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Macedonia

Macedonia

Geography & Topography

Capital: Skopje; 447,000

Area: 25,713 square kilometers (9,928 square miles)

Language: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish

Religion: Macedonian Orthodox, Muslim

Currency: Macedonian denar

History

Macedonia, officially known as the Republic of Macedonia is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south and Albania to the west. Macedonia has a rich cultural heritage in art, architecture, poetry and music. Poetry, film and music festivals are held annually.

Performing Arts

Music

Macedonian music styles were greatly influenced by Byzantine church music. The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra  established in 1944, is the oldest cultural institution in the field of music. There are six chamber ensembles, such as Tanec, that represent the richness of Macedonian folklores and songs. Folk music is one of the most cherished areas of Macedonia culture and several folk festivals take place each year. Each year approximately 50,000 people attend concerts of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the various folk dance ensembles.

The most recognisable instruments in traditional Macedonian music are:

Macedonian Gaida

Macedonian Gaida

 

Gaida: Gaida, the Macedonian bagpipe shares similar characteristics to other bagpipes found in Balkan countries. The bagpipe has been used by the Macedonians since ancient times. It has a single chanter pipe and one drone pipe. Just like a clarinet reed, its reeds are single. The gaida can be played unaccompanied but it is usually played together with percussion instruments.

 

Kaval

Kaval

 

Kaval: A very old folk flute from the Balkans. It is an end-blown flute with eight finger holes. A tone is created by blowing across the sharpened edge of the mouthpiece.When played, the kaval is held with both hands at an angle of approximately 45° from the body, with the four fingers of the one hand covering the lower holes; the upper three holes and the thumbhole are covered with the other hand. The mouth covers ~¾ of the end. Change of the breath air pressure also changes the pitch.

Tapan

Tapan

 

Tapan: Double-sided drum with a thick skin on one side and a thinner skin on the other. It is played with a big beater and thin switch. As well as playing its own strokes, the little stick can be placed on the skin, producing a snare effect when the big stick hits the other side.

Dance

Examples of traditional Macedonian dances are:

Partalos: A dance from the area of Roumlouki in Western Macedonia. Partalos is a male dance made up of six steps. The men hold hands with outstretched arms or hold from the shoulders. The name of the dance is derived from the word Partalia, which means rags. A beautiful woman from Pylea was known to wear Partalia, thus they dedicated the dance to this beautiful woman. The dance is fast paced and is made up of a series of leaps and squats. Partalso is also danced at weddings. In this case, the groom leads the dance, next to the groom would follow his nonos (godfather), the koumbaros (best man) and then the rest of the bridal party.

Tsourapia

Tsourapia

 

Tsourapia: A dance from Western Macedonia. A popular circular dance also called Pardala Tsourapia, Kambano More Mitro, Pardales kaltses, Serenin tsourap and Sareve Tsourapia. The name of the dance means colorful socks – pardala tsourapia. The word sareve also means colorful in local dialect. In the town of Florina, many dancers wear colorful socks when dancing this dance. The movement of the dance begins towards the right then moves towards the left of the circle.

 

Some interesting facts:

  • The Macedonian currency does not support the use of cents. Everything is rounded up to the nearest denar.
  • Macedonia has a rich artistic life. Some 260 exhibitions of work by Macedonian artists and 65 exhibitions of guests from foreign countries are organized each year.

Macedonian Community in Australia:

More information on the Macedonian community: