Dramskoto – Bulgaria (Pirin), North Macedonia

The song – Dujni mi, dujni, bel vetre

This is a very popular song in Bulgaria (Pirin) & North Macedonia. I have 18 different YouTubes of music performances. Many have somewhat different lyrics – this, the most popular version, is what Yves Moreau chose to accompany the dance Dramskoto [DRAHM-skoh-toh].

Goce Delčev Ensemble, Sofia
Dujni mi, dujni, bel vetre       Blow, fair wind.
Razljuljaj gora zelena Rock the green forest
Raztopi beli snegove. And warm the snow peaks

Raztopi beli snegove Warm the snow peaks.
Ovtori pâtja za Drama, Open the road to Drama.
Vâv Drama iskam da ida. I want to go there.

Vâv Drama iskam da ida I want to go to Drama.
Tam imam libe bolničko My love there is ill.
Ponuda da mu zanesa I want to bring him healing plants;

Ponuda da mu zanesa I want to bring him healing plants;
Žâlta mi ljulja cvetjatot Yellow daffodills
Belo mi grozde cvitjata And white grapes.

Dujni mi, dujni, bel vetre Blow, fair wind.
Razljuljaj gora zelena Rock the green forest
Raztopi beli snegove. And warm the snow peaks.

Ovtori pâtja za Drama, Open the road to Drama,
Vâv Drama iskam da ida I want to go to Drama.
Bolno si libe da vidam My love there is ill.

However, as Yves states in his accompanying notes, the dance was ‘urban’, meaning the rough edges of the footwork and music were likely ‘refined’ to suit urban and aristocratic tastes. Below is a rougher, more ‘folk’ version of the song (with slightly different lyrics).

Drama is a village in Bulgaria (upper right) and a city in Greece (lower left).

The city of Drama has been an important urban hub since ancient Greek times, and continued to be important under the Ottomans when they ruled all the Balkans. Bulgarians threw off the Ottoman yoke in 1878 (de facto, 1908, technical), and began dreaming of reclaiming their former glory. Their territory encompassd the Drama, Greece area in the 900’s and again in the 1200’s, and Bulgarians continued to live there. [For more Bulgarian history, see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/bulgarians/] In 1912 the Bulgarians captured this Drama from the Ottomans, but a 1913 treaty gave it to the Greeks.

Yves learned this dance from and used the music of the Gotse Delchev Ensemble, Sofia, Bulgaria. The organization was founded “in 1945 by Bulgarian refugees from Aegean and Vardar Macedonia.” (Gotse Delchev website). It is therefore likely that the Drama referred to in the song is the Drama now in Greece, and also possible that the dance Dramskoto is named after the town of Drama.

Dramskoto, the Dance

The late 1800’s was a time of great change in the Balkans. The Ottoman Empire was disintegrating. One by one, ethnicities within the Empire were getting stronger, and outside countries were only too happy to assist them in weakening the Ottoman grip. Serbs gained independence in 1830 (with help from Russia), Greeks (with help from Britain) in 1832, Romanians in 1877 (help from Russia) and Bulgarians in 1878 (help from Russia). That left a swath of Ottoman territory from Albania through Macedonia (including what is now northern Greece) & Thrace, to Istanbul. Bulgarians dreamed of reclaiming this land, for most of it was once briefly theirs, and Bulgarians still lived in much of it.

Change was happening in everyday life as well. Railroads were being built, newspapers published, towns were becoming cities, a middle class was developing that had commercial and cultural links to the outside world. New ideas of freedom, education, science, upward mobility, class consciousness, etiquette, fashion were taking hold. City dwellers began to view villagers as bumpkins, yet they valued them as necessary partners in emancipation from the Turks, and as the fountainhead of cultural identity that differentiated them from their masters and justified their rebellion. So it was in most of the [few] cities of the Balkans.

Social life in the cities had one similarity to social life in the villages – it revolved around music and dancing. However city life had pretensions to refinement, so it simply would not do to copy peasant dances or even peasant songs verbatim. (For the very similar situation in Serbia, see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/dance-information/ballroom-kolos-serbia-croatia/ ) Dramskoto appears to be an example of the diffferences between a village song & dance and it’s urban cousin. Yves’ notes to the dance prescribe styling as “Macedonian. Light and proud, with an aristocratic touch”.

Yves Moreau teaches the Bulgarian dance, Dramskoto, at the Salt Spring Island Folk Dance Festival 2006. This is an excerpt from the festival DVD. For more information visit https://singularproductions.com/2006-…
Yves says “the dance is related to the ‘strolling’ Odeno or Pravoto type”.
For comparison, here’s Pece Atanasovski leading Odeno Oro.

I can find no Bulgarian or Macedonian YouTubes of natives dancing something called Dramskoto. It’s possible the dance went out of fashion, as many ‘urban’ folk dances did in Serbia (see ‘Ballroom Kolos’, referenced above). It’s also possible [and more likely] the song Dujni mi, dujni, bel vetre and its cousins had no particular dance attached to it, as most YouTubes feature the song without any dancing. Those with dancing have no consistent footwork.

Gjoko Kostoski. Dancers seem to be mostly doing Kolo, but occasionally [1:35] something else.
Not much of a dance here…
Any sharp-eyed viewers out there can tell me what this dance is? Within 1 hour of posting, I received this answer: “You wondered about the name of dance you showed at the very bottom of your recent posting on Dramskoto. Here in northern California, the dance we do with those steps (like at 1:38) we call “Katerino Mome“. Thanks, Steve Ayala, Petaluma CA.
Thank you, Steve!


John Uhlemann wrote concerning Dramskoto: “This is the same pattern as Setnja, Hora Mare from Bukovina, or one form of hassaposerviko. The speed or direction of the steps my vary slightly, but it is the same dance. At least one Serbian “ballroom kolo” is based on this, e.g. Sarajevko Kolo. Interestingly, I went to a dance in Cleveland decades ago, which was held by the Greeks who were from Crete, who held their dances separately from the other Greeks at the church. They did all the usual dances from Crete – Haniotiko syrto, sousta, pentozali, maleviziotiko, etc. and then they did this dance, but faster and with bounces on the slow beats. At that time I had not seen it, and I asked about it. They said they had learned it from a Greek who had been living in Romania, and they called it “the Bulgarian dance”. These things get around.”

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