Friday, June 23, 2017

Another Odds and Ends Post from the Universe of YouTube

The things that stand out are often the oddities.
Pierre Salinger

Every so often I like to do an "odds and ends" post.  They are best categorized under "miscellaneous" and feature something unique about Balkan folklore. There have been a number of them in the past (see links at bottom of page), but I have never made a numbered series of them.

Video #1 is best described as a jam session with Macedonian folk musicians.  They play traditional and modern instruments: tupan (drum), kaval (flute), accordion and guitars, and make beautiful music.

This is a medley of dance tunes in 7/16 (galloping-apple-apple): Ratevka and Sitna Lisa. Pay attention to the little girl at the lower left hand corner of the video at about 1:00.  She's got rhythm!

If you want to see the dances done to these melodies, please check out the posts listed at the bottom of the page.

Video #2  shows the group Formatsia Iliev from Bulgaria. The aerial views are fantastic. The scenery is surreal.

I don't know how all these musicians can fit in a small boat and not capsize. They are also boating in an area that looks like an obstacle course with dead trees sticking out of the water. The river is the Danube, River of Many Names (and many obstacles.) The rocks appear later in the video.

The video begins with a man fishing, and the musicians pop up and surprise him. The next scene takes place on the riverbank, with the guys playing an upbeat Bulgarian Vlach tune on accordions, clarinet, keyboard and drum.  Behind them is the obstacle course with sunken trees. At 2:15 and 3:35 a group of young female dancers in northern Bulgarian folk costumes appears.  At 2:58 the musicians are on a rocky shore at sunset.  It's best to watch the video in its entirety to get the full effect of weird. I would like to know where the really BIG rock came from.

At 4:05 the name of the town, Marten, appears and shortly after that the musicians leave in a donkey cart.

Although Marten is a small town numbering about 3,000 people, somehow I found it in English Wikipedia; it is not far from the large city of Ruse and was once a Roman fortification.  The town is also known for a large meteorite crater.

The name of the tune translates to "Martenska Teaser."

This is one of the most unique music videos I've ever seen and the music is great.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Macedonian Oro (includes Ratevka)

Dancing in Sevens, Part Two (includes Sitna Lisa)

The Alien Diaries Presents: Odds, Ends, Bits, Pieces and Even More Cool Stuff from the Universe of YouTube

More Odds and Ends from the Universe of YouTube

More Odds and Ends: Misconceptions About the Cyrillic Alphabet, Bagpipes, and Bulgarian Geography

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused, Part 13: Sandansko Horo and Strandzhanko Horo

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius.
Larry Leissner

At dance, there are many well-educated people. For some reason many folk dancers are into math and science. I don't know how many of them are geniuses, but if genius thrives in an atmosphere of confusion, I am in good company.

The never ending series on sound-alike dance confusion continues.

Video #1 is Sandansko Horo, named after the town of Sandanski, located in the Pirin region of Bulgaria.  This dance has a compound rhythm structure of 9/16 and 13/16.

If you listen to the music carefully, you will hear the kaval (open ended-flute) and the tambura (lute-like instrument popular in southwestern Bulgaria).

Remember last week's post with female dance leaders and skirts? The leader wears a skirt, but it's short enough for the other dancers to see her feet. I'm glad short skirt lady is leading and and not the woman third in line 😊.

Video #2 is Strandzhankso Horo from southern Bulgaria. The rhythm of this dance sounds like it's in 9/8, almost like a slow daichovo.  From what I've seen on YouTube, this dance is not performed outside Bulgaria. There are many amateur dance groups that perform in competitions all over Bulgaria and the video below is an example.

Strandzha is the region best known for Nestinari (fire dancers). They dance on coals on the feast day of Saints Constantine and Helen which falls on May 21st.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused (there are many!) Just follow the link in Part 12 which goes to the rest of the series.

On Female Dance Leaders and Long Skirts

The Balkan Buy One Get One Free Special: Dances in Compound Rhythms

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On Female Dance Leaders and Long Skirts

Long skirts are annoying; they get in the way.
Natalie Dormer

Folk dancing is a follow the leader thing. But if you can't see the feet, how do follow?   There is something about a long, flowing skirt that some people like; however, if a female with a long skirt leads a dance, it's hard to see her feet.

Today's post features leading ladies wearing skirts. The dances are easy ones from Serbia, and most people can pick them up by watching. What do you do if you're totally new to folk dancing? Or if you've been dancing a while and are not familiar with the dance?   Sometimes the best thing to do is follow behind and find someone wearing pants who knows what he or she is doing.

Video #1 is Raca, a Vlach dance from Serbia.  It's an easy dance that's easy to screw up if you don't pay attention, especially when it speeds up. It tends to go awry when people try to have a conversation while doing it. (Hint, the faster the music, the smaller the steps).

Notice how the lady third in line had to bend over to see what the leader was doing.

Video #2 is the dance Srbijanka. Leader and the woman behind her both wear long skirts. You have two choices: follow the third person in line or follow the man at the end. (He knows what he's doing, but that isn't always the case).

By the way, I never wear skirts at dances.  It's too cold in my area for most of the year, and in summer I prefer capri pants. I also wear colorful shoes, so when I lead, it's easier for people to see my feet.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Fun and Easy Folk Dances From Serbia

Stamp it Out: Vlach Dances From Serbia

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