Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Variations on a Theme by Diko Iliev

Today's post is about one of the most popular dances in Bulgaria, Dunavsko Horo (Danubian Horo).

Although there are other versions of Dunavsko with different music (you can find them on my blog and on the Universe of YouTube), the one everyone knows and loves was written by Diko Iliev, a Bulgarian composer who lived from 1898 to 1984. Although the lighting isn't so good, you can see a picture of the composer in the background, and costumed dancers in the foreground. This is the original brass arrangement.

The next Dunavsko is an arrangement for accordion and played by an American musician who does a phenomenal job with Bulgarian folk music. A number of folk dances are posted on his channel, plus a tutorial on how to play Elenino Horo (Eleno Mome), another very popular Bulgarian dance. You can find links to the sheet music on his YouTube profile if you're feeling ambitious. And is that a Martenitsa I see on his wall?

There are some people, however, who consider the accordion an instrument of torture, like my husband. One day he returned home from work while I played the previous video and the first words out of his mouth were "Turn that damned accordion off!"

If you enjoy accordion music, or are interested in using it for pain and torture purposes, this post is a must read:


The Bulgarian Police Band is a fine group of musicians. When they're not out in the streets keeping order and arresting the riffraff, they're playing some really good stuff. They have a varied repertoire, which includes American big band music, military marches, and Bulgarian folk dances. This piece is Memorial For Diko Iliev, based on his Dunavsko Horo. It's a modern version which took some getting used to, but now I really like it.

For more about Diko Iliev, his life and his music read:


More music by Diko Iliev can be found here:


You can find other variations of Dunavsko Horo (not by Diko Iliev) in the following posts. The first one is played on traditional Bulgarian folk instruments:


This one is a brass band rendition, with dancers in colorful folk costumes.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


  1. Wow that first dance looks like fun! Fast music too! LOVED the accordian! Those fingers were flying over the keys!

  2. It is a fun dance, and I've led it at Friday night folk dances. We do it to different music, which is a little bit slower, but it's strenuous and can leave you out of breath if you're not in shape (and even if you are....)

    Like you, Tracie, I love accordion music, especially from the Balkans, and the guy in the video is amazing! I guess you wouldn't consider it an instrument of torture like my family does :)

  3. Along with the caffeine, this has helped to wake me up this morning :)
    This is one of Ireland's best known accordian players.

  4. "Blackbird" is a nice piece. I've heard Irish acccordion music, they do a good job with it, almost as good as the Bulgarians :))))