It's been way too long since I've posted anything here...life has a way of intervening! First there was a busy time followed by 3+ weeks in Bulgaria; then a lot of computer hassles; then — not only the end-of-year holidays, but...I have been busy making two NEW KITTIES (once feral and with traces of that left) feel at home! Since they're not my Bulgarian research, I will only quietly put their pictures here (I may add a page for them some day soon). Suffice to say that I've been side-tracked from this blog by eight feet and two tails...
But a day or two ago I woke up to one of the joys of the internet: the director of the women's singing group in the village of Álino (Sámokov region) contacted me on Facebook. It turns out that he is either related to or neighbor to the 8 women who sang for me there in 1985! I hope this will give me an opportunity to get copies of my material back to the descendants of the people who sang them, and also to others who might be interested, or even singing them today.
Update: After posting this, I heard back from my new friend in Alino, Momčil Čalâkov (Момчил Чалъков). He sent me a handful of lovely videos of the women from Alino, and told me there are many more on Youtube. I've been watching them...but they've been put up by several different people. The easiest way to find them seems to be to search, on Youtube, in Bulgarian: just click on one of the links below (or copy and paste the search term) into the "Search" box on Youtube:
фолклорна група село Алино or
ЖПГ от с. Алино, and check them out.
Álino is less than a 20-minute drive from Samokov; it is located in the southern foothills of Plána Mountain, just two villages south of Kovačévtsi (birthplace of Kreména Stánčeva, singer extraordinaire). I recorded there just once, on 17 April 1985, 16 songs from a group of 8 women born between 1924 and 1933. Their songs are among those I consider not too "accessible" to people who are not into this music up to their eyeballs. The music is two-part and sung antiphonally (by two groups), the second group repeating what the first has sung, as we expect in this region. But sometimes it's a little hard to tell just what the melody is! The two parts like to hang out just a note or two apart, melodically — and come into unison only at the end of each verse. (It's such fun to sing things like this...)
Here is a dance song, sung while they were actually dancing. The dance was a pravo horo that I saw all over the region, but the little triplets near the end of each verse are interesting, and I notice them in other songs from Alino.
Снощи ми дойдоя двои годежняци (Snóšti mi dojdója godežnjáci)
The song tells of a girl's dilemma when her mother engages her to someone she doesn't like...
And let's also listen to a lovely solo harvest melody, similar to, but in some way quite different from what I've heard in nearby villages:
Мильо ле, млада Загорко (Míljo le, mlada Zagorka)
The story is not complete, but it's all they sang for me: