Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Bagpipe in Bulgarian Folk Music
(photo from Wikipedia)
This is the musical instrument some people love to hate, and my daughter calls it music from Hell. The bagpipe is strident and loud, and you do not want to hear one the morning after a night of drinking! Most people associate the bagpipe with Scotland, where it is called the Great Highland Bagpipe. It takes a lot of lung power to play one.
Here's a traditional Scottish tune played on the Highland bagpipe:
Bagpipes are common to a number of cultures: the Scots, the Irish, the Bretons of northwest France, Macedonians, Greeks, and Bulgarians, to name a few. Here's some information about the Eastern European gaida (bagpipe) with some pictures, from Wikipedia:
An ad for Bulgarian rakia (brandy) cleverly combines Scottish bagpipes and kilts with Bulgarian music and dance:
In Bulgaria, the bagpipe is called the gaida. It is the predominant instrument in the Rhodope Mountains, near the Greek border, but common to all the folklore regions of Bulgaria. Most folk ensembles have a gaida player. You can really hear it in this performance of Kabile, a Bulgarian wedding band that toured the United States in 2008 and 2010.
This is what happens when 100 Bulgarians play the gaida at the same time. You will either be totally delighted by the performance or running to the medicine cabinet looking for a headache remedy. The fireworks add a nice touch!
When a female voice accompanies a gaida, you have a formidable combination. The song is Izlel e Delyu Haidutin, performed by a young lady named Nevena on the show Music Idol (the Bulgarian counterpart to American Idol). Her performance is on a par with that of Valya Balkanska, whose version of the song was launched into outer space in 1977.
There is no middle ground with bagpipes. You can love them or hate them, but they are pretty damn hard to ignore!
I love gaida music.
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