Friday, November 23, 2012

Post #150: The Inspiration Behind The Alien Diaries

When I got started with this blog back in 2010, I had no idea that this project would last over 2 1/2 years with a total of 150 posts so far, and that people from all over the world would read it.

The genesis of The Alien Diaries began in 2008 when when I started a private journal about my experiences with Balkan and Bulgarian folk music.  Two years years later I decided to go public since I saw very little in the Blogosphere (in English) about a topic I was so passionate about and I wanted to share my experiences and knowledge. So I decided to create a blog with a humorous and informative approach to things Balkan.

Much of my research comes from various websites. One of my favorites is BNR (Bulgarian National Radio). Many years ago they used to transmit via shortwave, nowadays you can only get their broadcasts via the Internet.  I discovered them online back in 2007, and learned much about Bulgaria and its folklore from them.  Thank you so much, BNR!

Here is the link to their English service:

A Facebook friend from Burgas, Bulgaria, who now lives in New York City was quite impressed by the research that goes into this after reading a few of my posts. He asked me if finding this information was time consuming.

Not at all, I told him, if you know where to find it.

When people tell me to "Google it" I do. Sometimes I find myself using Bulgarian Google, then going through the process of translation with the Google Translate tool. This especially works when I'm looking for information on Bulgarian musicians who are practically unknown here in the States.

There are also web sites with which I am familiar that post translations to many Balkan folk songs. Two of the best ones for song translations are Dunav in Israel and Songbook for Nearsighted People in Germany. You can find them here:

BNR has a Facebook page. I check it periodically to see if there is anything of interest that I might have missed. Their broadcast of November 11th featured the apple in Bulgarian folklore. Several months ago I had written a post about apples in Bulgarian folk songs, and sent them the link via the Facebook page. I was surprised to hear my name on their broadcast "Answering Your Letters. (You can hear it at minute 21.40)  

Inspiration for posts sometimes comes from unexpected sources. One was from a friend who had sent me a YouTube video with a Bulgarian folk song sung in Hungarian:

She had also tried to evict a family of raccoons living in her chimney with some Rhodope folk songs. This is an excerpt from the CD she played.

Her attempt was unfortunately, unsuccessful. She had to resort to calling pest control in the middle of the night to evict the little critters.

The Universe of YouTube has provided me with plenty of ideas; I found that there is some overlap between pop culture and folklore. One of my favorite videos involved an octopus, soccer players, and rachenitsa, a Bulgarian folk dance. The song was about Paul the Octopus. His claim to fame was predicting the winners of the 2010 World Cup soccer games. Unfortunately, Paul is no longer with us; he went to Pulpo Heaven in October, 2010.

If you have ideas for future posts, please mention them in the "comments" section!

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Folklore and Pop Culture

Forbidden Fruit and its Implications: The Apple in Bulgarian Folk Songs

One dance and its variations in four different countries.

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  1. What a wonderful post... love the bit about paul and the raccoons! :)

  2. We all have our inspirations, our muses, and our loves :)

  3. Thanks for the read and the comments, inspiration often comes when I least expect it. Today I received a e-mail from a friend with a funny YouTube video. This will be featured in a future post.