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Leading Ladies of Bulgaria

reposted from 12 April 2015

Most everyone in Bulgaria will recognize singer Valya Balkanska – and many won’t be embarrassed to sing a bit of her most famous song, Izlel e Deljo Hajdutin (ask us, we should have taken videos!) Here’s the contemporary: Izlel E Delyo Haydutin from Bulgarian Idol. But you really need to check out the original as well: Valya Balkanska, the recording that traveled on Voyager. Don’t miss the beautiful Rhodope costume & scenery.

Readers of the blog will recognize the name of Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares. Three of the singers are famous both in their own right and as Trio Bulgarka. Trio Bulgarka is Yanka Rupkina from Strandzha, Stoyanka Boneva from Pirin, and Eva Georgieva from Dobrudzha. In this recording of Lalitsa sung by Yanka Rupkina, there is a really amazing kaval accompaniment by Theodosii Spassov. (The kaval deserves a post of its own … perhaps another day). To see how these ladies looked in 1989, watch this performance of Zaplakala E Gorata with the Biserovi sisters (they are all identified in the comments).

The late Nadka Karadjova from the region of Thrace was another singer well known outside of Bulgaria. She was famous as part of Quartet Slavei (nightingale) as well as a soloist. Here she is singing Neno le. The ornaments – wow, they have to be heard and savored is all I can say. We should all rock the house like this 2009 performance of Moma Kalina by the quartet. Hey, I want to sing like that when I’m 70!

I’ll close the post with a lovely lady and mentor, Donka Koleva. Donka performs with her family and with Kabile Wedding Band. This song, Turci ot Kalofer Slyazoha, showcases her beautiful voice and again features many ornaments.

It’s been an eclectic tour – with many opportunities to re-visit in order to hear more leading ladies!

The Mistress of Chaos bids you enjoy your weekend!

Weekend Sountrack

Never Drone Alone

WEEKEND SOUNDTRACK – Never Drone Alone  – reposted from June 9, 2014

Well the weekend is pretty much over, but here’s the soundtrack just the same!
Our friends will understand our love of the steady drone which underpins so many Balkan harmonies. The rest of you will shortly understand how much there is to enjoy as I share with you just a few of the songs that form our repertoire where the drone makes all the difference. We often tease each other by saying “Never drone alone.”

The Brothers Teofilovic really caught our attention with this version of Navali Se Šar Planina. We can only hope that when we perform this song we keep the level of tension that high!  The song tells the story of three shepherds caught on Šar Mountain by a storm, who plead with the mountain that they the must go home to their families.  The mountain refuses to release them saying “your wife will mourn you for a short time, your sister will mourn a bit longer but your mother will mourn you until she dies.” (A version of the lyrics slightly different than ours can be found at pesna.org in Cyrillic)

Here’s the Macedonian legend Vaska Ilieva singing a fabulous version of Ajde Red.  I can just picture clever Iljo the bandit hiding out in a tavern in Thessaloniki (which back in the day was known as Soluna Grada, the town of Soluna) drinking and flirting with the pretty serving women.  (See the lyrics courtesy of pesna.org.)

There’s more flirting going on, this time onstage with the Pirin Ensemble in this version of of Dobra Nevesta – Dobra the Bride.  This video is as much about the dancing as the singing but that’s ok. In case you were wondering, Dobra the bride is preparing for her wedding and the song provides a long list of everyone who will receive one of her hand-made presents – she stayed up all night spinning thread!

Thanks to the serendipity of the internet I came across this song, Ogreyala Mesechinka, which we don’t have in our repertoire.  I’m so happy to discover these ladies and their songs.  Mnogo blagodarya to sfenbb of http://etnograf-breznitsacom.blogspot.com/ who posted this one! I can see an entire posting coming about this region of Bulgaria.

Obviously we aren’t the only non-Bulgarians entranced by these “magical” arrangements.  The fabulous ladies of Čipkice, sing one of our recent favorites,  Izgryala E Mesechinka. We’ve been captivated by this song  for years but only recently did we settle on a arrangement and start singing it ourselves. The song is from Thrace and while the words don’t exactly translate, the song describes moonlight in a garden.

I’ve barely scratched the surface, but I’ll adjourn until another day.