Monday, January 30, 2017

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Song Chichovite Konje

All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song.
Louis Armstrong

Today's post features different versions of the Bulgarian folk song Chichovite Konje. It translates to "My Uncle's Horses" and is from the Shope folklore region. You can find the original lyrics with a translation here.

One of my uncles passed away recently. When he was a young man, he had a job tending horses, so this post is dedicated to him.  He lived to the age of 96.

Video #1 is the most popular version of Chichovite Konje,  sung by the Philip Koutev choir. This is a high energy piece of music, and typical of the Shope region.

Video #2 features a solo female singer. I don't know her name, but I got a little dizzy watching her. The background noise takes something away from the performance, which is otherwise good.

Video #3 is a totally different (and modern) rendition of this song.  This time it has a masculine touch with two men and one woman (one of the men plays a drum).  There is no other musical accompaniment.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Modern Versions of Traditional Bulgarian Folk Songs. Part Three (links to Part One and Part Two are included here).

How to Recognize Regional Differences in Bulgarian Folk Music, Part One

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dances from Spa Towns

Hot water is my native element. I was in it as a baby, and I have never seemed to get out of it ever since.
Edith Sitwell

Spa towns are known for healing thermal and mineral springs, used to treat many different ailments. Doctors in Europe often prescribe spa treatments; unfortunately this practice is not commonplace in the United States. The name "spa" originated from a town of the same name in Belgium.

Today's post features music and dance from spa towns in Bulgaria and Serbia.

Video #1 is of the Bulgarian folk dance Staro Bansko Horo (old dance from Bansko).  Bansko is a town in southwestern Bulgaria (Pirin region).  It is best known for its ski resorts, however the nearby village of Banya is the place where you find the spa and the hot mineral springs.

The music is typical of the Pirin region, in 7/8 meter (pineapple-apple-apple) with vocals and tarambuka accompaniment.

Video #2 is another dance from Bulgaria: Sandansko Horo, from the town of Sandanski, also in the Pirin region.  The rhythm alternates between 9/16 and 13/16.

Sandanski is a popular resort town with many mineral springs and is one of the warmest places in Bulgaria.

Video #3 is the popular dance Niska Banja from Serbia (from the town of the same name) Banja means "bath" in Serbian, and you can wash away your aches, pains and worries at the local spa.

Niska Banja is another odd-rhythm dance.  It is in 9/8. Although there is a choreography specific to this dance, we dance Devetorka to it.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Dances Named After Cities and Towns

Dances With Compound Rhythms

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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Foxy Singers of Bulgaria and Macedonia

Even the handsomest men do not have the same momentary effect on the world as a truly beautiful woman does.
Jonathan Carroll

One thing that I've noticed in my forays through the Universe of YouTube is the number of attractive female folk singers.  This could be a ploy to get more men to watch folklore videos.

I have to admit these videos are fun to watch and the performers are talented.

Video #1 is of Valya from Bulgaria. She wears a dress with folkloric accents that isn't overly revealing.  It looks good on her and she has an amazing voice.

Her backup is a group wearing costumes from the Northern folklore region.  The dance is a variant of Chichovo Horo.

The title of the song translates to "nine mountains." I couldn't find the lyrics or a translation.

Video #2 is of Aneta Arsovska, a singer from the Republic of Macedonia.  I think somehone had to pour her into that dress (it's tight!)  One of my readers (I won't reveal his name) will probably appreciate this video. She performs the song Majstore, Majstore.  

I found an English translation from Macedonian.  The word "majstore" is interpreted as "repairman." I think a more accurate word would be someone who is an artisan or master of a trade, The song is not about a master-slave relationship as depicted in  Fifty Shades of Gray. It is about the passion of a woman in love.

The dance to this is cocek.

In Video #3, this lady is practically popping out of that dress.  My guess is that it's attached onto that part of her anatomy with Super Glue since there were no wardrobe malfunctions.

Her name is Emilia and the song is Stano, Stano.  I had some trouble understanding the translation.  I think some idioms from Bulgarian don't translate well into English. My guess is that the song is about a man in love with a woman named Stana, who has burned the fire out of him.

A dance group accompanies Emilia and they wear elaborate embroidered costumes from the Bulgarian region of Thrace. The fire in the floor has some kind of connection with the song.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Women of Bulgarian Folk Songs

Songs From the Balkans About Women and Girls

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chichovo Horo

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.