Thursday, January 23, 2020

Songs That Tell a Story

I would like a wine. The purpose of the wine is to get me drunk. A bad wine will get me as drunk as a good wine. I would like the good wine. And since the result is the same no matter which wine I drink, I’d like to pay the bad wine price.
Steve Martin

Today's post is about songs that tell a story.

Video #1 is a dance song from North Macedonia that tells the story about a rabbit on his way to Salonika to get married. He had several adventures on the way, and almost got killed by the hunters and their dogs.  It has a surprise ending!

The song is Zaiko Kokorajko and the dance to it is Arap.

The dancers in Video #1 and Video #2 are from Vienna, Austria.

Video #2 is Sadi Moma, a song from the Pirin region of Bulgaria. It describes a young woman who planted a grape vine. The vine became really big and the grapes from it produced barrels of wine and rakia so strong the soldier who drank it was out of commission for a week. He must have had one hell of a hangover when he finally woke up. Was it good wine or bad wine?

Sadi Moma also underwent a second incarnation as the Free Software Song. It wasn't the same guy who had the hangover after drinking the wine and rakia.

Video #4 is the Dance of Zalongo (you can read the story and the translation of the song here.) This was a really dramatic event that occurred in Greece in 1815. It's similar to the story of Masada, where the inhabitants chose mass suicide over slavery.

The music is in 7/8 (pineapple-apple-apple). There is no dancing in the video, although there is a picture of women in Greek folk costumes, as well as a statue that depicts women dancing to their deaths on the rocks below.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Dance of Osman Taka

The Rebels (Haidouks) in Bulgarian Folk Songs

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

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused: Part 19: Dunavsko Horo and Dunavsko Daichovo Horo

If I look confused, it is because I am thinking.
Samuel Goldwyn

Let's start 2020 with one of my favorite topics: Balkan dances that are often confused. It is the series that never ends. If you are a regular, you had probably read the previous 18 posts on this fascinating topic.

Video #1 features a group from the Czech republic, from the city of Brno. Despite the "soubor Pirin" in the title of the video, this is not music from southwest Bulgaria (Pirin region) but from the northwest region. Are you confused yet?

They perform a medley of two dances: the first a Vlach dance (known as Krajdunavsko, or from the Danube region).  Vlach dances are characterized with a lot of fast steps, crossovers and stamps. At 2:04 is the Dunavsko Daichovo Horo.  Daichovo is also a dance popular in northern Bulgaria and there are several variations, with different choreographies and different music.

The original version of Dunavsko Daichovo was composed by someone in the group Orchestra Horo. They are from the city of Ruse, and their specialty is modern renditions of folk songs and dances from the northern region of Bulgaria. The ensemble celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. I'm sure they will make it to their 60th in 2022.

The album cover below is probably from one of their original albums. Remember when there were records instead of digitized music?

Things get to be even more confusing because there is a very famous piece by Diko Iliev, that he composed and introduced in 1937: Dunavsko Horo.

This piece has a martial motif because Diko Iliev was involved with military bands in a number of towns and cities in Bulgaria. Diko Iliev had also fought in the First Balkan War as well as World War I. He was also the bandmaster in the town of Oryahovo, where he composed numerous works.

Video # 3 combines an old war movie with Dunavsko Horo.  The explosions seem to be in time with the music.  The music begins at 0:19. The New Year fireworks in Bulgaria are also in synch with the music. (If you want to see those, check out the 2020 New Year Post).

There are different tunes used for Dunavsko Horo . The choreography is essentially the same no matter what music is used because you can hear the dance in the music.  Here is an example of a more traditional version with dancers in folk costumes.  The group is Ensemble Gotse Delchev.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused, Part 18 (links to rest of the series)

The 2020 New Year Post (fireworks)

Same Dance, Different Music: Dunavsko Horo

Orchestra Horo: Modern Bulgarian Folk Songs, Traditional Rhythms

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