Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Macedonia

May God smite, Tina, Tina,
your old mother, Tina, Tina,
Your old father.

Tino More, Macedonian Folk Song

Today's post features dances from the Republic of Macedonia.  It used to be part of a country that no longer exists: Yugoslavia.

Macedonia is a name that confuses people, especially those who are unfamiliar with the history of eastern Europe. There are three countries that lay claim to the name either as a region or country:  northern GreeceThe Republic of Macedonia and the Pirin region of Bulgaria.

Although many Macedonian dances are in complex rhythms (such as čoček in 9/16 or Sitna Lisa in 7/8) two of today's dances are in even time signatures.

Video #1 is a group from Ottawa, Canada;  the dance is Narodno Oro (translation: "folk dance.")  This dance was originally titled Gaidarsko Oro  (Bagpipe Dance).  The bagpipe player is Pece Atanasovski, (1927-1996) a well-known Macedonian folk musician and dance teacher. You can read more about him here, as well as watch him play the gaida in this old video from Macedonian TV.

I have this tune on my MP3 player.  It is so old you can hear the hissing of the needle on the record shortly before the music plays.  The music in in 4/4 time.

Video #2 is Tino Mori. I'm surprised there is a dance to this song because the lyrics are about illness and death. God obviously isn't too happy, either because Tina's parents have married her off to a man far away. Like the God of the Old Testament, he's ready to zap them, or worse.

The song is about a woman named Tina who is about to lose her husband to some mysterious illness. His condition is so critical that there are three doctors at the foot of his bed.  Anyway, the music is pleasant to listen to if you don't focus too much on the the tragic lyrics, and it's an easy dance to learn, even though it's in an odd rhythm: 7/8.

Video #3 is Povrateno, a dance with smooth, cat-like steps.  Like many dances from Macedonia, it speeds up as the music progresses.  Add a few turns to make it more interesting, and remember to keep those claws retracted :) The music is in 2/4.

The dancers are familiar to regular readers of this blog.  The Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel, describes its website as "the sharing place for Balkan music and dance." They have dance videos, music scores, song lyrics, music downloads and a YouTube channel.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Fun and Easy Dances from Romania

Fun and Easy Dances from Bulgaria

Fun and Easy Dances from Serbia

Dancing in Sevens, Part Two, The 7/16 Rhythm in Macedonian Folk Music

The second video in the Bufcansko post uses the Pece Atanasovski music for the dance. This version is very popular in Macedonia.

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