Bulgarian folk music is so good they have a difficult time keeping it inside the country. It undergoes some interesting transformations when foreigners borrow it. For example, check out this performance of the Hungarian group, Besh O Drom, who used a Bulgarian folk tune and kicked it up a notch. The result? Something so dynamic that you can't sit still while listening to it.(For some reason this performance ended up on a Spanish TV program).
And here's the original music and dance, which is Graovsko Horo, performed by a Balkan folk dance group in Israel:
The Pravo is another dance that has been around. It is supposedly the most widespread dance in the world. Variations of it have turned up in Greece, Macedonia and Albania. Here is a group of dancers at a Greek festival that I went to last summer performing Zonaradiko, the same dance as the Bulgarian Pravo. By the way, the Pravo is the most popular dance in the Thracian region of Bulgaria. The ancient Thracians were a people who lived in what is now Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, so there was a lot of cultural cross-pollination in that part of the world.
A little on the history of Thrace can be found here:
The Valle, a dance from Albania, is also similar to Bulgarian Pravo:
The Rachenitsa has been around, too. It has migrated as far as Armenia, in a dance called Laz Bar. A Laz is a dance in 7/8 rhythm (apple apple galloping), and although the music is Middle Eastern, that Rachenitsa rhythm is in there. Notice a rhythm change near the end, and the dancers doing something similar to Bulgarian Pravo:
Compare it to the Bulgarian Rachenitsa seen here:
Back in the 90's, there was a series called "Xena, Warrior Princess." It had been brought to my attention, since I never watched it on TV, that Bulgarian music had infiltrated this particular miniseries. I checked it out for myself, on YouTube.
Hope you enjoyed this multi-cultural journey to Bulgaria and beyond.....
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