Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Can't Believe They're Not Bulgarian :)

Music happens to be an art form that transcends language.
Herbie Hancock

Today's featured group on The Alien Diaries is the Yale Women's Slavic Chorus.

The Chorus has been in existence since 1969, and they perform a wide variety of songs from Eastern Europe. Here is a little background on them with links to their YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

The Yale Slavic Chorus does a fantastic job with Bulgarian music, which sounds a little strange at first to those who haven't heard it before; the dissonant harmonies and uneven rhythms take some getting used to. What makes this music so beautiful is its uniqueness.

This video is an unusual performance of the folk song Ergen Dedo. If you watch it on YouTube, the description underneath reads "impromptu Bulgarian genius." The rhythm they're tapping and clapping so enthusiastically is 7/8 (apple-apple galloping), the meter for the rachenitsa, the national dance of Bulgaria. You can feel the love when they sing.

If you had been on a Manhattan bound N train in Brooklyn at 3 a.m. the third weekend of January you may have seen the takeover of a subway car by the Yale Slavic Chorus. They happened to be on the way home from a really good party, and the subway was the logical place to continue. (Is that a werewolf I hear at the end of the song?)

The party was the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, held every year on the third weekend in January. The Golden Festival is a showcase of Balkan bands and musicians; people come from miles around to watch them perform and to dance the night away.

For more about the Golden Festival read:

Finally, here they are singing Shto Mi E Milo. Bulgarian they're not, but you'd never know :)

If you enjoyed this you may also like Bulgarian Singing De-Mystified:

For more on Zlatne Uste, the band who started the Golden Festival back in 1985, read:
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