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Riverboat Records

Po Drum Mome / A Girl On The Road

Eugenia Georgieva

TUG1112CD

From tales of revolutionaries and a mythical dragon-like creature, to the girl who confesses her fears to a rose bush, Eugenia Georgieva delivers an innovative and beautiful exploration of the joys and sorrows of Bulgarian folk song.

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From tales of revolutionaries and a mythical dragon-like creature, to the girl who confesses her fears to a rose bush, Eugenia Georgieva delivers an innovative and beautiful exploration of the joys and sorrows of Bulgarian folk song.

'It sounds gloriously Bulgarian' Evening Standard

'Meaningful and real' PopMatters

'Its breathtaking' fROOTS

Eugenia Georgieva grew up in Bulgaria's second city, Plovdiv. But the seeds of her love for the country's folk music were sown in Blazhievo, her mother's home village at the foot of Rila Mountain where she performed at festivals as a child and encountered the authentic diaphonic singing of the old Shoppe women. Moving to London, Eugenia continued her exploration of Bulgarian folk song with a cappella vocal groups Perunika Trio and Yantra, and now Po Drum Mome takes her even deeper into the music.

For centuries, songs have been an indelible part of Bulgarian village life. People sang together when they worked on the fields or at evening gatherings, at big festivals and family celebrations, and the songs came down unwritten through the generations, long after composed Bulgarian music emerged in the 19th century. Even today, the past remains.

Eugenia discovered 'Zmey Lyubi Moma' when searching the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences archive for material from her mother's village, and came across a field recording from the 1970s of the beautifully named Mira Galabova (&;ldquomir&;rdquo - peace, and &;ldquogalab&;rdquo - dove), who turned out to be related to Eugenia's mother's maternal aunt. Zmey (a mythical dragon-like creature with feathers and a beard) was believed to have taken young maidens as brides if they hadn't performed the Lazarki ritual - a rite of passage for young pre-pubescent girls transitioning into womanhood. That carries over into 'Buenek', a Lazarska song, where colourfully-dressed Lazarki dancers epitomise femininity and fertility, inviting a mother to wake up her little son, who's clad in scarlet - the colour of blood and life - and let him watch the dance.

'Gyul Devoyche' eavesdrops, as a young girl and discloses her worries with a rose bush - she is in love with a young man but has been promised to an old man who will &;ldquotake her posy&;rdquo - the token of love. Love is a constant theme, of course, but it's woven into the idea of the work which filled every day for rural people. 'Sama Li Si Den Zhunala' compares requited love to the harvest. The young man longs to help Petrunka in her hard and relentless work on the wheat field and share every hardship with her. And in 'Brayne Le Ivane' a young man is advised to pick a wife who is hardworking over a wife who is beautiful.

Journeys of all kinds could be daunting. 'Oy, Toyne, Toyne' equates two young people in love with a long journey in an ox cart (in the Old Bulgarian language the word for &;ldquospouse&;rdquo was &;ldquosoprong&;rdquo, meaning &;ldquoharnessed together&;rdquo, like oxen in a yoke).

Death is the other great, looming constant, always lurking around the corner, sometimes thwarted, sometimes not. In 'Trugnala Rada', a tale for voice and kaval, a nightingale warns a couple not to drink from a spring because its water has been poisoned to kill the famous revolutionaries Hadzhi Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha. Even nature conspired in Bulgaria's struggle for freedom and independence from the Ottoman Empire. And sometimes death can't be denied: 'Podzim Sam, Male, Legnala' is a young woman's dying confession, her heart breaking at the thought of leaving her firstborn son behind while her own mother mourns for the life that will not be lived. But out of death comes new birth, and on the album's title track a girl calls along the road of life where black seeds bloom into scarlet blossoms in the eternal circle of life and death. On Po Drum Mome the black seeds of history and tradition blossom today's flowers. The joys and sorrows of these ancient songs are arranged with mostly traditional instruments to offer a sound that harks back to the Renaissance, and re-imagines it for a modern concert hall.

English Track Translations

1. GYUL DEVOYCHE/ A MAIDEN LIKE A ROSE (Shopluk)

A maiden lovely as a rose fell asleep under a rose bush,

The blooms fell into her mouth

And the maiden gently sang:

'Rose bush, don't drop the green blooms on me

Don't drop them on me

For I can't pick them while they're still green.

I have worries of my own:

A young man desires me while an old one picks a posy to win my heart.

If I knew the old man was coming

I would go into my tiny garden,

I'd pick a bunch of bitter wormwood

And rub it on my fair face.

So when the old man arrives for kisses

My cheek would be bitter as the wormwood wine.

But if I knew it was the young man

I would go into my tiny garden,

I'd pick a bunch of basil

And I would rub it on my fair face.

So when the young man arrives for kisses

My cheek will be as sweet as basil.&;rdquo

2. DENO, SREBURNO VRETENO/ DENA, YOU SILVER SPINDLE (Northern Bulgaria)


People are saying

That my beloved is beautiful

That she dresses in style

And she is the girl who lives next door

When I walk into the courtyard - I see her

When I step on the porch - I say to her:

Oh, Dena, Dena, you silver spindle

Your posy fell, Dena, your posy fell

From the high balcony

Onto the marble tiles

A young madcap found it,

A young madcap, unmarried

And he put it on his chest, close to the heart

Oh, Dena, Dena, you silver spindle

3. PO DRUM MOME/ A GIRL ON THE ROAD (Pirin Macedonia)

A girl ran on the road

A black seed she sowed

It sprouted green

And budded yellow

It burst open purple

And bloomed bright scarlet

4. PODZIM SUM, MALE, LEGNALA/ IN THE AUTUMN I HAVE TAKEN TO MY BED (Rhodope Mountains)

In the late autumn I have taken to my bed

In the spring I will die, mother,

As the forest is leafing.

&;ldquoMy beloved daughter, what is it

That is dearest to your heart,

Most dearest, most precious?&;rdquo

My dearest and most precious

Is my firstborn son

And my first love.

&;ldquoI will raise your child,

Your first love will marry again,

Yet it is such a pity for you,

My child.&;rdquo

5. BRAYNE LE IVANE/ HEY, BROTHER IVAN (Dobrudzha)

Hey, brother Ivan

Don't look at the young woman

When she is beautifully dressed

Her hair finely plaited

Don't look at the young woman

When she is beautifully dressed -

Her mother washes her white clothes

Her sister-in-law finely plaits

But look at her when she is harvesting

Working on the field -

Is she lagging behind

Or leading the way?

If she is lagging behind

Don't take her, brother

If she is leading the way

Brother, do take her

6. SAMA LI SI DEN ZHUNALA/ HAVE YOU BEEN HARVESTING ALONE (Thrace)

Have you been out reaping wheat all by yourself

All day, on your own, Petrunka?

Alone, all by myself, Ivan,

I have been harvesting all day

If I had known, I would have come, Petrunka,

If I had known, I would have come

To cast a shade with a tree branch, Petrunka

To pick your wisps

To tie your wheat sheaves, Petrunka,

To tie your sheaves

7. BUENEK/ LAZAR AT THE GATES (Northern Bulgaria)

Hey, Neva, young bride

You have been saying

At the village well

Morning and evening

That you have a male child

Dress him in scarlet

Cover him with silk

Put an apple in his hand

Take him outside the gates

To behold the Lazarki girls

How beautifully they dance

The lively rachenitsa

Their white skirts are whirling

And scarlet socks are burning

Their yellow slippers

Are beating the ground

With colourful soles

8. ZMEY LYUBI MOMA/ DRAGON IN LOVE WITH A MAIDEN (Shopluk)

Oh, beautiful young Ela,

A dragon is lurking around

He whispers to Ela:

&;ldquoGrow up, Ela, grow big,

And we shall become lovers.&;rdquo

And Ela gently uttered:

&;ldquoOh, you dragon from the mountains,

I daren't look into your eyes,

Let alone become your lover!

Your eyes shed blinding sparkles,

Your mouth roars with fire

The horse you ride is like a mountain,

The clothes you wear are like scorching flames.&;rdquo

And the dragon whispered:

Grow up, Ela, grow big,

And we shall become lovers

Do not be afraid of me.&;rdquo

9. IVAN BULYA SI DUMASHE/ IVAN SPOKE TO HIS SISTER-IN-LAW (Dobrudzha)

Ivan spoke to his sister-in-law:

Sister, my brother's wife,

I told you, I begged you

To tell uncle's Yanka

When we have guests

Not to come into our house

Not to sit opposite me

Not to look into my eyes

She gives me no peace

Day and night, sister,

Day and night

10. TRUGNALA RADA/ RADA AND THE NIGHTINGALE (Dobrudzha)

Nine years after leaving to marry Rada set off to visit her dear mother.

They walked a while, crossed a broad field and went into a green forest.

In the forest stood a tall tree, with a clear well underneath.

Rada said to Stoyan: &;ldquoLet's drink this cold water&;rdquo.

A nightingale sang from the top of the tree:

&;ldquoDo not drink from this water, last night poison was thrown into it

To poison the haiduks, Stefan Karadzha and Hadzhi Dimitar&;rdquo.

11. OY, TOYNE, TOYNE/ OY TOYNA, TOYNA (Strandzha)

Oy, Toyna, beautiful Toyna,

Pass me the curved bangles,

The bangles and the silver yoke pegs

Let us put them on the oxen

For I will be going on a long trip

On a long trip to sell copper,

I shall be passing through Karabunar

Toyna gently said to Nikola:

&;ldquoTake me with you, my beloved Nikola

And when we pass through Karabunar

And the girls from Karabunar see us together

They will exclaim: &;ldquoOh, how blessed,

How blessed are these two young people

For they're in love and will marry each other.&;rdquo

"