Thursday, September 3, 2009

After Hours

Nevena Tzoneva. Izlel e Delyo hajdutin

This is a clip from the Bulgarian version of American Idol, and let me tell you, if she sang this tune on our teevees, they would kick her off so fast your head would still be spinning. I've been to Bulgaria twice. Each time, it was a weird and thrilling experience. You could hear music like this just by turning on the radio or waiting around long enough in some random village. I really like Bulgarians. They're an amazingly shy and xenophobic people. It's probably the mountain culture. The only thing is that their mountains are pathetically small. The Balkans? They're all about 2,000 feet high. The Rhodope? Not much taller. The Pirin? Scenic, but small. It makes no difference, this is still one of the better things I've seen on the YouTube. Towards the end, her articulations bother me, but still, this is something that all Slavs should appreciate. I'm not Bulgarian; I don't speak Bulgarian worth beans (I can read it OK), but their music just kills me. It brings me to my knees every time. It is so genuine, heartfelt and conveys the traditional Slavic sense of anguish. I can hardly keep myself together. Their history is something I can't even imagine. This is the greatest thing I've ever seen that's Idol-related. And yes, that's a real guy playing real bagpipes - probably made from a real goat. This is a very weird tune. It's all about a Bulgarian outlaw telling his Turkish overlords that his two aunts shall not convert to Islam. Plain and simple. That's what it was like for hundreds of years. In a way, they haven't gotten past it. Because it's all they friggin' talk about. Dudes, that was all over 120 years ago!

Apparently, Nevena won this contest. I hope she's singing soul-less East-Euro pop tunes now.

OK, so for purposes of comparison, here is Valya Balkanska's stunning "original." Yes, it's just stock footage of her singing another tune, but just listen to her voice. It's completely entrancing.

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