Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dancing Through the Alphabet: Letter S

I had a very simple, unremarkable and happy life. And I grew up in a very small town. And so my life was made up of, you know, in the morning going to the river to fetch water - no tap water, and no electricity - and, you know, bathing in the river, and then going to school, and playing soccer afterwards.
Ishmael Baeh

Today's dance is Staro Gradesnisko Horo. According to the notes it's from the Pirin region, southwest Bulgaria. Bulgarian folk dances are often named after towns or regions; this one is named for the town of Doina Gradesniska.

The song is about a common theme in Bulgarian folklore: a girl who goes out to fetch water.  Back in the days before indoor plumbing, the girls and young women had the tedious chore of getting water from the well or the spring for cooking and cleaning.

While fetching water, this girl has an encounter with a young man who makes trouble (but he is actually in love with her).  I couldn't get an exact translation, but if you understand German or Bulgarian you can find the lyrics here.

The dance starts is unusual in that it starts with a hesitation after the introduction. It's very short, just over two minutes long.

Today's bonus video is by the Bisserov Sisters. It is a performance dating from 1989, and the song is about the dangers of going to the well late at night.  Included are English subtitles.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Best of the Bisserov Sisters (and family).  The Pirin style of singing features beautiful and unusual harmonies.  These ladies have been singing together for a very long time; and the entire family is involved with making music.  How do they deal with sibling rivalry? I have yet to find out how they get along so well...

Bulgarian Dances Folk Dances Named After Cities and Towns

The Bulgarian Fascination with Water, Evidence from Folklore, Music and Proverbs

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