Monday, 30 December 2013

Concert in the Community center of Cherichevo, December 14th 2013

On 14th of December there was a pre-Christmas and New year meeting in the Community center of Chernichevo. One of the highlights in the event was the performance of the local amateur folk group. The small village from the Eastern Rhodopes is struggling to preserve its traditions and folklore. This year the group won a silver medal at the international Balkan Folklore Festival in Nedelino town. 

The building of the Community center is just like everything else in the village: well built few decades ago, but badly maintained today. As you can see in the video, the conditions in the Community centers are miserable - a falling plaster, a damaged electrical installation, a leaking roof. In this poor mountain area where the closest town is 25 kilometers away, life is hard. Private and public properties bear the signs of decline because of the lack of funding, but the singers deserve admiration for their devotion and will! What do you think drives these Bulgarian women? 

I think there are two reasons: first, they really want to keep and share their cultural heritage. Since their songs are part of their local culture and identity, by singing them, they build their sense of satisfaction from who and what they are, and strengths their sense of community. This is a very healthy approach. And second, their participation in the folklore group makes their life more diverse and interesting - they hold weekly meetings, or travel for some fests around the region, and they even have sung in a TV show. 

Lets wish them good luck!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Seven centuries later: did the dance remain the same?

Two months ago I wrote a post about medieval Bulgarians' life, seen through the frescoes of churches and monasteries from the 13th and 14th centuries. The post become very popular and this is not my merit - it is because of these spectacular masterpieces which bring the millennial heritage of the Bulgarian people. 

Today I will show you something really cool: (at least) seven centuries old tradition in folk dances. 

14th century: Bulgarian horo dancers from the Tower of Hrelyo in Rila monastery, 1334-35.
This is the medieval original: dancers hold their hands over one another. This approach is still in use today! Look at the picture below. It was taken several hours ago in the south Bulgarian town of Harmanli - seven centuries later the tradition is still alive!

21st century: Bulgarian amateur horo dancers from the town of Harmanli
during their repetition
, 2013.
So, did the dance remain the same? I can't claim this with certainty but obviously the approach that dancers use to hold their hands, is the same.