Monday, June 11, 2012

More Odds and Ends from the Universe of YouTube

The unusual, the different and the quirky: I love them all. Especially when it has to do with Balkan folk music.

The first video takes place in New York, about sixty miles north of New York City near a town with the Dutch name of Poughkeepsie. The Dutch were the first Europeans to explore (I refuse to say discover because the natives were there first!) the area surrounding what is now the thriving metropolis of New York City. In 1664, the British took New Amsterdam from the Dutch and renamed it after the Duke of York, they have been speaking English there ever since (plus a couple of hundred other languages.....)

The celebration depicted is the reopening of a bridge, years ago it had originally carried freight trains across the Hudson River; then it was abandoned when the line was no longer profitable. An organization called Walkway Over the Hudson revitalized the bridge, creating a way for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the river. Next time I'm in upstate New York I have to check out this bridge; it has some pretty amazing views.

The Raya Brass Band from Brooklyn inaugurated the opening of the Poughkeepsie Bridge back in 2009. They led the way with an odd cast of characters: stilt walkers, hoopers, unicyclists and...aliens? The music played by the band is a Romani tune from Bulgaria, Ciganko.

For more about the Walkway Over the Hudson (also known as the Poughkeepsie Bridge):

The next video was emailed to me by a friend. This is a very large group performing two Macedonian folk dances in the downtown area of Pecs, Hungary. I wonder if this was a flash mob video, not only does everyone know the steps, but it looks like the entire town is there. The second song is one very popular amongst folk dancers, Dimna Juda; the name of the dance is Kopacka.

The translation for Dimna Juda can be found here:

The last video in today's lineup is of twin sisters, the Duo Stoyanova, playing a Bulgarian folk dance, Radomirska Kopanitsa, on classical guitars. The guitar is not native to Bulgaria, and it is usually associated with music from Spain. One of the comments on YouTube mentioned (in Spanish) about how replacing the tambura, a Bulgarian folk instrument, with guitar gave this piece a Spanish accent. These two ladies did a really good job with it.

For more on the Duo Stoyanova, in German, English and Bulgarian click this link:

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Folklore and Pop Culture: Odds and Ends from the Universe of YouTube

The Tambura in Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Croatian Folk Music

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