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Sandansko horo

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Information: A song.

The "Sandansko Horo" melody which I've recorded in 1970 in Blagoevgrad is indeed a well-known Bulgarian folk song which seems to be widespread in the Trakia and Strandža regions.

Pepa Koutčeva (a folk singer from Pazardžik region who moved to New York) recorded on her compact disc "My Tradition" – Chubby Dragon label CD1007, track 11, the song "Ivan na Rada Dumaše" which is exactly the same melody as "Sandansko." The liner notes describe it as being in 13 + 9 (2-2-2-3-2-2 + 2-3-2-2). A great CD, by the way.

I heard this tune in 1970 at a Folk Festival in Blagoevgrad and saw an amateur performing group from Sandanski doing steps to it as part of a stage number. The steps I taught to North American folk dancers were those I saw then. When I questioned the leader of the group, he said that this was a dance from their region (Sandanski) and that it was done around the villages of Lljakovo and Ograzhden. I never did go to these villages to check it out but never did see the dance anywhere else afterwards. During subsequent trips to Bulgaria, I did hear the song in Thrace but never saw a dance done to it either.

My original recording was recently re-issued on Vol. 3 of my Village Music series "Beyond the Mystery." It features an "ad hoc" group of musicians (two tambura players, a kaval player, and a tarambuka player) from the Pirin State Ensemble. These musicians are the ones who had written out for me the meter as being 9 + 13. To me this matches the text structure more accurately than 13 + 9 although it's all a question of interpretation!

Yves Moreau

Translation: Dance from the town of Sandanski

Pronunciation: sahn-DAHN-skoh hoh-ROH

Region: Bulgaria


// Ivan na Rada dumashe, Rado ljo lube, Rado ljo //
// Devet sam pati provozhdal, ot majka ti da ta iskat //

// Dovechera sha provodya, pak da ta ljube poiskat //
Ako ta Rado ne dadat, plevnyata sha vi zapalya
Plevnyata sha vi zapalya ot chetirite kisheta

// Rada na Ivan dumashe, Ivane, ljube, Ivane //
// Ne ni zapalvaj plevnjata, naj ni zapali kashtata //

// Bujni ognove da gorjat, pa vlezni ljube, vav dvori //
// Rada ot ogan izvadi, ta ja u vazi zavedi //
      Translation summary:

Ivan said to Rada
"I have asked your mom nine times for her permission for me to marry you.
Tonight I'm going to ask your parents again.
If they don't allow me permission, then I will burn your farm."
Rada says, "Go ahead and do it, and then come and rescue me.


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