Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bulgarian Chalga



Balkanski Muje Orchestra - Darth Vader Cocek
(thanks to Noisepress for the song indentification!...go to his blog for a great dose of experimental, jazz and Bulgarian music!)

A friend dropped this amazing little dittie into my hands. Unfortunately- I have no idea who it is by...only that it's part of a compilation of Bulgarian Chalga music. I am assuming it is from at least the early eighties given the production and the fact that contemporary Chalga music is fucking unlistenable. Any Bulgarians out there to shed light on this?

Anyway...from wikipedia...a brief definition of Chalga:

Chalga is a form of Bulgarian popular music drawing from Balkan folk traditions and incorporating Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and Roma (Gypsy) influences, as well as motifs from Balkan traditional music, flamenco and klezmer music.

Often indistinguishable from Bulgarian pop music, it remains popular as music played in dance clubs and pubs. It is denigrated as a second-rate musical genre and originating from foreign sources, and its lyrics are gnerally considered to be banal and pointless by most educated Bulgarians. Critics of the genre have frequently complained that chalga fans are uneducated or unrefined; some of them refer to the genre as truck driver or taxi driver music. Chalga is known for repetitious themes and hook-laden dance rhythms. Its commercial exploitation has resulted in a vibrant night scene, especially in Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria) and Varna, as well as many televised videos featuring extravagantly glamorized singers. Azis, a Roma cross-dresser, epitomizes the cheap and addictive quality of the genre.


That's the amazing Chalga superstar Azis in the photo above. He ran for political office in 2005 but unfortunately didn't recieve enough votes. If only our pop stars were glamorous yet androgynous drag-queens, America would be a better place. The only person who comes close is Christine Aguilera! (alright, I admit it- I am a Christine Aguilara fan! Just look at that fucking nose! That enough to fall in love!)

Here is a video of Azis with Bulgarian rapper Ustata. WOW! Machismo posturing gangsta dueting with a flamboyant preening queen! I have no idea what the hell they are yapping about...but just wait for the end of the video. I love it!

6 Comments:

Blogger Protecting Terrorists said...

Banal and pointless...PERFECT!

5:45 PM  
Blogger Protecting Terrorists said...

Fuck...I was sitting here trying figure out whether I liked this ex-cocaine I downloaded and that chalga kicked in over it. The result: utter confusion, because my mother's card game program shot up on the screen I had no way of knowing what in the hell was going on. Ideal. I think I like the chalga more than the ex-cocaine, but together they make a mighty fine blind-ass maldesigned cocktail.

5:48 PM  
Blogger noisepress said...

the unknown chalga song is Darth Vader cocek (pronounced like Q-check in Bulgaria) by BALKANSKI MUJE orchestra (Balkan Men orchestra). i think its somekind of Gypsy orchestra, from homemade compilation of songs, sung at the Gypsy weddings etc.

this song is silly improvisation s\\t for drinking bottle of grappa:)

also there's other traditional cocek songs in Turkey, Serbia, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%8Co%C4%8Dek

sadly chalga become industry here! and its a total crap in my opinion!

cheers!

P.S. i have some true jewels in my blog, like Ivo Papasov, check it out if you want to hear good balkan instrumental music.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous VOID said...

the chalga dear people is unfortunately very popular with kids and wannabe gangsters in our poor BG...
It's silly, it's meaningless, it's pointless, but in my own opinion half of the population listens to it. So don't think of chalga as something funny, as sad as it is it's a cultural phenomenon

2:03 PM  
Blogger Proudfoot said...

Yeah, like Noisepress said, the song really isn't Bulgarian Chalga. Its Kuchek or cocek. Its "chalga" in the sense of "to play" and its improvised (from the older tradition of Chalga). Current "Chalga" is also called Turbo-Folk and Pop Folk. You have to draw some differences because the cocek or kuchek is mostly a Roma tradition (from Turkish influences) whereas "Chalga" or Pop-Folk is popular with all Bulgarians (and has influences, or stolen music, from Turkey, Greece, America, Serbia, Romanian, etc.)

Check out some examples:

Chalga: Brief History
http://balkanhour.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-is-chalga-starting-cultural-and.html

Chalga Timeline (through videos):
http://balkanhour.blogspot.com/2008/09/chalga-timeline.html

Chalga Summer Hits 2008:
http://balkanhour.blogspot.com/2008/08/black-sea-disco-music.html

6:11 AM  
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4:25 PM  

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