Sadi Moma (1*), Сади Мома – Bulgaria – The Free Software Song

*1st Generation dance. A dance that developed in a traditional way – not ‘taught’ by a teacher or choreographer, but ‘learned’ by observing and imitating others in your “village”, where the village’s few dances were the only dances anyone knew. It usually is ‘generic’ – the dance pattern is fairly simple and not tied to any particular piece of music. The dance phrase may or may not match any musical phrase, but the music’s rhythm must be suitable for performing the footwork. This dance may have many variations, but they’re performed at the whim or inspiration of the leader or (sometimes) any other dancer so long as it doesn’t interfere with the flow of neighboring dancers. For more, click here, here, and here.

Sadi Moma is an anomaly – A Bulgarian folk song (and dance) that is relatively (or completely) unknown in Bulgaria, is relatively popular in Recreational Folk Dance circles, but has become an anthem for the world’s Free Software movement.

The song tells the story of a girl who plants grapes, nurtures them to heavy production, makes wine and rakia that “a young soldier learned to drink” to such excess that “He drank up his black horse from under him.”  Full lyrics are under MUSIC>LYRICS – ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS.  Sheet Music can be found under MUSIC>SHEET MUSIC.


However I can find no YouTube postings from Bulgaria showing either the dance or the song Sadi Moma.  Not finding the dance is not unusual, but I can usually find some recordings of the song.  There’s a couple of Sedi Moma songs, but they’re completely different melodies and lyrics.  Until I find evidence to the contrary, I’m considering Sadi Moma a 1st Generation song and/or dance that has either gone extinct (except for academic records) or no one in Bulgaria cares enough about it to post it.

A CD of the music Yves used and also a DVD of Yves demonstrating this and 19 other Bulgarian dances can be purchased from Yves directly by clicking the following link:

Sadi Moma DN 1
Sadi Moma DN2

NOTE: The above notes outline a 7-measure dance.  It also notes that the instrumental section is 7 measures long, while the singing is 6 measures long.  On another page it says that that when dancing the vocal sections, the 7th measure should be omitted.  The “original” dance was likely accompanied only by singing, so the first 6 measures are likely the “original” choreography.  The 7th measure should be considered a “filler” to match the extra length of the instrumental.

Here’s some sheet music – more under MUSIC>SHEET MUSIC

Below is a better copy of the dance notes.


The melody for Sadi Moma has become an anthem of sorts for the Free Software Movement [like Android], which opposes IT Corporations copywriting their software so people are forced to buy it at monopoly prices.  Richard Stallman was (and is) an early advocate for the Movement.   In Richard’s words;

“This is the story of the writing of the Free Software Song.

I wrote the free software song at a filksinging session at a science fiction convention, probably in early 1991. It was a “bardic circle” session, which means each person in turn around the hall had the chance to either sing or ask someone else to sing. I had just had my turn, and there were 20 or more people there, so I knew it would be a long time before I had another turn. I decided to pass the time writing a filksong. This meant I was not starting with any particular inspiration in mind. I had to look for what to write about and how.

So first I asked myself, what topic should it be about? I realized I had never written a filksong relating to free software, so I figured it was time I did.

Then I asked myself, what tune should I use? I realized I had never written a filksong using Bulgarian dance music, so I figured that would be a good thing to do for once. I chose Sadi Moma because it is not too fast or complicated, and is easy to sing.

By the time it was my turn again, the song was ready. After I sang it, someone else in the room said, “That has an anthem-like quality. You should show it to Richard Stallman.” (That year was the time I was a little famous and I was a guest at the convention.)

I said, “I am Richard Stallman.”

She said, “Oh, I’m sorry!”

I responded, “Don’t be sorry, it’s fun when that happens.”

“filksong” started as a typo for “folksong”, and the term was adopted in science fiction fandom to refer to the practice of singing songs that relate to science fiction topics or other any other topic that was considered interesting or funny. Some of the people who sing these songs also write some. Many of these songs put new words to existing tunes, and such a song is called a “filk” of the original song. Thus, the free software song is a filk of Sadi Moma.”

Stallman must have been a Recreational Folk Dancer in another life, otherwise it would be difficult to believe the melody for Sadi Moma would just magically appear in his head – even the head of a software geek.

Free Software song

As of 2018, there are far more YouTubes of the Free Software Song than there are of Sadi Moma!

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