Folk Music

More Fascinating Folk Music: Sutartinės of Lithuania

October 20th, 2009|

Well, now I have Lithuania to add to the list of countries whose folk music to be obsessed with. In a discussion with my teaching colleague Arkadi Serper about what folk music traditions might have influenced Stravinsky’s ear in his youth, I brought up the amazing vocal music of the Caucasus region, particularly Georgian table songs.  Arkadi agreed, and then went on to alert me to several others from within Russia and the former Soviet Union, including Lithuanian sutartinės. […]

Bartók Discussion on NPR

September 18th, 2007|

NPR has a great interview with conductor Marin Alsop and accompanying article about Bartók’s music, where she touches on folk influences and discusses The Miraculous Mandarin, Romanian Dances, Bluebeard’s Castle and more. […]

Bulgarian Rhythms

April 20th, 2007|

Roger Bourland recently linked to a video of the Bulgarian State Women’s Chorus, which reminded me of my latent obsession with Bulgarian folk music. Check it out, (and read the comments for your daily dose of surrealism).

Years ago, during a very short stint as the vocal director of a folk ensemble, I had the pleasure of preparing that first song in the video, which is called “Ergen Deda”. The rhythm of the piece is a fast 7/8 Šopska dance (from the Šop region of Bulgaria; Šopska is also a tasty salad).

These 7/8 dances are so fast that the notion of “7/8″ fails to really capture it. It’s really just a matter of “short-short-long”. In Bulgarian (and Greek and other Balkan) music all kinds of interesting combinations of “short” and “long” are used, and we’re forced to notate them with awkward 11′s and 13′s.

See if you can figure this one out: […]

Loituma: Things of Beauty

July 27th, 2006|

It was mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been spending a lot of time with folk music lately. Regarding that, I recently discovered something new, because someone sent me this. (There’s audio.) Don’t spend more than 20 seconds with it, because it’s just an endless loop.

This little cartoon is one of those goofy things that quickly propogate all over the world because people have too much free time. But fortunately, for me, it led to my discovery of the wonderful Finnish folk ensemble Loituma. My curiosity about the music on that silly animation quickly led me on a path through Google, Wikipedia and iTunes, resulting in a spontaneous purchase of their 1995 album Things of Beauty. […]

Mexico’s Bartók

June 3rd, 2006|

Last night I encountered for the first time the music of Silvestre Revueltas. I liked what I heard, and will be seeking out more of his work. (How have I come this far without knowing his music? As I’ve mentioned previously, I live under a rock.)

I […]

Enthralling Music From Georgia (the Country, Not the State)

January 22nd, 2006|

This weekend, while going through some poorly tagged items in my music library, I came across a recording I’d dug up on the internet years ago of a trio of men singing a traditional Georgian folk song. This song, called Mival Guriashi, is something I first […]