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Saturday, March 22, 2014

The "Flavors" of Macedonian Oro

Today's post features several dances from another former Yugoslav republic, Macedonia. The word for dance in Macedonian is similar to the Bulgarian (oro in Macedonia, horo in Bulgaria).

If you are looking for oro, as in gold, you have come to the wrong place. Do a search on Spanish conquistadors instead, they had an obsession about finding gold in the New World. But before you go, spend a few minutes here, you may find this blog more interesting and a lot more fun than Latin American history :)

Bavno Oro is familiar to folk dancers worldwide. The name comes from the slow part in the beginning of the dance, which speeds up at the end. This vintage recording, still played at dances today, was made by Boris Karlov, Bulgarian accordionist.  His repertoire included music from Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia, and unfortunately, he died at a very young age from a kidney infection.

The performers are the Surrey International Folk Dancers from British Columbia in Canada.



If you are a frequent visitor here you have seen these people before.  They are a part of a "bonding folk dance class" in China.  Their instructor is very good because I can follow him even though I don't understand a word of Chinese.  Balkan folk dance is very popular in China, judging from the number of videos I have seen posted by this group on YouTube.  The dance is Berovka and its time signature is 2/4. 



The next video was from the New England Folk Festival 2012, and features an excellent group from Brooklyn, NY who sing "Macedonian roots music."  I had the pleasure of listening and dancing to Niva recently at  Balkan Music Night 2014. 

Ratevka, the dance shown here, is usually played as part of a medley that includes Berovka. It has a different time signature than the previous dance:  7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed.  This live version is a little slower than the recording. It's the same rhythm as the Bulgarian dance Chetvorno Horo (pineapple-apple-apple).



The Tanec ensemble is well-known all over the world for their performances of music and dance from the Republic of Macedonia. This is a men's dance, Teskoto, played on two zurnas and a tupan. The zurna is an instrument that resembles a horn.  It has a double reed, like an oboe, and finger holes and it is loud enough to wake the dead. The Turks introduced these instruments during their occupation of the Balkans.  They later became part of the musical fabric of Macedonia as well as the Pirin region of Bulgaria.

If you haven't noticed previously, Macedonian folk dances tend to start off slow and pick up speed as they progress. 



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

The Bagpipe in Macedonian Folk Music

Two Variations on a Macedonian Folk Dance: Bufcansko

If you're interested in music from former Yugoslav republics click these links:

The "Flavors"of Serbian Kolo

The River of Many Names, Part 6, The Danube in Croatian Folk Songs

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