THoly Nativity Church, Knowle, Bristol, 2019
This is another song from the amazing Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares series of CDs, this time from Volume 3. As with that other Gurt Lush perennial, Erghen Diado, the composition credit for Sedenkarska is given to the Bulgarian musicologist and composer Petar Lyondev (or Liondev). But it is probably his arrangement of a folk song from Dobrudzha, a historical region that is shared today between Bulgaria and Romania. Dobrudzha has its own distinctive folklore tradition.
On the Mystère album the performance is credited to the Tolbuhin Ensemble; Tolbuhin was the Soviet-era name for Dobrich, a town in the Bulgarian part of the Dobrudzha folklore region. Curiously, exactly the same recording appears on an album called Folk Songs Arranged by Bulgarian Composers, Vol.1, but here credited to the Dobrudzha Folklore Ensemble; so presumably the choir, like the town, has varied its name with the times.
The title Sedenkarska has been variously translated as “Village Party Song”, “Evening Gathering”, “Work Party Song” and “Working-Bee Song”; no full translations of the song seem to be available, but presumably they could vary just as much.
While the aforementioned Gurt Lush favourite Erghen Diado has been performed and recorded by others in a variety of styles, Sedenkarska seems to have been covered by no one else – until now, that is…