Today's featured dance, Arap, has dual citizenship, according to the notes I found on the Internet. The reason for this is that it is popular in both Macedonia and Bulgaria.
Unfortunately, Macedonia happens to be one of the most contested names on the map. There are three places which share this name. One of them is the Republic of Macedonia where the people speak a language closely related to Bulgarian. The languages are similar enough that Bulgarians and Macedonians can understand each other.
There is also a Macedonia region in northern Greece. The Pirin region of Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad Province, which borders the Republic of Macedonia is also known as Pirin Macedonia.
The first version of Arap is the one familiar to most folk dancers. It is Zajko Kokorajko, about a rabbit who's off to Salonika (in Greek Macedonia) to marry a fox. The wedding guests are as unusual as the couple: a female bear, a female wolf, a hedgehog to play the drums, and a frog to play the zurna, among others. At the end the rabbit is pursued by hunting dogs!
The dominant instrument in this song is the bagpipe (gaida).
The original Macedonian lyrics with English translation can be found here:
The next Arap is from Bulgaria. It's called Kulskoto and done to different music. Near the end you can hear the zurna. What makes the zurna so distinctive is its loud, piercing sound, even louder than the bagpipe.
My group dances this version to the music for Zaiko Kokorajko (except for the turns). I guess different villages do different variations. It's all good.
The next Arap is also from Bulgaria and very similar to the previous version. They don't do the turns and they swing the arms, but the footwork is the same. The music is also different, with bagpipe accompaniment. It's very pleasing to watch and the costumes are beautiful.
The song is Neveno, Mome, Neveno which I like very much. Does anyone out there have the lyrics and/or translation for it?
If you enjoyed this you may also like:
The Bagpipe in Macedonian Folk Music
The Bagpipe in Bulgarian Folk Music
A Dance By Any Other Name
The Zurna in Bulgarian Folk Music (it was originally used to intimidate enemies of the Ottoman Empire!)
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