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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused: Part 19: Dunavsko Horo and Dunavsko Daichovo Horo

If I look confused, it is because I am thinking.
Samuel Goldwyn

Let's start 2020 with one of my favorite topics: Balkan dances that are often confused. It is the series that never ends. If you are a regular, you had probably read the previous 18 posts on this fascinating topic.

Video #1 features a group from the Czech republic, from the city of Brno. Despite the "soubor Pirin" in the title of the video, this is not music from southwest Bulgaria (Pirin region) but from the northwest region. Are you confused yet?

They perform a medley of two dances: the first a Vlach dance (known as Krajdunavsko, or from the Danube region).  Vlach dances are characterized with a lot of fast steps, crossovers and stamps. At 2:04 is the Dunavsko Daichovo Horo.  Daichovo is also a dance popular in northern Bulgaria and there are several variations, with different choreographies and different music.

The original version of Dunavsko Daichovo was composed by someone in the group Orchestra Horo. They are from the city of Ruse, and their specialty is modern renditions of folk songs and dances from the northern region of Bulgaria. The ensemble celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. I'm sure they will make it to their 60th in 2022.

The album cover below is probably from one of their original albums. Remember when there were records instead of digitized music?

Things get to be even more confusing because there is a very famous piece by Diko Iliev, that he composed and introduced in 1937: Dunavsko Horo.

This piece has a martial motif because Diko Iliev was involved with military bands in a number of towns and cities in Bulgaria. Diko Iliev had also fought in the First Balkan War as well as World War I. He was also the bandmaster in the town of Oryahovo, where he composed numerous works.

Video # 3 combines an old war movie with Dunavsko Horo.  The explosions seem to be in time with the music.  The music begins at 0:19. The New Year fireworks in Bulgaria are also in synch with the music. (If you want to see those, check out the 2020 New Year Post).

There are different tunes used for Dunavsko Horo . The choreography is essentially the same no matter what music is used because you can hear the dance in the music.  Here is an example of a more traditional version with dancers in folk costumes.  The group is Ensemble Gotse Delchev.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused, Part 18 (links to rest of the series)

The 2020 New Year Post (fireworks)

Same Dance, Different Music: Dunavsko Horo

Orchestra Horo: Modern Bulgarian Folk Songs, Traditional Rhythms

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The 2020 New Year Post

2020 shouldn't just be about vision.
It should also be about seeing what the New Year can bring. 
― Anthony T. Hincks

It's time to say good-bye to 2019.  It's hard to believe The Alien Diaries is entering its 10th year in publication with over 400 posts.  This one is number 401.

Today's post features music for the New Year, some pop and some folk.

Video #1 is a New Year song in Bulgarian.  This is a pop song and not a folk song.  It got my attention and I wanted to share it.  The artist is Nelina Georgieva.

Video #2 features Mango Duende with their version of Diko Iliev's Dunavsko Horo. This group is best known for their rendition of folk songs from Latin America.  Some are in Bulgarian, and some are in Spanish.

Another New Year is almost upon us, and it's time for another take on the Bulgarian New Year dance, Novogodinsko Horo (most of us know of it as Dunavsko Horo by Diko Iliev).

Video #3 celebrates the 80th anniversary of Dunavsko Horo.  The date the piece was introduced to the public was April 18, 1937.  Since then, it had been adopted for New Year celebrations in Bulgaria, and things haven't been the same since. By the way, the commentary in in video is in Bulgarian. The dance, however, is a universal language. The piece is a cultural icon, like the Radetsky March.

Video #4 is an actual New Year celebration that took place last year in Sofia, Bulgaria last year broadcast by Bulgarian National Television. It's 35 minutes long. If you don't have time to watch the entire video here are the highlights: the Bulgarian National Anthem with fireworks at 4:12, followed by a  Russian hymn sung by Boris Christoff (Hristov), Dunavsko Horo at 7:59, Elenino Horo by Panko Dobrev with costumed dancers at 12:45, Alexandriika at 17:54 (also by Diko Iliev), at 20:35 more brass music and folk dancers, at 22:08, Daichovo Horo by Diko Iliev, at 27:08, Rosna Kitka by Diko Iliev. It ends with Gankino Horo at 30:24 also by Diko Iliev.

Pick and choose what interests you, or you can watch the entire video, including the commercials. Notice that most of the music is by Diko Iliev; you can read about him in one of the posts below.

Happy New Year to all and thank you for reading my blog!

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Mango Duende: Latin Rhythm with a Bulgarian Accent

The Music of Panko Dobrev

Having a Blast with Diko Iliev

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Friday, December 13, 2019

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused Part 18: Hora Fetelor and Hora Femeilor

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.
Tom Peters

There never seems to be an end to confusion in Balkan dance. I have seen programmers confused by requests because the names of two dances are very similar.  I find this very amusing and often ask that both dances get played, so we can compare the differences.

The first two dances have several things in common:  (1) they are slow and graceful (2) they are from the Oltenia region of Romania and (3) both are geared to the female gender.  Notice that a man leads both of them. He is Yehuda Ben-Harush from the Dunav group in Jerusalem, Israel.

Video #1 is Hora Fetelor (Girls' Dance).

Video #2 is Hora Femeilor (Women's Dance).

Video #3 is another version of Hora Fetelor with different choreography and different music. The ladies are in charge. Notice that in the previous videos a man led the dance.  The Alien Diaries is an Equal Opportunity Blog, and features men leading women's dances as well as women leading men's dance.

Here the big girls take over: the dancing as well as the singing. (The men have their own circle on the side). This lively version of Hora Fetelor was recorded at a wedding in Craiova.

If you enjoyed this you will also like:

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused Part 17 (links to the rest of the series)

Some Equal Opportunity Folk Dances

Women's Dances from Macedonia Led by Men

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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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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Music Inspired by Romania

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
Leo Tolstoy

Today's post features two pieces of classical music plus one of the original tunes that became a part of Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody #1.  Both were inspired by the composers' impressions of Romania.

The piece in Video #1 was created by a Norwegian, Johan Halvorsen. Halvorsen was offered a post at the Bucharest Conservatory. Although he didn't take the position,  he took an interest in Bucharest and Boyars, in particular, the entrance of the Boyars into Bucharest in the 18th century.  I don't know if he ever visited Romania, but it fired up enough of an interest in him to write a piece about it.

The result was The Entry March of the Boyars. It's 5 1/2 minutes of passion and excitement; I love it, even though it doesn't sound like anything Romanian.  This is what inspiration sounds like.

The Romanian Rhapsody #1 by George Enescu uses Romanian folk motifs. One of the tunes in the Romanian Rhapsody is the music for the dance Hora Lui Dobrica.

Here is the Romanian Rhapsody in its entirety, with some beautiful scenery to go along with the music. Hora Lui Dobrica is at 2:20. After watching this video, I will always associate barges and bridges with Hora Lui Dobrica.

This piece starts off slow and gradually speeds up until the wild finale. Reminds me of some Romanian folk dances.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Romanian Hora

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Kolo Weddings

Your wedding can be the most memorable day and night of your life...or just another party.
Steven Crowder

What makes wedding celebrations so much fun is the dancing. Today's post features some spirited dancing at two Serbian weddings.

Video #1 is a basic version of the dance we know as U Sest or Uzicko Kolo. It's long (over five minutes) and energetic (young people in the line). The bride is second in the line and my guess is that the groom is the leader.  I love the energy and the shouting; the dancers are having a great time!

Video #2 is a group in traditional Serbian elaborate embroidered costumes performing a medley of dances at the wedding of Jelena and Dragan: U Sest, Makazice, Moravac (similar to U Sest), and Cacak. There were two other dances as well, one that I recognized but I didn't know the name, and the other was not familiar. Readers, if you know what they are, please post the names in the comments section.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

Thracian Dances at Bulgarian Wedding

PeriniĊ£a: a Romanian Wedding Dance

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Music of Panko Dobrev

Lesser artists borrow. Great artists steal.
Igor Stravinsky

A number of years ago I wrote two posts about the Bulgarian composer Diko Iliev. While searching for Diko Iliev on YouTube I found several gems by a composer named Panko Dobrev (not the Japanese bread crumbs!) that were strongly influenced by Diko Iliev.

The first one is Gankino Horo, a dance that originated in Northern Bulgaria. Brass music is very popular in that region and this piece really sparkles. It made me want to get up and dance. By the way, the piece was named after a woman named Ganka, and there are numerous versions of Gankino Horo making the rounds. The dance itself is a basic kopanitsa.

The second piece is Rachenitsa Simona. I take it that Simona is also a woman's name. Rachenitsa is the national dance of Bulgaria and performed everywhere in the country. It can be in 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed. This one is rather slow and it's a lovely piece of music.

Video #3 is Elenino Horo, the dance we know as Eleno Mome, another dance that originated in Northern Bulgaria.  So far every dance tune I've found by Panko Dobrev was named after a woman; this time it's Elena.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find Panko Dobrev on Bulgarian Wikipedia, although he does have a YouTube channel.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Having a Blast with Diko Iliev

A Birthday Celebration and a Source of Inspiration: the Music of Diko Iliev

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