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Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Travels of Maleshevsko Horo

Music goes further than any border, any language.
J. Balvin

Maleshevsko Horo is a dance popular in southwestern Bulgaria (Pirin), North Macedonia, and Greece. It's one of those border crossing dances and has different variations and different music. There are also several songs associated with the dance.

Version 1: Gergana Panova teaches Maleshevsko to the Balkanitsa Group in Haifa, Israel. This is the variation popular in Bulgaria, performed to Dve Nevesti Tikvi Brale Bre (unfortunately you can't hear the entire song here). I have also heard the song on the Bulgarian National Radio's Blagoevgrad station during their folk music broadcasts. It is about two brides harvesting pumpkins.

The Pirin region borders North Macedonia and there are nationalistic claims to certain songs, for example: Makendonsko Devojce.  The Blagoevgrad province in Bulgaria is also known as Pirin Macedonia.

This Macedonia thing is a touchy subject in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece.



For contrast, this is the North Macedonian version of Dve Nesveste Tikvi Brale (different lyrics in a different language) If you want to sing along, you can find the lyrics here:

By the way, Bulgarian and Macedonian are closely related languages.  The dance is named after a mountain that is both in Macedonia and Bulgaria.



Version 2: Same dance, different music, performed by a folk dance club in Bulgaria. The song is Sarena Gaida.  My guess is that this is the Bulgarian version of the song; there is also one in  Macedonian  listed in the Songbook For Nearsighted People. Are you confused yet? Confusion is a popular topic on this blog.



Version 3: Another version of Maleshevsko performed by a Greek group.



North Macedonian version of the music used in the dance above, and it is also called Maleshevsko. Compare the arrangement to the one used in Version 3.  This is a traditional orchestration with folk instruments: gaida, kaval, tupan and tambura.



Version 4: This was the only dance video I could find from North Macedonia. The clarinetist here is amazing.  They use the same tune as the two previous videos, however, the choreography is different than the ones from Bulgaria and Greece. I don't know if Maleshevka is the name of the music or the dance or both. More confusion!



If you enjoyed this you may also like the series Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused.
You can also read: Macedonia, One Name, Three Countries.

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2 comments:

  1. Malesevsko is the name of the dance, which has been part of the folk dance repertoire for some time, and danced by Balkan villages for even longer. It is an 8 measure dance pattern, and the steps are mathematically congruent to the Serbian Kolo/Usest, but in Malesevsko the first 4 measures are done traveling in line of direction instead of symmetrically. Since it is a social dance, there are individual variations, especially on the last two measures. Gergana Panova taught the first version on her 2016 tour. She said is was a club version popular with younger people. The 4th version is actually the same pattern, except that the dancers start with a symmetrical version, like the kolo, but then move into the regular pattern that moves only to the right for the first 4 measures. Hope this makes sense. - Fran

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  2. Fran, thanks for the info. I like Gergana's version the best. I have also noticed that many folk dancers are math and/or science people (are you one of them?) Happy dancing, Katley

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