Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Different and Modern Arrangements of Bulgarian Folk Dances

Although I like traditional instrumentation in Bulgarian folk dances, once in a while something different catches my attention.

The first one is a very modern version of Pajduško Horo, played by the Bulgarian Police Band. (I think the combination of career in law enforcement and a career in music is little bit odd, although their musicianship is excellent). The Pajduško is a dance with an odd rhythm, like a heartbeat. The time signature is 5/8 (quick-slow). The Bulgarian Police Band has a varied repetoire, which includes American big band tunes, military marches, and Bulgarian folk dances, and there are many videos of them on The Universe of YouTube. Check them out.

Gankino Horo on an accordion and a gadulka is a more traditional version of this folk dance from northern Bulgaria. La Vieja Orkestina performs it in a bar in Barcelona, Spain. (Which makes you wonder, why does a band with a Spanish name play Bulgarian music? Bulgarians, I've noticed, are quite fond of music from Spain and especially Latin America, and one of the musicians in this duo is a Bulgarian). The musicians jazz it up in the middle, which makes it rather interesting. This is a very danceable piece in 11/16, the time signature for kopanitsa.

For an explanation of kopanitsa read:

This is a modern version of a rachenitsa, the national dance of Bulgaria, played by a Greek ensemble. The rachenitsa is another dance in an odd rhythm, 7/8 or 7/16, depending on how fast it is. The clarinet really stands out here, and so does the accordion. This is an excellent performance!

If you enjoyed this, you may also like Dancing to the Rhythm of a Different Drummer, everything you always wanted to know about rhythm in Balkan music (but were afraid to ask..)

For an in-depth look at the different "flavors" of Bulgarian rachenitsa read:

You can also read about the Travels of Pajduško Horo:

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  1. Another wonderful and informative piece full of wonderful music!

  2. thanks, Tracie for reading and the lovely comment! Glad you enjoyed.

  3. With the police band that's cruel and unusual punishment... just kidding :)