Eugenia Georgieva: Po Drum Mome

The Village in All of Us

Listening Post 170. Eugenia Georgieva knits together instruments, cultures and generations with her graceful, soul-stirring voice. As a member of two ensembles she has performed Slavic and Japanese folk songs and also fused Bulgarian, Indian and English Renaissance sounds. On Po Drum Mome (A Girl on the Road), her first solo album, she explores her musical DNA. Although she grew up in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, and now lives in London, Georgieva’s starting point is Blazhievo, her mother’s village, in the shadow of the Rila Mountains. She integrates traditional songs from her ancestral region—one about a dragon who loved a maiden—into a trove of Bulgarian village tales of love, courtship, celebration, work and death. The value of beauty changes between Brayne Le Ivane (Hey, Brother Ivan), advising a young man to choose a hardworking wife over a pretty one (video 1) and Deno, Sreburno Vreteno (Dena, You Silver Spindle), in which a suitor’s alluring neighbor grips his attention (video 2). In Buenek (Lazar at the Gates), a mother takes her little son to watch young girls perform the ritual Lazarki dance (video 3), while Zmey Lyubi Moma (Dragon in Love with a Maiden) introduces the local mythical figure pursuing girls who avoid the Lazarki (video 4). Accompanied by traditional instruments—notably kaval (flute) and gadulka (lute)—Po Drum Mome is utterly enchanting, but there may also be something deeper at work. As recently as 1960, only one-third of the world’s population was urban; modern cities derive much of their energy from residents no more than three generations removed from a hamlet, pueblo, borgo, selo or shtetl. Are Georgieva’s penetrating voice and evocative songs tapping into something primordial, a universal rural beacon beneath memory’s surface? Dragon and all, she generously lends us her ancestral village—perhaps inspiring others to find their own. (Riverboat Records/World Music Network)

Eugenia Georgieva and Band
Eugenia Georgieva, vocals

Stoimen Dobrev, kaval
Gancho Gavazov, gadulka, vocals
Magdalena Stoyanova, double bass, vocals
Velizar Madzhovski, tamboura, guitar
Additional musicians: Antonia Keteneva, vocals; Lachezar Georgiev, tambourine

 

Brayne Le Ivane/Hey, Brother Ivan
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

 

Deno, Sreburno Vreteno/Dena, You Silver Spindle
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

 

Buenek/Lazar at the Gates
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 colorful soles

 

Zmey Lyubi Moma/Dragon in Love with a Maiden
Oh, beautiful young Ela,

A dragon is lurking around

He whispers to Ela:
“Grow up, Ela, grow big/And we shall become lovers.”

And Ela gently uttered:
“Oh, 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.”

And the dragon whispered/”Grow up, Ela, grow big,
And we shall become lovers/Do not be afraid of me.”

 


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