Bulgaria – one of the smallest countries in the world, yet with the richest folklore on the planet!

1342 years old – called ‘The Cradle of Life’, Bulgaria is a land of gifted warriors, talented craftsman, skilled goldsmiths, amazing builders and unique music that defies time, heals the soul, captures the heart and awakens the body to a rhythm as old as time … Our complex, irregular/uneven/asymmetrical beats have captured the heart and imagination of many musicologists, musicians, composers and folklore lovers around the world. It is so noteworthy, that a piece of our music was sent into space by NASA. Touching the Bulgarian Folklore Art is an experience never forgotten! Bulgaria has seven regions with its own characteristic costumes, music, customs and traditions, yet all of them share the rich complexity of the 5/8, 7/8, 9/8, 11/8, 13/8 and 15/8ths beats, along with the even/regular ones. Magic made by music and delivered in a dance! The seven folklore regions in Bulgaria are Shops, Thrace, Rhodope, Strandja, Pirin, Dobrudzhan and Severnyashka. There is much to tell about each of them – the dances, songs and costumes characteristic of each area, but for today’s performance we will look into the Pirin Folklore Area and the magic and beauty it brings. It gets its name from the Bulgarian mountain of the same name, and is believed that the origin of the name Pirin comes from the name of the supreme Slavic deity Perun, the god of lightning and storms. The movements of the women are gentle, docile, and fairly low, with occasional bounces and spins. Using a handkerchief in one, or both hands, they often spin them low, or high in the air. Their costumes are very rich, with incredible embroideries, predominantly red and white. Man’s movements are proud, sometimes slow with high lifting of the legs and arms stretched out, sometimes very bouncy with jumps and squats – “showing off”. Their costumes are also very colorful and rich in embroidery. Footwear for both is usually a ‘tsarvul’ – low leather foot wrap, popular in the Balkans. Typical instruments are the tambourine, jura bagpipe, zurna and drum.