Saturday, June 4, 2011

Modern Versions of Traditional Bulgarian Folk Songs

The theme for today's post is modern versions of traditional Bulgarian folk songs.

Some of these modern interpretations are quite interesting, creative and unusual. The first song, Katerino Mome, sung by Tatiana Sarbinska, is familiar to those in the international folk dance community. The dance for this is Arap.

The lyrics and translation can be found here:

I first heard Katerino Mome performed by Desislava on the Bulgarian National Radio several years ago. I didn't care for this performance at first, because I was used to the traditional version. After listening to this a few times, I found that I liked Desislava's dynamic and passionate interpretation of Katerino Mome as much as the original.

The next song is Izgryala e Mesechinka, traditionally performed without background music (a capella) by a women's choral group. In this video, the ladies are accompanied by a drum, which does not detract at all from their beautiful voices. The dance for this song is a rachenitsa. I couldn't find a link to the lyrics, but it's essentially a song about the full moon rising, big, beautiful and orange, while a girl picks flowers in the garden.

Another version of Izgryala e Mesechinka, this time with one female singer accompanied by five men. Four of them play traditional folk instruments (gadulka, accordion, kaval, and tambura). One of them keeps time on what looks like a metal cup, and the other plays guitar. The non-traditional instruments and the solo female give this song a unique and modern intepretation that is delightful to listen to!

The next song is a traditional version of Dunave, Beli Dunave. It is a song about the Danube, River of Many Names. Despite its popularity on YouTube, I couldn't find the lyrics or a translation. The rhythm for this is 5/8, and the dance is Pajduško Horo.

This is the modern version which was probably played at clubs all over Bulgaria. What really makes it unusual the techno music accompanied by a gaida (bagpipe). This is definitely an unusual take on a traditional song and took some getting used to, although I like it a lot now. If you listen to it more than once or twice it will take up residence in your head and stay with you all day. It's a very catchy tune.

If you like variations on a theme, check out this post.

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