there were lots of companies which worked half-and-half legally. It was all due to the lack of legal regulation of copyright law.

 

But Kato Dewa and Like A Virgin have something in common: the track-list. Even that, it has wrong order of the songs.



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