Čoček, Чочек – the music

Čoček, the dance, is what is done to Čoček, the music. Both originated in Turkish culture, and were perpetuated and popularized in the Balkans by the Roma. See https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/about/kocek-the-original-cocek-turkish-male-bellydance/ Nowadays, Čoček music is everywhere, and there are many different dances, both solo and choral, that are danced to it. It is played at various tempos, by various acoustic and electronic instruments and with time signatures including 2/4, 4/4, 7/8 & 9/8. So what makes Čoček music different from other Balkan music? Mainly, it’s the syncopated beat. Below is a typical pan-Yugoslav Kolo, followed by a similar social situation where the music is Čoček.

NOT Čoček, but Kolo. 2/4 time. 2018. Listen to the steady beat – strong downbeat, weaker upbeat, but the same length for each. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9iClwOGGfg
Čoček. 2/4 time. Syncopated beat. Strong downbeat. Slow, uh quick, quick; Slow, uh quick, quick, slow ; etc The ‘uh’ is the syncopated off-beat. 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjt_1GiEZnk
Here’s the same rhythm speeded up. The video is from Vranje, Serbia, made in the 1970’s. Bakija Bakic is on trumpet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dhUZQEpw-o 
A Čoček in 9/8. Notice the syncopated bass drum. Same musicians, including Kurta Ajredinovic on clarinet, Jasko Jasarevic on violin. Different footwork, though. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O-17-ed0Qk
Čoček music has many stars – none bigger than Ferus Mustafov. Here he embarks on another feature of Čoček music – extended eastern-tinged solos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXkuYF4pyAM
Many songs accompany Čoček. One of the more famous is Ramo Ramo. This version is by Keze. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpRiWmCM3xU
Another popular tune is Vranjanski Čoček, in 9/8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKcoWvf7xVY
There’s many hot bands. Don’t know the name of this one, but it’s had over 3 million views! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRtF_oBXCUI
In Bulgaria the music is called KYUCHEK or КЮЧЕК in cyrillic. 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikCE1H8My1E
The big hit in Albania is Hajde luj qyqek. The syncopation is especially strong. Over 40 million views! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id0Qi0Y8feM

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