Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crossing the River: Folk Music from the Romanian Region of Dobrogea

Today's post features some delightful Romanian folk music and dance from the region of Dobrogea (Dobrudja). It is the land between the Danube and the Black Sea and spans two countries; the northern portion is in Romania and the southern portion in Bulgaria.

Asymmetric rhythms are part of the Romanian musical fabric. This article explains the prevalance of this in Romanian folk dances, which share some characteristics with those of their neighbors across the Danube in Bulgaria.

A group from Denmark performs a dance that I best describe as "rachenitsa with a Romanian accent." Just don't call it that in Romania; their name for it is Geampara. As for the music, it bears little resemblance to Bulgarian folk music except for the rhythm: apple-apple-pineapple. If you listen closely you can hear the cimbalom and the panpipes.

Ochesica Dobrogeană is a lively lilting song in 7/8 rhythm about a beautiful brown girl from Dobrogea. She probably spends lots of  time in the hot sun, working in the fields. The song conveys a sense of pride about being from Dobrogea.  According to the translation on the YouTube page, this is actually a love song.  To me it looked more like a mother singing about her daughter.  The attractive young woman is beautifully dressed in an embroidered outfit, no way would she actually use it for work :)

The next video is of a dance similar to Bulgarian Daichovo Horo, another dance in an uneaven rhythm (it's in 9: quick-quick-quick-slow). On this side of the river it's Cadâneasca. When things change nationalities, they often change names. The River of Many Names does that too, Bulgarian Dunav becomes Dunărea in Romania.

Joc Batrinesc is a dance that's very popular at our Friday night dances. This one is slow and graceful with beautiful music. Joc Batrinesc translates into "old dance", could it be a dance choreographed specifically for senior citizens?

If you enjoyed this you may also like The Bagpipe in Romanian Folk Music

Some folk dances from Bulgarian Dobrudja. A good way to stamp out your frustations.

More interesting and unusual instruments in Balkan folk music (check out the lady playing the panpipes).

New! Crossing the River Part 2:  The Stick Dancers:  Căluşari and their Bulgarian counterparts

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