Stefan Dragostinov

A Love Story



A Mystery?… Is the Bulgarian folklore indeed a mystery? The effect of the golden voices of the Bulgarian polyphony is incredible. The music sounds here and now, but seems to be cominig from the bottom of the heart and to have bridged over the abysm of time... At the close of the twentieth century the world has turned back to its roots in order to look for the key to that Bulgarian treasure, to erase the patina from it, to find the clue to it and to incorporate it with the intransient wonders of the thousand-years-old human civilization.

A Love Story

The love song has, from time inmemorial, been repeating the same plot in a number of variants. The final solution has a still more limited perimeter: the story in some of the cases has a happy end or, to be more precise, it continues, and in other cases it ends in a tragedy. In between these two poles are the nuances – so very different, as are man's fortunes. The Bulgarian folklore has a huge part of love songs. The great human feeling is described as a supreme frame of mind. It exists, however, not being exhibited ostentatiously, but rather concealed under the thin veil of the convention and the ritual, directly connected with the patriarchal way of life.

The love drama has its permanent "settings": the working-bee is the place where love's first thrills arise, the draw-well is the habitual nook for dates, the public square is where a love affair is declared openly to the knowledge and view of all. In the sign-language there is a whole series allotted to the love. When the maiden casts up her eyes - this is equivalent to an almost half-opened door, and if the lad takes a pull at the lassie's coppers - this is a clear-cut choice. The seizure of the maiden's nosegay is like a jest - an asking for a dance. And the dance itself is already a reciprocity of feelings and a daring. The love in the Bulgarian songs is described also as being the only chance for an independent choice. The patriarchy has laws of its own, which are being observed strictly from generation to generation. Yet feelings could hardly be dependent on laws. It is for this reason maybe that the love affairs are so frequently associated with an almost heretical behavour: the love oversteps all boundaries - "across nine mountains to the tenth one" or, still more uncommonly, a maiden sometimes even falls in love with a young man of different faith.



Volume Five

A Love Story


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