The Magic of Bulgarian Voices


Balkanton 060191

  1. Izliazal e Delyu haidutin
  2. Ovnyo lio vakal
  3. Ovencho lio vakal komaten
  4. Bela sam bela iunache
  5. Slance se kani da zaide
  6. Snoshty minah
  7. Vida brata more prezhinla
  8. Zhanal e Radka
  9. Godiny, godiny, usilny godiny
  10. Lale li sy, ziumbiul li sy

This is a stopgap possession, to me: for years I have been searching for THE recording of “Izliazal e Delyu haidutin” that was used in a dance concert I lit in the mid-1980s in Seattle, and in 2007 I finally managed to locate this one’s (Track 1)…which sounds like the same singer singing but is definitely not the same recording. Still, it’s as close as I’ve gotten to date, so I’m hanging on to it.

But oh dear me is this a mess of a CD*, starting with its graphic composition—better than which I could produce while roaring drunk and incapacitated. As for the musical content, after that first track everything’s by two or three other ensembles/soloists, and nothing has anything near the intensity of the former. I don’t refer to the intensity of the voices, as Bulgarian women’s choral voices are nothing if not intense, but rather the combination of the solist’s voice, the melody, and the pacing of it all. That first track, referred to in other recordings as “Izliazal e Delio Haidutin” or “Izlel je Delyo Hajdutin” or “Излел е Делю хайдутин” or “Излел е Дельо хайдутин,” is truly and fundamentally intense in those ways. It’s a track that implies a simple, passionate lamentation: its lyrics, at least in this form, are brief and mention only that certain people fought certain other people—end of story. Its storytelling import seems to be implied, inherited, assumed.

That first track’s song was apparently one of the Earth-representative musical tracks included on the gold discs of recordings on board the Voyager spacecrafts in 1977—not necessarily this recording of it, however, nor the one I first heard, but I’m pretty sure it was Valia Balkanska (Вала Балканска / Valya Balkanska).

* Don’t get me wrong! None of the performances on the CD are at all bad; it’s just that they vary in nature and quality so much that it sounds like it was pasted together from three unrelated CDs of solo-Bulgarian-female songs. That cover, though…wowza, is that ever ghastly….