Monday, November 1, 2010

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Horo and the Diversity of the Different Folklore Regions, Part 2

If you missed part 1, click here:

The Rhodope region, in southern Bulgaria, which shares the border with Greece, has a relatively sedate style in comparison, as you can see in this performance of Svornato Horo. The music tends to be a bit heavy on the bagpipe (gaida).

Dances from the Pirin region are very similar to those of neighboring Macedonia. They are characterized by leg lifts, hands held in a "w" hold, and the music speeds up as the dance progresses. The Pirin people love the gaida almost as much as the people of the Rhodopes. This dance is called Arap.

As a contrast, here's a non traditional version of Arap, performed by the group Rakiya, from the Boston area, during Balkan Music Night this past March. The song, Zaiko, is about a rabbit who barely escapes the hunters....

You can read more about Balkan Music Night, a yearly event in the Boston area, here:

The most well-known dance from the Shope region is Jove Malej Mome. What's unique about is that it's the combination of two assymetrical rhythms, 11/16 plus a 7/16. If music theory's not your thing, there's a much easier way to get the rhythm down. Clap this to the music: Slow-Quick-Quick-Quick-Quick-Slow-Quick-Quick.

Dances from the Shoppe region (near Sofia) usually consist of extremely fast and complex footwork with the use of belt holds. If one person screws it up it's like knocking down a line of dominoes :) Jove Malej Mome is relatively easy.

By the way, if this blog has whetted your appetite for Balkan music and dance, check out my YouTube channel.
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