Minka – English lyrics

Another wedding dance!  This one is from the magic Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria, a few miles from Greece.  After Bulgaria won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, Muslims in the country (mostly Slavs who were forced to convert) were treated harshly and many fled to the relative isolation of the Rhodopes. Many still live there. They’re called Pomaks, a term (like Gypsy or Black) some find derogatory.
Minka, is a variant of the woman’s name Maria.  Beware, there are many Slavic songs with different melodies and countries of origin with the title Minka!
Meanwhile, back in Bulgaria, at the bride’s home the bride’s female friends dance in a circle while the bride stands in the middle.  They sing the folk song Minka, (which has many sets of lyrics) while doing a simple step pattern, slow, quick, quick, a kind of reverse Racenica.
The song has a plaintive melody (most bride songs are about the loss of something); this one is about the bride mourning the loss of her herb garden, especially her basil plants.  She’ll have to leave it to move in with her husband’s family.

Here’s a vocal by the Koushlev Sisters.  The melody we use starts about 50 seconds in.

Here’s a more contemporary take –

 

 

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