Grandmothers of Bistritsa

The grandmothers of Bistrita are the most famous women from Bistritsa, famous all over the world for their performances of archaic folklore from Shopluka. In 2005, the Bistritsa grandmothers were included in the UNESCO list of masterpieces of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.
Their songs are characterized by archaic polyphony, dances and customs from Shopluk. Diaphony (or also known as Shopska polyphony) is a specific type of polyphonic singing, in which one or two voices form the curves, while the other singers maintain a monotonous singing, which doubles or turns into a triad, thus accompanying the leading singers.
The dancers are dressed in traditional costumes and dance in a circle whose direction is usually counterclockwise. Despite the various steps, one thing is characteristic - the music and dance rhythms are not in sync.
Although the social function of polyphonic singing has changed in recent years, as it is now performed mainly on stage, Bistrita Grandmothers are considered an essential element of the cultural life of the country, promoting folklore among the younger generations.
The Bistritsa Grandmothers are among the few remaining representatives of the traditional polyphony, and the village of Bistritsa is one of the last regions in the country where this cultural tradition is preserved and passed down from generation to generation.
Due to the proximity of Bistritsa to the capital, the interest of young people in folklore is declining. Thus, the rich repertoire today excludes, for example, harvest songs. However, another reason for the reduced number of songs is the fact that the stage performance often required shortening the program by choosing only the most popular performances.