Katerino Mome/Ventsi's Arap – Pirin, Bulgaria

Katerino Mome – the Songs

There are several songs named Katerina Mome – here’s one called Katerina Mome Sevda Golema that appears to have a dance attached.

Same song (and dance?) in Greek Macedonia.

There is also a more modern Katerino Mome song, (written by Tatiana
Sarbinksa) from the town of Rila in Pirin, the Macedonian region of
Bulgaria. John Uhlemann (see post below) says this Katerino Mome was composed “less than 50 years ago”, which makes it a ‘folk’ song on the level of ‘Blowin in the Wind’ or ‘If I Had a Hammer’. The Pirin Katerino Mome is a big hit song with many YouTubes of the music by both traditional and modern singers. For lyrics, click https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/lyrics-english-translations/katerino-mome-english-lyrics/ Also see bottom of this posting. For sheet music, click https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/sheet-music/katerino-mome-sheet-music/

by Yordanka Dimitrova and Pirin Ensemble

Katerino Mome the Dance

I can find no Bulgarian YouTube examples of ‘village’ dancing to Katerino Mome. What dancing I can find is of costumed dancers providing movement to singers, or the song as background to various choreographies.

These guys seem to be doing Dajčovo.

In 2006 Erik Bendix introducd a dance at Stockton called Katerino Mome, said to be learned by ‘Ventsi’ when he was lead dancer of the Pirin Ensemble, the same group seen in the top YouTube. Bendix says this dance is also called “Arap” (Arab), an almost generic name for a kind of Macedonian dance. So as a dance, this choreography should more properly be called a kind of Arap and indeed it has become known as “Ventsi”s Arap”. Whether it’s a ‘village’ dance or a choreography originating from the Pirin Ensemble is not clear, but what is clear is its association with Katerino Mome is a package geared to the recreational folk dance market.

Tucson dancers with Ventsi’s dance.
Dunav in Israel – same dance.
Same dance done to the song Dujne mi Dujni, the song associated with the dance Dramskoto.

John Uhlemann says: “Katerino Mome is a song, to which this all-purpose Balkan dance has been fitted. It only became a dance name after it was introduced by folk dance teachers, and was around a long time before Katerino Mome was composed less than 50 years ago.”

Elena Gocheva accompanied by an orchestra in Varna with Kolyo Andonov. Dance starts with the ‘Ventsi’s Arap’ footwork, but adds lots of other stuff, including a seemingly non-traditional underarm twirl at the end – modern choreography?

Composed by Tatiana Sarbinska.

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