Monday, October 3, 2011

The River of Many Names Part 3: Folk Ensembles and Performing Groups with the name "Dunav"

Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go. ~Blaise Pascal

Today's post is a another Close Encounter of the Danubian Kind. You get to visit different countries by way of music, enjoy some beautiful scenery and watch some fantastic folk dancing from Bulgaria.

During my forays in the Universe of YouTube I have found several groups that play, sing or dance to Balkan music. They all have one thing in common, the name "Dunav," which is Bulgarian/Serbian for Danube.

This river has been an inspiration for many artists, musicians and poets, from Germany all the way to Romania, but the Bulgarians seem have been the most smitten by the river that forms their northern border with Romania.

The ensemble Dunav, from Vidin in Bulgaria, is an example of Bulgarian artistry inspired by the River of Many Names. The beginning of this video is especially worth watching. Notice that the man shakes his head from side to side after seeing the images in the water. Are they a figment of his imagination? The dancers are amazing, and so is the scenery, the ship in the background, however, is a distraction. But, then, that's minor.

If you are a regular reader of The Alien Diaries, you have seen these people before. Their teaching videos are all over YouTube, and their specialty is dances from the Balkans and the Middle East. Dunav, a group from Jerusalem, Israel, describes their website as "the sharing place for Balkan music and dance." Check out their link:

Here they perform Talima, from Dobrudja, the northeast region of Bulgaria which just happens to be along the River of Many Names.

In the States, folklore and culture are often found at church festivals. These events are held during the summer at Eastern Orthodox churches located in large cities on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Many immigrants from Eastern Europe settled there because they were able to find work in the factories and in the steel mills. They wanted to keep the traditions alive for the next generation; the church had a hand in this by sponsoring classes in traditional music, dance, and the language of the old country. In turn, the festivals raised money for the church. The greater community benefits by being exposed to a foreign culture. I've been to Greek, Serbian, Albanian, Romanian, and Bulgarian festivals, to me it's like visiting another country without leaving my own.

The Dunav Orchestra performs at a Serbian festival in Indiana. This, to me, sounds like Croatian tamburitza music. The country doesn't matter, it's a pleasure to listen to.

The last "Dunav" group is from London. This performance, from their trip to Romania in 1993, is of a lively Romanian folk song.

If you enjoyed this post, you will also like The River of Many Names (parts one and two). Part one is a musical journey.

Part two has songs and dances from Bulgaria related to the Danube:

For more on ethnic festivals, read:

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  1. That was quite a trip. Enjoyed reading about and watching the Ensemble Dunav. Those guys in the white trousers. Phew, what energy.

  2. What great fun it is to come along with you in these posts! :)

  3. thanks all for stopping by...and glad you all enjoyed the trip :)