Liberal Arts Blog— Bulgaria — “Hubava si moya goro” (You are Beautiful, My Forest)
Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is Joy of Music Day
Today’s Topic: Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People XXXII — Bulgaria — “Hubava si moya goro” (You are Beautiful, My Forest)
Two summers ago, I spent two weeks on Nantucket. One of the surprises was how many Bulgarians there were working in shops — especially ice cream shops. When I learned their nationality, I greeted them with the song “Hubava si, Moya Goro.” The response was bizarrely always the same — tears of homesickness. Have you ever been to Bulgaria? Do you know anything about Bulgaria worth sharing? Trying to find random facts about the country for this post, I found a list of the most famous Bulgarians. The only names I recognized were those of Boris Christoff, one of greatest basses of 20th century opera, and Grigor Dimitrov, the tennis player. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
LYRICS — Bulgarian
1. Hubava si, moya goro, mirishesh na mladost,
2. no vselyavash v surtsata ni samo skrub i zhalost.
3. Koito vednuzh te pogledne, toi vechno zhalee,
LYRICS — English
1. You are beautiful, my forest, you smell of youth
2. But you inspire in our hearts only grief and sorrow
3. Who looks at you only once, he always sorrow.
ORIGINS OF THE SONG — A SONG OF RESISTANCE AGAINST THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
1. “In the early 20th century, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Serbia were fighting for their independence from the Turkish Empire. During these intense times of war, the forest was the pivotal cultural and political meeting point.”
2. “Both a place for refuge and a tactical advantage for the Bulgarians, guerrilla warrior groups would collect in the forest, fleeing their homes and abandoning their families, to fight the Turks.”
3. “This song (Hubava si, moya goro”…is a revolutionary ode to that forest.”
NB: Once a song of resistance, it is now a children’s song.
BACKGROUND ON BULGARIA
1. Romania to the North, Black Sea to the East, Serbia and North Macedonia to the West Turkey to the Southeast, Greece to the Southwest.
2. Population: 7 MM and declining, GDP per capita (nominal) $9,772 versus $6,100 for North Macedonia, $19, 750 for Greece. $12,887 for Romania.
3.Ranked among the most corrupt, if not the most corrupt nation in Europe.
NB: Best book on Eastern Europe that I ever read was Robert Kaplan’s “Balkan Ghosts” — highly recommended.
APPENDIX: Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People — Past Posts in This Series
This is the list of songs with which, now masked and distanced, I greet tourists from around the world at the North Bridge in Concord or wherever I else I happened to meet them — eg. waiting in line at grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, or the Department of Motor Vehicles. I feel strongly that the core humanities curriculum of every school in the world should consist of the most beloved songs of the world’s peoples. Music unites. The opportunity cost of any other texts is infinite. Why not give every 18 year old the keys to hearts of seven billion people? I am not sure this is the perfect list. But I have spent 10 years testing the hypothesis. And the results are not scientific but they are pretty convincing. Proposals welcome.
4/9/20 — Nkosi — South African National Anthem
4/16/20 — Sweet Mother — unofficial national Anthem of Nigeria
4/23/20 — Jambo — the Swahili equivalent — Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda
4/30/20 — Sakura — Japan — the cherry blossom song
5/7/20 — Arirang — Korea (North and South)
5/14/20 — Chuang Qian Ming Yue Guang” — China — Li Bai — Gong Linna
5/21/20 — Ode to Joy — German — Beethoven/Schiller
5/28/20 — La Marseillaise — French — France plus many more french-speaking nations
6/4/20 — Volare — Italian — Domenico Modugno
6/11/20 — Arrorro and Cielito Lindo — Spanish speakers
6/18/20 — La Garota de Ipanema — Brazil and other Portuguese speakers
6/22/20 — Gayatri Mantra — Hindus
7/2/20 — Pokarekare Ana — Maori — New Zealand
7/9/20 — Aseda Yede Ma Onyame — Ghana
7/16/20 — “Al Fatihah” — most sacred Islamic prayer (Arabic)
7/23/20 — “Tavaszi Szel” — Hungarian Folk Song
7/30/20 — “Modeh Ani” — the Jewish Waking Up Prayer
8/6/20 — “Stolat, Stolat” — Polish Birthday Song
8/20/20 — “Lang Zal Ze Leven” — Dutch Birthday Song
8/27/20 — “Oh Danny Boy” — Ireland
9/3/20 — “Mul Mantra” — most sacred Sikh prayer
9/10/20 — “Warwindar Friska” — Swedish song of spring
9/17/20 — “Desteapta-te Romane!” — Romanian national anthem
9/24/20 — “Kad Ja Podjoh Na Bembasu” — Bosnian folk song of lost love
10/1/20 — “Waltzing Matilda” — Australia
10/8/20 — “Calon Lan” — Wales
10/15/20 -”Ngoromera” — Zimbabwe — Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi
10/22/20 — “Holka Modrooka” — Czech Republic
10/29/20 — “Tis Dikaiosinis” — Mikiis Theodorakis — Greece
11/5/20 — “Finlandia” Sibelius — Finland
11/12/20 — “Karoun, Karoun, Karoon” — Armenia
11/29/20 — “Hubava si, Moya Goro” — Bulgaria
Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.