Friday, August 5, 2011

Modern Versions of Traditional Bulgarian Folk Songs (part 2)

Bulgarian folk music has a quality which transcends time and leaves lots of space for improvisation, much like jazz in the States. The songs featured here, in their modern incarnations, remind me a little of American jazz, while retaining their distinct Bulgarian sound.

In a previous post, I wrote about modern renditions of some well-known traditional Bulgarian folk songs. You can read about them here:

Today's post features more Bulgarian folk songs, along with their modern incarnations performed by Diva Reka, a band which mixes traditional music with modern jazz. Here is a writeup on them from the Bulgarian National Radio along with some of their music.

Diva Reka was also the featured band on a very popular Bulgarian TV reality series, Nadigrame, which finished its eight week run in July, 2011. The show featured dance competitions between rival cities from different regions of Bulgaria. It was very well done, and despite the fact that I understand very little Bulgarian, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The show can be found here (episodes are each about an hour except for the finale).

The first song is a traditional interpretation of Nayden, performed by Pavlina Gorcheva.

This is the Diva Reka version, recognizable as a folk song and yet...different.

The Pirin Ensemble does some fantastic renditions of folk songs and dances from southwestern Bulgaria. Here they perform the traditional version of Dobra Nevesto. The rhythm is 7/8, the dance is a rachenitsa.

This is the modern interpretation of a group of songs from the Pirin region. Dobra Nevesto is somewhere in the middle, at about 2.40.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like An International Look at Reality TV Shows.

For more on Bulgarian rachenitsa (dance in 7/8 rhythm like the songs featured here) read:

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