Monday, April 28, 2014

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Tune: Gankino Horo

Today's dance is the very popular Gankino Horo from the northwestern region of Bulgaria.

First, let's have a look at the dance. It's fairly easy once you get the feel of the 11/16 rhythm.  That little "hiccup" in the middle takes some getting used to.

The 11/16 rhythm is also used in the dance kopanitsa.   Gankino Horo is a kopanitsa, but not all kopanitsas are Gankino. Ganka is a female name in Bulgaria, and the dance may have been named after the woman who led it. This may or may not be true. There are a number of Bulgarian dances named after women or girls for example: Elenino Horo (Elena's Dance).

The dancers are from the Dunav group from Jerusalem in Israel (if you're a regular you have seen many of their videos on this blog). The music is from an old recording by Boris Karlov, a musician who died nearly 50 years ago.  You can read more about him in one of the posts listed below. He created many arrangements of Bulgarian folk dances for accordion that are still used today.

Since the month of May is almost here, the next variation is Maisko Gankino Horo by Diko Iliev. You'll hear the same motif, but it sounds quite different played on brass instruments.

If you're not familiar with the name Diko Iliev, he was a composer from northwestern Bulgaria who composed many pieces based on folk dances.  His most popular work is Dunavsko Horo, played during holidays and celebrations, and especially to welcome the New Year.

The next video of Gankino Horo uses different music.  There is more than one tune associated with this dance, and I have found several versions on YouTube.  In that respect it is like the dance Dunavsko Horo.

Finally, we have a duo of classical musicians. They play an rrangement of Gankino on piano and cello. This is the familiar melody you heard in the first two videos.  Classical musicians can be sometimes intimidated by the unusual rhythms of Bulgarian folk music, but not these two. They do an excellent job with the piece and play it FAST.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

Variations on a Theme by Diko Iliev

Happy New Year 2014 Same Dance, Different Music: Dunavsko Horo

Classical Composers Inspired by Balkan Folk Dances

Springtime Music by Diko Iliev

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

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