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Hora Boiereasca

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Information: A dance.

Translation: Boyar's dance

Pronunciation: HOH-rah boh-yer-EAHS-kuh

Region: Romania.


To John Uhlemann:

So I just learned about this source of public domain music: International Folk Dances.

I randomly click on #410 Syrto – Para me Maro pare me – Greece and what do I hear but what I know as Hora Boiereasca. Really?

At our National Folk Organization conference in St. Louis last year, you taught the same dance Hora Boiereasca – ca la nunte, to a different recording. Oh wise one, can you please pontificate about this?


–Jo Crawford

I think this track is mislabeled. Either on the original 78 rpm disc or on the web site. This is not a Syrto, and Tsitsanis was a well-known bouzouki player, so it seems unlikely that a "Greek" piece from his band would have no bouzouki in it. This is an old Klezmer tune, and while there are a lot of Greek tunes (especially Rebetic and Island tunes) that made their way to the Moldavian Klezmer repertoire, this track is not being played in the Greek manner. 

When Dick Crum taught Hora Boiereasca at the San Antonio College festival back in the 1970s, he did use a Sher played by a klezmer group because he said the style and feel were close enough, so that may explain the similarity (not the same piece, though) with one of the pieces I provided for the dance.

I am still curious about the track, though. I will run it by the East European Folklife Center (EEFC) list and see what happens.


–John Uhlmann

I just replied to a post that John Uhlemann made to the EEFC list server, and wasn't sure what prompted him to make the posting, but now I understand. This is what I sent to him:

"Questions concerning attribution are always a bit tricky to answer. I've heard the tune before, and I have it cataloged in my database – and I probably still have the record. The flip side of this tune (on RCA  26-8220) is I Gerikina, and both tunes are attributed to B. Tsitsanis  (the "syrtos" sounds much more like a Hasaposerviko to me).

Since my record is not within arm's reach I can't verify that the record I have is the same as the on Archive.org, but you might want to write directly to John Clement who did the remastering and uploads to Archive.org."

So now onto the question of Hora Boreasca. First, it is hard to compare tunes unless you have access to the "sound" itself. But my guess is that the tune #410 is probably the same as the tune that Dick Crum used when he taught Boereasca and was pressed (without attribution) by Festival Records on National N-4529 and called Boereasca (Sîrba). Folk dance teachers often search for a piece of music that will "work" for a dance, and I suspect this is the case here.

I've had the pleasure of working with John and Glyn in the "name that tune" group, and they do a great job. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the National Folk Organization conference; Frank Rubin sent me an MP3 of their presentation, and I think it was excellent. But it is worth keeping in mind, that their database is a "folk dance" focused database, rather than a "folk music" focused database. And it that regard, the name of the dance (if the dance name appears on the record/tape/CD/MP3) is generally what is entered into the name of the database, rather than the name of the tune as given by the musicians.

This brings up a the really complex issue of how tunes get named by the musicians!

–Larry Weiner



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