Thursday, July 16, 2015

Variations on a Theme By Diko Iliev Part 2: Gankino Horo

Music is the melody whose text is the world.
Arnold Schopenhauer

Today's post features several versions of Gankino Horo as interpreted by the composer Diko Iliev.  He lived from 1898 - 1984 and is best known for the piece Dunavsko Horo, danced at just about every celebration in Bulgaria, especially during the New Year.

To get an idea about what the dance is about (since I couldn't find anything on YouTube with people dancing to Iliev's Gankino Horo) watch the video below. If you are familiar with The Alien Diaries, you will recognize the Dunav group from Jerusalem in Israel.

The rhythm is 11/16 ( quick-quick-slow-quick-quick).  Gankino Horo is a dance in the kopanitsa family and there are many fancy versions of kopanitsa out there. The one in the video is the basic village dance. The slow beat is the "hiccup" in the middle.

The music arrangement is by Boris Karlov, an accordionist of Roma origin. (It is easy to confuse him with the movie actor with a similar name, Boris Karloff.  If you're a fan of old movies, you may find this link of interest).

The melody is familiar to folk dancers around the world.  Karlov made many recordings of Bulgarian folk dances  for accordion and this one is extremely popular more than fifty years after his death in 1964.

Diko Iliev also used this melody in his Maisko Gankino Horo; there is a link to it at the end of this post.

Remember all Gankinos are kopanitsas, but not all kopanitsas are Gankino.

The next video is music by Diko Iliev: Dukovitsko Gankino Horo.  My guess is that it's name after a village or town.  Many Bulgarian dances are named after cities or towns.  Some are named after people. Ganka is a female name in Bulgaria.

The CD cover pictured is from the album Spomeni (memories, not a fancy Italian ice cream called spumoni.) Confused? Look it up on Google Translate.

There is a picture of the composer, a score from one of his pieces and a bouquet of red flowers.It must be something connected with Diko Iliev.  Does anyone out there know why?

This version of Gankino is actually named after a person named Gano. He is a winner (gano means "I win" in Spanish. Bad joke).  In both Spanish and Bulgarian, female names usually end with the letter "a", male names with the letter "o".

If you like two for the price of one here is Rachenitsa followed by Gankino Horo.  It is common in a horovod (medley of Bulgarian folk dances) to combine dances in different rhythms.  Rachenitsa is in 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed; say the words "apple-apple-pineapple" and you have rachenitsa.

This album cover is a view from the town of Oriahovo, where Diko Iliev lived for 42 years. The town square is named after him.  The Bulgarian National Radio compiled this CD, and you can hear the music from it on YouTube.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Tune: Gankino Horo (three different variations of the same tune by different artists, including Diko Iliev)

Variations on a Theme by Diko Iliev (several different arrangements of Dunavsko Horo)

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

Bulgarian Dances Named After Cities and Towns

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