Artists say that they “get lost in the feeling” when they perform, but there is so much thought and concentration involved. We may not realize it when we are watching from the audience, but encompassed in folk songs and dances are a whole world of stories.
Before television, radio, video games, or even electricity… before words were even printed or written down– in order to remember stories, civilizations had artists that were designated storytellers. Now, I don’t know if you have ever tried to memorize a page of text by heart, but it is nearly impossible to do so without the text being dialogue (as in a play), or without a sense of rhythm.
Storytelling in a more obvious form is plays, but we already know that remembering all the lines is a struggle. Heck, people used to hold contests between performers to see who could remember the most of Homer’s Odyssey from memory (think very, very old-school American Idol.)
But there is a type of storytelling that was also made for the common man or woman to join in, and that is folklore through song. The lyrics in folk tunes are usually about the everyday occurrences, struggles, and feats of the working class– it was not music for nobles. Expert folk singers today need an understanding of the emotion felt by those long ago when performing historically relevant pieces; it can be difficult because amongst our modern technological advancements, grasping the perspective of ancestors seems far off in the distance. All the more reason to visit Varna, Bulgaria’s folklore festival this season.