Saturday, December 29, 2012

Now that we've survived the end of the world...

Now that we've survived the end of the world and the craziness that is the Christmas holiday it's time to celebrate the New Year, Bulgarian style.  Today's post will feature party videos from different countries with Bulgarian folk dancing.

The first one takes place in Tampa, Florida in the United States, and this really exuberant group dances a rachenitsa, accompanied with lots of noise (presumably to drive away the evil spirits). Maybe they've had a little too much wine, the room seems to turn sideways :) I know it isn't me...

There are many versions of Dunavsko Horo around, and this dance always ushers in the New Year in Bulgaria; the one shown here is played on traditional folk instruments.  This group of young people is from Bulgaria.

The next group hails from Toronto, Canada. Check out the cute little girl in the center of the room (somehow they manage not to run over her).   The dance is Bachkovsko Horo, which looks very similar to Dunavsko, with a few more steps. It is a very energetic dance which should be done only by people in excellent physical condition :)

The music most often used for Dunavsko Horo on New Year's is by Diko Iliev; this father with his little boy are having fun with it.  They're pretending that they're shooting off fireworks while the little one blows the whistle and keeps time with the forks.  They're wishing everyone a Happy New Year all the way from California.

A very Happy New Year 2013 to all!

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Folk Dance Around the World:

Having a Blast with Diko Iliev: (everything you always wanted to know about the composer of Dunavsko Horo.)

All that gloom and doom predicted for 2012 is now just a memory.  Here is last year's New Year post.  You can look back on 2012 and be glad it's almost over.  What will 2013 bring? More of the same, I'm sure.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The End of the World Doomsday Post

But it is a delightful challenge to try to depict interesting aliens.
David Brin

Is the end of the world at hand? Are UFO sightings connected with the end of the world and a possible takeover by aliens?  

According to the Doomsday Prophets and the Mayan Calendar, the world is supposed to end on December 21st. And no one knows exactly how it's going to happen. Fire, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters are some of the events being predicted for this day, as well as a possible alien takeover.

We have had enough natural disasters to last a lifetime, so I hope it won't be any of those. However, with the world in the state it is, an alien takeover wouldn't be a bad thing. According to the Bulgarian National Radio, they are already living among us.

Maybe it's those dancers in the elaborate embroidered costumes. Bring them on!

Bulgarians are not averse to the idea of alien visitors judging from what I've read on the BNR website. This translation was taken directly from the Vidin affiliate and dated July 24, 2012:

UFO over house meetings in Novo Selo

An unusual phenomenon witnessed residents of Novo Selo on the eve of the traditional council. Apparition lasted 6 minutes, was observed near the new museum of the village, called House of meetings. Witnessed the unusual phenomenon occurred ten women who had gathered outside their homes, every night during the summer. Object that was the size of a soccer ball, appeared in the East and had stopped over the house meetings. After several minutes, the field is headed for the Danube.

Another time in this region of Novo Selo have observed similar phenomena were strong witnesses of the phenomenon. Despite a great life experience, women have so far not witnessed such events. Some were quick to explain the unusual event with the opening of the meeting house as a sign that the acquisition is expected and will be useful for Novo Selo.

the link to the source can be found here:

Computerized translations can get a little weird...if there are any Bulgarian speakers fluent in English,  please let me know if this one was accurate.

The second is from a blog about UFO's (in English.) I couldn't verify it with any Bulgarian sources; this event supposedly took place in March of 2012 in Kozloduy (the actual post was dated April 1, 2012.)  Maybe it was an April Fool's joke.  Who knows?

And finally, another sighting, dated November 25, 2012 in the town of Lom. There was interference with the TV transmissions and interruptions in the electricity  This was reported to Novinite, a news source from Sofia, Bulgaria.  As for this being an actual UFO, this remains to be proved; the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has to check it out first.

Judging from the frequency of UFO sightings in northwestern Bulgaria, extraterrestrials may be attracted to this area because of their folk music. There is an otherworldliness to this beautiful and poignant song, performed by Kaicho Kamenov; the UFO's have been seen flying over the Danube. Maybe the aliens are attracted to water.  And on foggy days, you can see all kinds of strange things :)

The world may not end on December 21st, and if it does I'll be at a folk dance.  The aliens will know where to find me.  The music will guide them :)  And if you do see any UFO's that day please let me know in the "comments" section. 

If you enjoyed this you may also like: Some Fun for April Fool's Day:

In case the Doomsday Prophecies don't come true, you can get into the spirit of Christmas with some Bulgarian folk songs:

For more on the Bulgarian connection with aliens and outer space read:

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bulgarian Christmas Songs (Koledarski Pesni)

Here are a couple of Bulgarian Christmas songs for your listening pleasure. The first is performed by Daniel Spasov and Milen Ivanov (if you are a regular reader of The Alien Diaries there was a post on Daniel Spasov last month.)  You will find a link to it at the end.

The asymmetrical rhythms of Bulgarian music are evident even in the Christmas songs. You can actually dance to the second one (it's Pajduško Horo).

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Christmas Folk Songs and Dances From Bulgaria

The Travels of Pajduško Horo (that dance gets around, doesn't it?)

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Romani Potpourri #2:

Romani flag, from Wikipedia

I'm not certain, but I have a little gypsy blood in me. And my mother always told me that her grandma could give someone the evil eye, and I'd better not cross her because she had some of that blood in her. Mother always believed that she could predict the future, and she had dreams that came true.
Sam Raimi

One of the reasons I'm fascinated with Gypsies (the politically correct name for them is Roma) is that they live a lifestyle outside of mainstream society. Music making, fortune telling, and horse trading were their traditional occupations.  They were a wandering people who, unfortunately, experienced discrimination wherever they went.

The Roma were originally from India. They made their way westward, and a sizable population of them live in Eastern Europe. They found they could make a living as musicians, and they were very good at it. 

The first video is a really old black and white broadcast from Austrian television (do any of you remember the days when there was no color TV? If you are over 50, you probably do.)  This is Esma Redžepova early on in her career, she began performing at the age of 14. The song is Romano Horo from the album Songs of A Macedonian Gypsy: (yes, despite the political incorrectness of this word, she is very proud of her heritage, calls herself the Queen of the Gypsies, and has been very much involved in humanitarian work in her homeland, Macedonia).

The second video took place in 2002. Esma has an enormously powerful stage presence and a very big voice! Her co-star is Toše Proeski, who was a very popular Macedonian singer and a superstar in his own right. His repetoire consisted of love songs, folk songs and pop music. Unfortunately he died much too soon; in a car crash five years ago. Check him out on You Tube, he was quite the performer. He knew how to work his audience, and the two combined are pure energy.

for more on Toše Proeski and Esma Redžepova click:

If you've been following this blog regularly you'll recognize Daniel Spasov, who was featured on The Alien Diaries about a month ago. The next two videos are from the album Ide Duhovata Muzika (Here Comes the Brass Band). Brass music is very popular all over the Balkans, and many of the musicians who play in these ensembles are of Roma origin. The song, Ciganko, is about a man in love with a gypsy girl.

This video caught my attention because of the colorful costumes and how the well the symbol for the Roma people (an Indian chakra resembling a wagon wheel) was cleverly worked in here (check out the wagon wheels). They are having quite the party here along the Danube, River of Many Names. The song is Eh, Ti Druzhe. Unfortunately the very end of the song was cut off, but this is still worth a look.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

People Are Afraid of What They Know Little About (about the situation of the Roma in Eastern Europe, along with some music).

A Romani Potpourri

A special "Thank You" to Tracie Skarbo, friend and author from Canada who published an interview with me on her blog recently.  You can read it here:

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