Telegram on the wind


We love and sing songs from many different parts of Eastern Europe, as you will hear on this disc. But this CD draws a great deal from our experiences traveling in Bulgaria and studying with Bulgarian musicians closer to home. On a group trip in 2005, we visited the village of Dorkovo, Bulgaria, located in the Rhodope Mountains in a region whose musical style also reflects that of the nearby Pirin Mountains. We worked with singers from the village’s two ensembles, participated in a regional folk festival, and made side trips to other villages and towns; none of us will ever forget the experience.  

One song that struck us particularly in Dorkovo was a men’s song, Telegramma doide, about the arrival of a wartime telegram. We like the way the word “telegramma” seems to evoke a kind of border between tradition and modernity. These songs about former ways of life (with their telegrams, village wells, threshing barns and scythes) are like telegrams conveying the beauty and mystery of distant times and places.                                            

And the motif of wind sweeps through several of the songs we’ve chosen. Sometimes the wind is an unnamed and friendly part of the scene, like the wind that fills the white sails of the boats on the Danube (Dunave). But at other times, from the wind that blows a hero’s hat off in a dream—an eerie way to inform him that he will lose his head (Oy, to ne vecher), to the cold wind blowing around a stable (Betlehem, Betlehem), to a broken-hearted girl asking the wind not to blow and rock her, because she wants to rock herself (Ne dui mori vetre), the wind suggests mysterious messages carried by nature and, through human interpretation, through song.                                           

With Planina's own exuberant vocals and instrumentals, and guest appearances by Peter Teodosijev (accordion), Milyo Kepchelev (tambura), James Hoskins (cello and gudulka), and Jesse Manno (bouzouki, oud), this is our Telegram on the Wind to you, the listener.         

CD Tracks (to hear samples of all tracks, go to the Planina Store on

1. Treno, shterko Treno (Bulgaria)
2. Yane, Yane (Bulgaria) 
3. Si man, Devla, duj jakha (Bulgarian Rom)
4. La Valja di Janina (Arumani/Bulgarian)
5. Verka kaludzerka (Serbian Rom)
6. Imam jednu želju (Bosnia-Herzegovina) courtesy Azra Sings
7. Dunave (Serbia)
8. Trugnala e malka moma (Bulgaria)
9. Telegramma doide (Bulgaria)
10. Yunak se vikna (Bulgaria)
11. Maika bilber (Bulgaria)
12. Polka with horns (Lithuania)
13. Pragyda gyda (Lithuania)
14. Divane aşhık gibi (Turkey)
15. Ay u menya pred oknom (Russia)
16. Oy, to ni vecher (Russia)
17. Dobro dushle (Macedonia)
18. Sabrali sa se nabrali (Bulgaria)
19. Done le (Bulgaria)
20. Bratec kosi (Croatia)
21. Hajdutin (Bulgaria)
22. Večeraj, Ang'o (Macedonia)
23. Betlehem, Betlehem (Hungary)
24. Ne dui mori vetre (Bulgaria)