Tuesday, September 20, 2011


YEAR: 1971

LABEL: Nonesuch

TRACK LISTING: Trugnal Mi Yani Sandanski Lele, Jofcharche Mlado, Ne Treperi Bela Koprino, Gujgo Le Gujgo Yunache, Tsar Murat Mara Dumashe, Moma Sedi Na Chardak, Kostadine Mili Sino Le Dzhabum, Koinali, Karshi Barchina, Dali Tsurni Ochi Nemam, Vchera Minah Libe Dzhanum, Pusti Bili Yane, Planino Pirin Planino Dzhanum

BONUS TRACKS: On the cd reissue which came out in 1995, this album is paired with the album "A HARVEST, A SHEPHERD, A BRIDE: VILLAGE MUSIC OF BULGARIA (which will be discussed in a separate post).

IMPRESSIONS: This is some haunting folklore music which evokes the mystery of Eastern Europe and the forests and mountains to be found in the Balkan regions. I am not Bulgarian myself but I found myself captivated particularly by the sound of the female vocalists. Kate Bush became fascinated when she heard the sound as well and teamed up with the Trio Bulgarka on a few albums. If you want to know what this album sounds like, head on over to the song "Rocket's Tail" on Kate Bush's "THE SENSUAL WORLD" album to find out. The instrumental tracks are less interesting to me; they resemble the Romanian folk music heard in the SUBSPECIES movies; good but not haunting like the female vocalists heard here.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Trugnal Mi Yani Sandanski Lele, Jofcharche Mlado, Gujgo Le Gujgo Yunache, Tsar Murat Mara Dumashe, Moma Seda Na Chardak, Dali Tsurni Ochi Nemam, Vchera Minah Libe Dzhanum, Planino Pirin Planino Dzhanum

FACT SHEET: IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAIN was recorded in 1968 by Ethel Raim and Martin Koenig with the assistance of the Music Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Bulgarian Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries; the album (and it's companion "A HARVEST, A SHEPHERD, A BRIDE") were released in 1970/1971 respectively. The album is subtitled "Songs & Dances of Pirin-Macedonia". This region is in the southwest of Bulgaria. From the liner notes on the back of the LP: "During the long years of Turkish rule, the Pirin Mountain became a factor of central importance in the consciousness of the Bulgarian people, who superimposed onto its geographical contours a mythical and symbolic quality. The dense forests covering the mountain provided sanctuary for some of their great folk heroes, known as hajduks -- revolutionary fighters, frequently outlaws, and always the embodiment of popular rebellion against the Turks." The distinctive paired sound of the female vocalists is explained as well: "It is common in the villages for girls at an early age to develop close friendships and then to sing only with this 'soulmate'." This special relationship can be among friends or family members as well and this explains the very close homogenous sound of the vocals.

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