Balkan party music in Seattle


Serbian racenica

Posted by on Sep 28, 2018 in 7/8, Balkan Sheet Music | 0 comments

Krivo Drom, a band from New Orleans, plays a melody in the Bulgarian meter called racenica (7/8, 2+2+3) that members of the band learned from unnamed Serbian Rom musicians. A pretty little three-phrase melody that can cycle endlessly. We transposed the original up a fifth – play it in any key you like.

(This happens to be the 50th chart I’ve uploaded to this site.)


Serbian racenica

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Video won’t embed, so just a link, sorry:


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Si la kale bal

Posted by on Sep 21, 2018 in 7/8, Balkan Sheet Music | 0 comments

A song by the legendary Serbian Rom singer Saban Bajramovic, recorded in 1980. It’s played in a Banat-style 7/8 meter (3+2+2, with stress on beats 1, 2, 4 and 6, not 1, 3, 4 and 6 as commonly heard in the Balkans). We play it for listening, though dancers sometimes do a Romanian dance to it. The instrumental melody is usually highly elaborated by a soloist; the transcription shows only a basic melody, so listen to lots of performances on YouTube and take it from there.

We’ve heard several versions of the lyrics and use those from the Galbeno Songbook here. These include “Si la” in the title and lyrics, not “Sila” as seen almost everywhere else for this song. Our compact Romany dictionary translates “Si la kale bal” word for word as “is her black hair” (“her hair is black”, “she has black hair”), whereas it has no entry for “sila.” Sounds the same either way.


Sila kale bal

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Kher kereste

Posted by on Aug 28, 2018 in 7/8, Balkan Sheet Music | 0 comments

A haunting song from the southern Balkans, recorded and, I believe, written by Kenan Asan in 1989 or 1990. We play it as a lesnoto.

From house to house, grass grows
[i.e. no one walks between them, the people are gone]
In my head, a fire burns.


Kher khereste 2

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Eleno kerko Eleno

Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in 7/8, Balkan Sheet Music | 0 comments

A lovely Macedonian lesnoto dance melody in 7/8, about a girl trying to talk her boyfriend into buying her an expensive new hat.


Eleno kerko Eleno 2

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Eleno kerko Eleno lyrics

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Sung by Selimova Zelceski:

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Nazad, nazad mome Kalino

Posted by on Jun 22, 2018 in 7/8, Balkan Sheet Music | 0 comments

Fatal Attraction in Bulgaria: The other woman refuses to take no for an answer. We play this as a lesnoto dance song in 7/8.

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Voljela sam, voljela

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in 7/8, Balkan Sheet Music | 0 comments

A song in 7/8 meter about unrequited love. Written by Milic Vukasinovic, who went on to become the drummer for the famous Sarajevo rock band Bijelo Dugme, it sold a million copies in 1978 and made a star of Bosnian sevdalinka singer Hanka Paldum. We play it as a lesnoto dance tune.

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