Dramskoto (2*)- seuBulgarian (Pirin), seuNorth Macedonian

*2nd Generation dance. A dance that developed and was disseminated in a non-traditional way. 2G dances are specific – have a fixed format designed to correspond with the arrangement of a particular recording., whereas 1G dances are generic – have a shorter sequence that works with live music – where many different songs are played and arrangements vary according to the tastes of musicians and dancers. For more on the differences between 1st & 2nd G dances click here.

The song – Dujni mi, dujni, bel vetre

This is a very popular song in Bulgaria (Pirin & Phodope) & 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 his 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.            

For many more sets of lyrics and You tubes of songs starting with Dujni mi, click here:

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 from Rhodope (with slightly different lyrics).

Artist Zlatina Uzunova, soloist in the ensemble “RODOPA” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKKe3nbEnd4
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 encompassed 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 differences 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx3427F_FEs

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.
The average Bulgarian (not in costume), when hearing this song dances a Taproot T-6, best seen starting at 2:30. Here’s a 2018 concert featuring Nikolay Slaveev. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKSkQlxPp-c
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! Those steps are VERY similar to the Bulgarian dance Arap horo.


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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