Monday, May 25, 2020

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused, Part 20: Kasapsko Oro and Kasapsko Horo

If we each had to butcher our own meat, there would be a great increase in the number of vegetarians.
Ernest Howard Crosby

First of all, I would like to mention that I am not a vegetarian. Or vegan.  I eat meat. As a child, I went on weekly trips with my dad to the butcher shop.  He saved my dad the best cuts of pork chops and steaks. His shop had sawdust on the floor and he wrapped the meat in waxed paper.

It's time for the 20th installment of "confusion, Balkan style" and it has to do with butchers, who provide carnivores and omnivores (human and animal) with a steady supply of meat.

"Kasap" comes from the Turkish word for butcher. The Balkan region was part of the Ottoman Empire for over 500 years.

In the Balkans, the butchers also danced!  Today's dances are from North Macedonia and Bulgaria. There are three different dances with similar names but different music; you have to be specific on which "Kasapsko" when requesting one of these dances. The Bulgarian ones come from two different regions which adds even more to the confusion.  You read this blog to become confused, right?

Video #1 is Kasapsko Oro from North Macedonia.

Video #2 is Kasapsko Horo from northwest Bulgaria. What adds even more to the confusion that it's the same group, Dunav, from Jerusalem, Israel. You would think that a group from Israel would be into Israeli dance, but they specialize in dances from the Balkans and the Middle East.

Video #3 is Kasapsko Horo, this time from southwest Bulgaria (Pirin).  Different music and different choreography from Video #2.  These dancers wear elaborate embroidered costumes; this time it's a performing group from Bulgaria.

The zurna, an instrument that resembles the oboe, originally from Turkey, has also become part of the music of the Pirin region of Bulgaria as well as North Macedonia. (There is no zurna in this piece, but you can read about it in the one of the posts listed below. It is an instrument people either love or hate).

Video #4 shows a kind-hearted butcher from Istanbul, Turkey who converses with a cat and offers her choice cuts of meat. She was a daily visitor to his shop .  The cat's name was Yesim. Yesim came to the shop every day for five years, and the butcher, Ikram Korkmazer, took care of her.

Istanbul is known for its stray cat population.  The cats walk into stores and people feed them. They are ferals who maintain their independence and for the most part, have passing relationships with humans. 

Unfortunately, Yesim got sick from dehydration and hypothermia from living on the street; Ikram the butcher took her to an animal hospital. Unfortunately, she passed on.

This video is a loving tribute to Yesim and the butcher. Her favorite food was liver. She asked for it by name 😺.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused, Part 19: (you will find a link to the rest of the never ending series at the end of this post.

The Zurna in Bulgarian Folk Music (cultural cross-pollination)

The Butchers' Dance in Balkan Folklore (includes Hasapiko, dance of the butchers' guild in Greece)

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