Blood And Gold
Bristol Beacon, Winter Concert 2021
A true bastard love child of a song if ever there was one! A Romanian song collected by Bela Bartok, translated to English by British Folkies Andy Irvine & Jane Cassidy & grafted onto a Bulgarian dance tune, before being brilliantly recorded by Maddie Pryor & June Tabor (The Silly Sisters) . Over time it’s become a powerful English anti-war song. The version above is from 2012 and our debut Concert at The Colston Hall, with Bristol Male Voice Choir. 300 Singers, 1500+ Audience. Several thousand raised for St Peters Hospice. Not a bad first night, eh?
The rhythm and harmonies are Bulgarian. The song (and the dance) is a paidushka 5/16 rhythm. The lyrics could refer to any of the never-ending border campaigns against the Ottomans (though others think that they could have been written about the Napoleonic war…). Blood and gold has to do with the contrast between the gold used in banners and decorations on weapons and helmets and the blood realities of the war.