In my very first post on this blog, I included the first song that Ivanka/Mehrem/Kera sang for us in Draginovo in 1981. The one where "...she sat down and said nothing for a minute and a half! (I timed it), while she composed herself. Then she sang us a song that lasted for nearly 10 minutes...." This, she tells me, is a very old song.
Sure enough, my dear friend and colleague Miriam Milgram recently sent me a text she had found in a song collection published in1895 — that's almost a hundred years before Kera sang it for us! Miriam sent me the text, which I will post here. It corresponds rather amazingly well to Kera's version (remember, village people don't learn songs from books, they learn them from each other), though I have not translated it yet because there are some differences that I have not yet completely deciphered. But I'll give you the two texts here:
Ivanka/Kera's text from 1981:
(click on the image for a full-size version)
The "new" (older) version, recorded in Chepino (one of the sections of nearby Velingrad) in the 1890s:
(again, click on the image for a full-size version [it's pre-1917 spelling reform])