Brestaška râčenica – Bulgaria, revised again

For lyrics to the song, see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/lyrics-english-translations/brestaska-rucenica-english-lyrics/ What’s interesting about these lyrics is that they’re in Bulgarian. The Gagauz have many folk songs in their own langauage, which is Turkish with some Bulgarian borrowings. In the Communist era, Bulgarian performing groups were to dance only ‘pure’ Bulgarian dances – nothing with a hint of Turkish or Roma, for instance. In the 1984-89 period, the government went so far as to force 900,000 people with Turkish last names (even if they couldn’t speak Turkish) to change their names to Bulgarian.

Sheet music is available here https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/sheet-music/brestaska-racenica-sheet-music/

John Uhlemann adds: The music for this dance can be found in its “pre-borrowed” form on Balkanton CD BG MC 2592/4.8.98 , which is itself a compilation of older Bulgarian recordings put together by Belcho Stanev and Michael Hepp. The singer is Velichka Zlateva with the Dobroudja Folk Song and Dances Company Orchestra. One Benzion Eliezer is credited as the arranger. It really is a lovely piece.

I can find no Bulgarian YouTubes of a dance or a song called Brestaška râčenica. Steve Kotansky and Yves Moreau say they learned the dance from Bulgarian choreographer Belčo Stanev. It’s not clear how much of this dance is ‘folk’ and how much is ‘Stanev’. The fact that the footwork matches the recording exactly is suspicious, considering the recording is a highly arranged orchestrated version of a simple song. It purports to be a dance of the Gagauzi, and it may well be a replication of a Gagauzi footwork pattern, or it may be 2 Gagauzi dances rolled into one arrangement, or it may be a channelling of the choreographer’s understanding of Gagauzi dance preferences or a tribute to Gagauz….For much more on the Gagauz and their dances, click https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/gagauz-moldova-greece-bulgaria-ukraine/

The biography below was copied from Yves Moreau’s website.

Belčo Stanev was born in Razgrad (North Bulgaria). A graduate of the Sofia Choreography School, he also trained at the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv. From 1960 to 1995, he led the professional folk ensemble “Varna” in the city of the same name. Belcho also founded the Varna International Folklore Festival held each summer. Since 1980, he divides his time between Bulgaria and Germany where he conducts frequent workshops and organizes two major annual folk dance Camps in Obersteinbach and Bad Bederkesa. Founder of the «Lazarka» Ensemble in Munich, he also established the annual festival of Bulgarian folk ensembles of Germany. For many years he coordinated Bulgarian folklore summer courses for foreigners in his native region of Varna. Belcho has taught in several countries across Europe as well as in Australia and New Zealand. Many of his dances are already known and appreciated on this side of the Atlantic: Bačkovsko Horo, Brestaška Râčenica, Momino, Drjanovska Râčenica, Pitat me Mamo, Isu Nedo, Mjatalo Lenče, Svatba, Triti pâti etc. He came for the first time in North America, at Lazarovden 2015.

At 2:15 a Gagauzi dance with a slight resemblance to Brestaška Râčenica. Katley (see below) has identified it as Kutsada.

COMMENTS:

After I revised and reposted this article, I got a comment from Katley, who writes the highly informative blog The Alien Diaries. She identified the dance seen above at 2:15 as Kutsada. She even has a posting specific to the dance, showing several variations. Take a look here. https://katleyplanetbg.blogspot.com/2017/07/variations-on-bulgarian-folk-dance_29.html Thanks, Katley!

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