Monday, March 14, 2016

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Chichovo Horo

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
Desmond Tutu

Today's post is written in memory of one of my favorite uncles. He passed on March 8, 2016 at the age of 85. He suffered from lung cancer during the last few years of his life and when the time came, he was ready. He had traveled extensively through Europe and Latin America and used to tell fascinating stories. I will miss him very much.

The featured dance is Chichovo Horo (Uncle's Dance). It is one of my favorites and the basic version is easy to learn by watching. I don't see too many folk dance groups in the States do it nowadays, although it is very popular in Bulgaria.

This dance can be done to different music, and in that respect it has much in common with another dance from the northern folklore region, Dunavsko Horo.

Chichovo is a member of the Čoček family of dances. I have seen Čoček danced to this piece during Balkan Music Night, a festival of music and dance celebrated every March in the Boston area.

Video #1 is a group of professional dancers in elaborate embroidered costumes.  The melody is the one most commonly associated with the dance.

In video #2 Daniel Spassov sings the song that goes with the music: Davai Chicho. This is an excerpt from a longer video Ide Duhovata Muzika (Here Comes the Brass Band).  If anyone out there can find me the lyrics and translation to the song it would be much appreciated.

This is one of the best versions of Chichovo I have seen on YouTube. The music for this dance is usually played by a brass band, but here the gaida (bagpipe), tupan (drum), and tambura (string instrument) dominate, along with singing. There is only one man performing with the women and he does all the fancy moves.  The actual dance starts at 1:38.

Video #4 is of a kids' group from Canada: Dimitrovche. They dance a different variation to music played by a brass band. Brass bands are very popular in Northern Bulgaria, and the composer, Diko Iliev, created many dance pieces for them.

The little girl is the real attention grabber here.  These kids have remarkable energy!

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Same Dance, Different Music: Dunavsko Horo

Here Comes the Brass Band!

Three Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chetvorno Horo

Having a Blast with Diko Iliev

The Alien Diaries will be taking a short break for the rest of March.  I will be posting again in early April. You can catch up on the other 300 posts :)  Enjoy!

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