The more things change, the more they stay the same.
― Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
One day I decided to check out the Universe of YouTube to see how many different tunes I could find for Dunavsko Horo (that were not composed by Diko Iliev). I found five; there are probably more. The Bulgarians love this dance and play it on festive occasions, especially to ring in the New Year.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any notes (even in Bulgarian) about the origin of Dunavsko Horo. I'm sure people did this dance or something like it before Diko Iliev (1898-1984) came along and made it popular. The dance may have originated in the town of Svishtov; it is also known as Svishtovsto Horo.
Even though this is essentially the same dance in all five videos; there are variations in speed and style. This is where the "different village" concept comes into play.
The first video is a group of young people from the ensemble Pirinska Kitka performing at a Christmas celebration. The recorded music is played on traditional Bulgarian folk instruments.
This brass band version, which reminds me of Diko Iliev's Dunavsko, is from a Bulgarian dance teaching video. It's quite a bit faster than the one in the previous video. The costumes are from the northwestern folklore region (Severnjasko).
Here's another teaching video, this time from horo.bg . They have an excellent website with videos and information about Bulgarian dance and folklore. The dancers are from the Filip Kutev Folk Ensemble. Although there is an English translate button on the horo.bg site, it doesn't work very well. You are better off cutting and pasting the link to the site into an online translation program, although some of the meaning can get lost.
By the way, my group likes this version because it's not too fast.
If you're searching for a feminist version of Dunavsko, look no further. Since most women love to shop, here is a group of them in one of their favorite places: the shopping mall. For some reason they aren't wearing folk costumes. Maybe they couldn't find them at any of the stores.
Young people add an element of energy, and this version is fast, with plenty of arm swinging! The group is the ensemble Goce Delcev, from Sofia.
If you enjoyed this you may also like:
Variations on a Theme by Diko Iliev: Dunavsko Horo
The River of Many Names, parts Two and Four (Folk songs and dances from Bulgaria related to the Danube)
A Birthday Celebration and a Cause of Inspiration: The Music of Diko Iliev
Now That We've Survived the End of the World (year end post from 2012)
A very Happy New Year 2014 to all!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.