Friday, November 23, 2018

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance: Svatba

Wedding Fever is one of the scariest diseases I've ever seen.
Jessica Valenti

Today's featured song is Svatba (сватба in Bulgarian Cyrillic).  It means "wedding" in English.  The singer  in Video #1 is   Nikolina Chakardakova who is best known for folk songs from the Pirin region of Bulgaria.

You can find the lyrics here, in Bulgarian.  I couldn't find a translation into English.

The tune is very catchy.  I would classify it as an earworm because it takes up residence in your head long after the song is over.  Musicians play the zurna during the introduction at 0:45 (an instrument loud enough to wake the dead and intimidate enemies.)  The Turks brought the zurna to the Balkans.  It didn't intimidate the people of the Pirin.  Instead, it became an important part of their folk music.

Check out the part at 4:33 where the singer stands on top of the drums, with the guys dancing around her.  She gives a really good show.  The costumed dancers are eye candy too.

I imagine Pirin weddings must have been loud enough to be heard in the next town, maybe even as far as Blagoevgrad.

Version #2 of Svatba is the one we learned during a Lee Otterholt workshop.  Not as fancy as the first one but it was fun.  The moves in Video #1 would have been too much for a bunch of weekend dancers.

If you enjoyed this you may also like: A Bulgarian New Year Celebration with Nikolina Charkadakova

What happens when 100 people play the zurna:
The Zurna in Bulgarian Folk Music

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  1. The dance instructions, translation, etc, are at