Skip to main content
  • Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia Showcases Rare Folk Traditions

    Today Smithsonian Folkways releases Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia, an album of field recordings collected by noted music and dance ethnographer Martin Koenig in 1968 and 1973. A sonic time capsule of this region of Southeastern Europe, these recordings are from a significant period in Macedonian traditional music, made just prior to the popularization of modernized or newly composed folk music. The only known recordings of these skilled traditional musicians, the seventeen tracks and detailed fieldwork travelogue included on Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! document popular and historically significant urban and rural traditions ignored by state radio and folkloric productions.

    Listen to a selection from Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! here:

    Playing ‘Til Your Soul Comes Out! showcases three styles of Macedonian traditional music: Christian female village singing, Romani (Gypsy) zurli-tapan ensembles, and the Ottoman Turkish urban ensemble called čalgija. These varying styles demonstrate the ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity of Macedonia. Čalgija, the rarest of the three, is an instrumental urban style that uses the Macedonian mekam, of which there are only three performers remaining (Koenig). All but one of the musicians that Koenig recorded are now deceased. Martin Koenig and Sonia Tamar Seeman provide historical background and unique insight via the liner notes, and include an overview of the music of mid-20th-century Macedonia with historical and cultural context for each track, as well as transcriptions of all lyrics into English.

    The album was produced by Martin Koenig. Research was supported by Margaret Mead and the Institute for Intercultural Studies and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Production was supported by the International Music and Art Foundation; 4Culture; and the United Macedonian Diaspora through their efforts with the global Macedonian community, particularly in the United States and Canada; and by other lovers of Macedonian music and dance.

    Album Release Events for Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia:

    October 7, 2015


    Embassy of Macedonia

    2129 Wyoming Ave. NW

    Washington, D.C. 20008

    Please RSVP to or (202)350-9798


    October 9, 2015


    Gallery MC

    549 W 52nd St.

    New York, NY 10019

    Music provided by Odglasi

    Please RSVP to or (202)350-9798


    October 10, 2015

    Saturday, Oct 10, 2015

    Sts. Kiril and Metodij Macedonian Orthodox Church

    1050 Pompton Avenue

    Cedar Grove, NJ 07009

    7:30 p.m. - midnight


    Please RSVP to or (202)350-9798


    October 22, 2015


    Vashon Island Land Trust

    10014 SW Bank Road

    Vashon Island, WA 98070


    October 23, 2015


    Jack Straw Cultural Center

    4261 Roosevelt Way NE

    Seattle, WA 98105

    Music provided by Dragi Spasovski and his Macedonian All Star band 

    Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia
    Track List


    1. Pesnata na spaičeto (The Young Cavalryman’s Song) 5:49
    2. Oro od Alo Tončov (Alo Tončov’s Dance)/Ramnoto – instrumental 3:51
    3. Pesnata za Lešovskiot Manastir tikveško (The Song of the Lešovo Monastery) 4:11
    4. Pesnata Ibraim Odža (The Song of Ibraim Odža) 3:05
    5. Pesnata na seloto Resava tikveško (The Song of the Village of Resava) 3:29
    6. Oroto Devojče devojče crveno jabolče (Dance – Girl, Girl, Little Red Apple) – instrumental 2:31
    7. Taksimot Hidžas od Alo Tončov (Alo Tončov’s Taksim Hidžas) 5:05


    1. Žela moma novi stomni (The Young Girl Has Bought New Pots) 2:16
    2. More kaži kaži Tode bre sino (Tell Me, Tell Me, Tode My Son) 5:00
    3. Jana bole belo grlo (Jana Has Pain in Her White Throat) 1:17—Marija Micova, Mitra G´urova
    4. Crna se čuma zadade (There Came the Black Plague [to Macedonia]) 5:05


    1. Zlata (Crni Jusuf/Kara Jusuf) – rusali dance 5:29
    2. Povrnička (Šekerinka) 3:30
    3. Kapidan avasi – rusali dance 3:45
    4. Ženil se Petre Vojvoda (Commander Peter Is Getting Married) (Skender avasi) 3:25
    5. Guroševica (Pehlivan avasi/Šarlagan avasi) 4:16


    1. Sultan Hamid’s March 2:04
    Playing ’Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia Showcases Rare Folk Traditions | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings