Monday, June 21, 2010

Bulgarian folklore travels to China and Japan....

This is based on personal experiences, observations, and forays into the universe of You Tube.

For some odd reason, I've noticed that Chinese people have an avid interest in Balkan dance. The group I dance with on Friday nights has at least five Chinese members, they love the music, and they are excellent dancers.

There are a number of videos on YouTube of people in China performing Bulgarian dances. They belong to informal dance groups, much like mine. The videos they post on YouTube are instructional in nature. Here is a Chinese performance of Jove Malej Mome from the Shoppe region of Bulgaria. It's a popular dance all over the world, and they do it very well!

Here is some information about the dance, which is in the complex time signature of 18/16:

There is no explanation that I am aware of why the Chinese like this music so much. My Chinese friends at dance are very interested in Bulgarian culture, and often ask me questions about it. There may be an Asian flavor about it that speaks to them. Eastern Europe has always been the crossroads between East and West, and cultures and people traveled back and forth across the Eurasian land mass. Another possibility is that somehow Bulgarian culture made its way to China, and some Chinese might even be descendants of Bulgarians and have this in their genetic makeup. After all, there is a connection between the ancient Bulgarian Calendar and the Chinese Zodiac!

For more on the Bulgarian Calendar and the Chinese Zodiac:

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, which I believe there is, there is the possibility that their liking for Bulgarian music may be related to a past life experience.

The Japanese have an interest in Bulgarian culture as well. Here is one of the strangest videos I've ever watched, of a group of Japanese, costumed, in a botanical garden, performing a Bulgarian folk dance, which somewhat resembles Daichovo Horo. See my previous post for an exceptional rendition of this dance:

Unlike the Chinese group, which has a feel for the assymetrical rhythms of Bulgarian folk music, their counterparts in Japan have it all wrong. They mince their steps and are very stiff. Someone from Bulgaria needs to give them some dancing lessons! It looks more they're performing some odd martial arts moves, using sickles instead of swords. Is there something lost in translation here?

The Bulgarian National radio mentioned this on its website about Japanese culture and its connection to Bulgaria: “The first statues of Buddha were created under the influence of the Greek culture on the Balkans. The cultures of Bulgaria and Japan are related since ancient times.”

It's fascinating to see how Bulgarian culture travels around the world.

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  1. Bulgarians are descendants of Turkic Bulgars. The Turkic people's original homeland stretched between Southern Siberia, across Mongolia, to Northern China from the 4th century BC onwards. China of course interacted with these Turkic peoples, as they were neighbors. They warred with each other, traded with each other, even subjugating each other. The Bulgars were one of many Turkic tribes who originated from Central Asia and Mongolia. Given the fact that the Monkey does not exist in Mongolia and a few of the animals on the Zodiac as well, it is safe to say it was the Chinese who gave the Horoscope to the Turkic people.

  2. The idea that Bulgarians are Turkic tribes is rejected by almost every historian nowdays. Turkic and Slav Origins are political ideologies born around late 17th Century. For example before Peter the Great - Russians had no idea that they were Slavs... Turkic ideology was born by the same reasons. As for the Chinese calendar. UNESCO had proven that Cninese calendar derived from the Bulgarian. So if you like to make statements for historian facts - I strongly reccommend first to educate yourself then present statemnets...