Polyphonic singing Dolen

Polyphonic singing from the villages of Dolen and Satovcha entered the UNESCO list

Polyphonic singing, also known as “high singing” in the Bulgarian villages of Dolen and Satovcha, has already been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Elements of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

High singing is a specific performance of local folk songs, which originates in the village of Dolen. Later it was transferred to the village of Satovcha by women who were emigrants or became daughters-in-law there. Today, this type of singing is on the verge of extinction, as only 4 grandmothers remain in Dolen from the singing group that performs these songs.

It is not possible to give an exact date of the origin of this type of singing high from the village of Dolen. Brief historical data show that due to the amphitheater location of the fields and neighborhoods in Dolen, women sang from one level to another. So they succeed to achieve this phenomenon. They had a song just in case – while they were reaping, they sang “Golden Wheat”, at noon they sang “It’s noontime”, and at the end of the working day in the fields, they sang “They are easy, forest” and “The sun is setting”.

The women’s singing group for high singing in Dolen was formed in the last century. It consists of two groups – first and second, and between them four shouters. The songs performed by the band are local two-part Dolen songs.

How group songs are performed on high

The first group begins the main song, immediately after that the shouters are turned on, who sing a different song, performing it with specific shouts, the first group stops singing. This sequence is repeated until the end of the song.

Високо пеене Долен

Each of the two groups is a formation of women singing first and second voices. The four shouters sing two by two, first and second voice. The shouters sing the curves (“rukanie”) of high singing. Today the women’s group for high singing at the community center “St. St. Cyril and Methodius ”in the village of Satovcha promotes this unique musical heritage in order to remain alive for future generations.

The folk singers are inscribed by the Ministry of Culture in the National Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage “Living Human Treasures – Bulgaria”. The band received an international award for “singing high” from the Herder Foundation in Hamburg in 1988, and the recognition from UNESCO comes after an 8-year wait and is a huge recognition and incentive for the performers.

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