May 13 2023


How a Bulgarian Village Dances Evil Spirits Away:

I was mildy disappointed that the documentary at no point let us hear the music that accompanies the dancing, preferring to overlay the imagery of the dancers with its own soundtrack. This comment thread reveals that the sound of the musical accompaniment differs from one town to another across Bulgaria. 1

My initial impression was that Kukeri was a phenomenon limited to one particular village, but the comments on the Youtube video make it clear that Kukeri is well known and widely practiced and respected across Bulgaria. It’s unclear to me whether that makes it the Bulgarian equivalent of Morris Dancing or of Eurovision-as-seen-from-the-UK.2

[Via Colossal]

  1. My sole contact with Bulgarian music came a long, long time ago when, Kate Bush collaborated with the Trio Bulgarka on a few tracks on her albums The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, so I had no real idea what to expect to hear in this film.↩︎

  2. No offence intended to the audience who are planning to devote part of this evening to watching or listening to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest from Liverpool, but I’ve not sat through even five minutes of the show since some time in the early 1990s and am baffled that it’s still going strong. Ironically (in this context) according to Wikipedia Bulgaria are not participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, mainly due to the economic impact of the 2021–2023 global energy crisis.”↩︎