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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Voices from the Past: Classic Bulgarian Folk Songs Part One

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”
Stephen King

A Happy New Year 2016 to all my readers!

This week's post features classic Bulgarian folk songs by artists from the 20th century. Although they have all passed on, these voices from the past are the legends of Bulgarian folk music.

The best thing about these songs is that you can dance to them.

Boris Mashalov is perhaps the most famous of the older generation of folk singers.  He was born in Sevlievo in 1914 and sang ballads as well as dance tunes.  One of his most popular songs Myatolo Lenche Jabuka, is a rachenitsa, a dance in 7/8 meter (apple-apple-pineapple). This song describes a girl who throws an apple to choose a mate.  Big mistake.

Although most dancers are more familiar with the modern rendition of the song performed by Nikolina Chakardakova, the Mashalov version is the original.

This song is a blend of two talents: singer Boris Mashalov and accordionist Boris Karlov.



Mita Stoicheva, born in the village of Mekish, northern Bulgaria in 1909, based her songs on the region of Veliko Tarnovo.

This song translates loosely as What an Excuse to Dance.  Since this is a padjusko (dance in 5/8 meter, quick-slow rhythm). there is no excuse. Dance on.



Magdalena Morarova was a native of the Pirin region (town of Bansko). She is best known for the song Petruno Pile Shareno,
which accompanies the dance Petrunino Horo.

The song Okol Pleven is in pravo rhythm and is a narrative about the Siege of Pleven during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. The Russians beat the crap out of the Ottomans because the Sultan was unable to supply them with food, clothing, and weapons. Bulgaria won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878.

There will be more voices from the past in Part Two.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Petrunino Horo

Bulgarian Folk Songs Reincarnated

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

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