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Eastern Europe and the Baltics -- Bulgaria (and a Bulgarian wedding!)

This week in our online class we travel all the way to Bulgaria, where we're going to sing about the pepper harvest and get married with 500 years of tradition behind us.    

Bulgaria has a millennium-long, cyclical history of ruling Southeastern Europe by force, eventually succumbing to stronger empires, struggling against those powers to achieve independence, then building up militarily to start the whole series of events again. Three dominant Bulgarian states have risen and fallen since the 9th century.    

In 1944 Bulgarian Communists overthrew the nation's monarchy, developed strong ties with the USSR and established single party rule. When the Soviets left in 1989, Bulgaria transitioned to a multiparty, parliamentary democracy and a free market economy and in 2007 joined the European Union. 

This week we sing:

Kalinka” is the most famous Russian folk song, and acrobatic dance, of all time. (More.

We sing "We Are Happy," a hello song from Uganda, to open every All Around This World class. This week we sing hello in Bulgarian --  "Zdraveite!" 

Dilmano Dilbero” is a playful pepper harvest song from Bulgaria (More.

"Az Der Rebbe" takes us back the "old world" village and gives us a chance to show the Rebbe (our beloved Rabbi) how great we think he is by mimicking every silly thing he does. (More.)   

Amari Szi Amari” is a song that is a favorite in Romani communities around Europe, especially during weddings. In it the family welcomes a new daughter-in-law and implores the patriarch to do a dance to get the party started. (More.) 


Bulgarian clarinetist Ivo Papazov is the undisputed King of Wedding Band Music. Along with his Trakija Band which blended Bulgarian and Balkan music with contemporary arrangements in the early '70s, Papazov was one of the originators of the contemporary Balkan music revival. Let's enjoy three videos of Papazov tearin' it up with his band – two from earlier in his career, and one from a recent clarinet festival:  

Is Ivo Papazov the best clarinet player in the world?      

-- Ivo with the Trakija Band in 1987  

-- Ivo at the Uluslararasi Klarinet Festivali