Thursday, January 28, 2016

Time to Celebrate a Birthday!

You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.
Bob Hope

Today's post celebrates the birthday of Aneta Stan, Romanian folksinger.  Next week, February 2, she will be 72.

When people get past a certain age, too many candles on the cake can activate the smoke detector.  That is why number candles are popular with those who have double digit birthdays.

Here's a birthday greeting in Romanian from Talking Tom.  Tom is about to give himself a lactose attack.  He's a virtual cat so maybe milk doesn't have that effect on him. Maybe he would be better off eating cake?

Video #1 was taken recently during a TV progam honoring Aneta Stan.  It's a folklore show from Romania that reminds me of the Bulgarian program  Ide Nashenskata Muzika. The name is Noi suntem români (We are Romanians). Everyone on stage is dressed in elaborate embroidered costumes and flags are everywhere because it's a Romanian national holiday. 

The song translates to Happy Birthday Beautiful Country. The dance to this is geampara, closely related to Bulgarian rachenitsa (apple-apple-pineapple).

Video #2 is Sarba din Oltina. Sarba or Sirba is a very popular dance in Romania and this one is from Oltina, a village in the Dobrogea region.

Music from the Romanian region of Dobrogea is characterized by odd rhythms that are similar to those on the Bulgarian side of the Danube, River of Many Names.  This song is in cadeneasca rhythm, similar to Bulgarian daichovo.

Video #3 is one of Stan's earlier videos taken 1974 during the bad old days when Nicolae Ceaușescu ruled the land. Romania didn't have color TV broadcasts until 1983, and during that period programs were on for only two-three hours a day because Romania cut back its use on electricity in order to pay back foreign debt.

The song translates to Young Men in Dobrogea.

Aneta Stan is a native of Dobrogea, and her home town is Cernavoda, the town with a nuclear power symbol on its coat of arms.This song is a tribute to her native city. What is really cool is the bagpipe (cimpoi) solo in the introduction. By the way, you can dance to this as well, it's a sirba.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Another Country Heard From: The Bagpipe in Romanian Folk Music

More Songs from the Romanian Folklore Region of Dobrogea

Some Famous (and not so famous) Folk Songs from Romania

There is a bio as well as a playlist of songs performed by Aneta Stan on the Cernavoda Blog (in Romanian).

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bring on the Border Crossers!

The question of the value of nationality in art is perhaps unsolvable.
Edward Hopper

Today's dances have a reputation for crossing borders. There are elements of one or more country's influence in all of them.

The first is Arap .Although it is often listed as a dance from Macedonia, it is also very popular in Bulgaria.

Most groups dance Arap to a familiar song about a rabbit headed for Thessaloniki to find a bride. There are other tunes for this dance as well, some with singing and some without.

The Bulgarian version is done to different music, with no vocals.

Recently, one of the ladies in the Sunday group requested Bregovsko Horo.  It is a dance from northwestern Bulgaria near the Serbian border. We hadn't done that one in a long time.

This dance is part Bulgarian, part Vlach and part Serbian.  The steps are similar to Serbian čačak and the music sounds Serbian as well! There is also Vlach influence in the stamps.  The Vlachs in Bulgaria originally came from Romania and influenced the music and dance of the Vidin region. They traveled far and wide all over the Balkans because they often worked as shepherds.

This dance probably has dual or even triple citizenship from all those border crossings :)

Here is a čačak from Serbia for comparison; it is also known as the Five Figure Čačak.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Travels of Padjusko Horo

The "Flavors" of Serbian Čačak

Three Variations of the Bulgarian/Macedonian Dance Arap

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Voices from the Past: Classic Bulgarian Folk Songs, Part Two

It is easy to time-travel, the physicist says—we do it every day. Traveling backward is the problem.
― Rebecca Curtis

Today's post is another adventure in time travel: a musical journey into the world of classic Bulgarian folk songs.

The first video is Čuškata ljuta, pak ljuta (the hot red pepper song) performed by the Adjovi sisters.. It  became a favorite with the group Lyuti Chushki from Washington D.C.

The Adjovi twins bear a striking resemblance to the Gabor sisters (remember those actresses with the Hungarian accents and big hair?)  According to the bio on Bulgarian Wikipedia they were born in 1947, and as far as I know are very much alive.  They gave a performance not too long ago on the Bulgarian TV show Ide Nashenskata Muzika.

You can find the lyrics here, in Bulgarian and transliterated, along with a video and sheet music. Google Translate came up with a cute ditty that didn't make much sense (in English, anyway), but the song is catchy and fun, and best of all, you can dance pajduško to it!

If you like earworms, you will also like this song. It will take up residence in your brain for hours!

Kostadin Gugov was born in Sofia in 1935. His family came to Bulgaria as refugees from Greek Macedonia.  Like many other famous folksingers of his generation, he performed for the Bulgarian National Radio and later for Bulgarian National TV.

His specialty was mellow songs from the Pirin region. Some of his most popular songs are Ako Umram il Zaginam,  Zaiko Korkoraijko and Jovano Jovanke.  Shown below is a performance that he did many years ago.  He passed on in 2004.

You can also dance to the song; it's a lesnoto (pravoto).

Video #3 features the singer Pavel Sirakov, born in 1918.  He lived to the ripe old age of 88 and during his lifetime traveled all over Bulgaria with Boris Karlov, accordionist; singer Boris Mashalov and many other folk artists of the 20th century.

The performance is an excerpt from the TV show Ide Nashenskata Muzika and shows a performance from the year 1983 of the song Na Razdumka.  According to Google translate the song has something to do with gossip.  I don't see gossiping here, instead there are people toasting with glasses of wine during the holiday season. Maybe the wine loosens their tongues after they've had a little too much.

It is listed here as Chudno Horo. The dance to this music is a rachenitsa  in 7/8 rhythm (apple-apple pineapple).

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa, Parts One and Two

A Visit to Bulgaria and a Little Spicy Music

The Travels of Padjusko Horo

A Look at Peppers in Bulgarian Food and Folk Songs

Voices from the Past: Classic Bulgarian Folk Songs, Part One

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Voices from the Past: Classic Bulgarian Folk Songs Part One

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”
Stephen King

A Happy New Year 2016 to all my readers!

This week's post features classic Bulgarian folk songs by artists from the 20th century. Although they have all passed on, these voices from the past are the legends of Bulgarian folk music.

The best thing about these songs is that you can dance to them.

Boris Mashalov is perhaps the most famous of the older generation of folk singers.  He was born in Sevlievo in 1914 and sang ballads as well as dance tunes.  One of his most popular songs Myatolo Lenche Jabuka, is a rachenitsa, a dance in 7/8 meter (apple-apple-pineapple). This song describes a girl who throws an apple to choose a mate.  Big mistake.

Although most dancers are more familiar with the modern rendition of the song performed by Nikolina Chakardakova, the Mashalov version is the original.

This song is a blend of two talents: singer Boris Mashalov and accordionist Boris Karlov.

Mita Stoicheva, born in the village of Mekish, northern Bulgaria in 1909, based her songs on the region of Veliko Tarnovo.

This song translates loosely as What an Excuse to Dance.  Since this is a padjusko (dance in 5/8 meter, quick-slow rhythm). there is no excuse. Dance on.

Magdalena Morarova was a native of the Pirin region (town of Bansko). She is best known for the song Petruno Pile Shareno,
which accompanies the dance Petrunino Horo.

The song Okol Pleven is in pravo rhythm and is a narrative about the Siege of Pleven during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. The Russians beat the crap out of the Ottomans because the Sultan was unable to supply them with food, clothing, and weapons. Bulgaria won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878.

There will be more voices from the past in Part Two.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Petrunino Horo

Bulgarian Folk Songs Reincarnated

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

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