Thursday, September 20, 2018

Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Tune: Bucimis

I'm attached to the beat. The beat speaks words. I love music.
Travis Scott

One of the most popular (and difficult) folk dances is Bucimis from the Thracian region of Bulgaria.

Video #1 is the melody and the dance we know and love.  It is short, only a minute and half long.

This tune has made the rounds in some musical circles (pardon the pun).  It is challenging to play because it's in 15/16.

Odd time signatures are very common in Balkan music.  This is the only dance I know of in 15.  Western musicians in general, have difficulty internalizing the rhythms because they are so used to music in 2's and 4's.

In the next two videos, the musicians have mastered the rhythm.  They also play it on instruments not usually used in Bulgarian folk music (except for accordion in Video #2, and tarambuka in Video #3).

Video #2 starts with a very long drum solo.  For some reason drummers have a field day with this piece. The melody, played on mandolin and accordion, starts at 2:50.

In video #3, a group that usually performs Middle Eastern and medieval music, plays Bucimis with violin, two recorders, drum, tarambuka, and oud.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Classical Musicians Play Balkan Folk Music

Mandolins, Marimbas, and Bulgarian Folk Music

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