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Bulgarian Chalga

Do you like Chalga?

Since I arrived in Bulgaria in 2013, there has been one question that almost every Bulgarian I meet asks me “Do you like Chalga?“.

To begin with I was puzzled by this fascination with my taste in music, I mean, I’ve never asked someone I just met in the UK  “Do you like One Direction?” or something to that effect. I later learned that the reason for the question was due to the fact that many people in Bulgaria are a little ashamed of the Chalga songs, or I should say, the Chalga lyrics.

For someone who speaks little or no Bulgarian, Chalga music really doesn’t offend. In actual fact, whenever I’ve been to a club playing Chalga music I’ve quite enjoyed it. It’s that kind of makes-you-want-to-shake-your-hips music, which is great! So, when I used to quite innocently respond to that question “Yes I love Chalga”, I now understand why I received some strange looks and raised eyebrows!

To make this clearer, the best thing I can do is to share some popular Chalga songs with you and then give you the lyrics! After this, I think you will understand!

Listen to the first song and then, read the translation of the lyrics:

I know that you were listening to that song and swaying from side to side thinking it’s nice, don’t deny it! However, now read the translated lyrics and see how you feel about it!

More Or Less

Look at her – what a face she has, wow,

What a body she has, wow!
She shoots at my heart like a Kalashnikov rifle!
How she looks at me – hey, she will kill me!
And there is one scandalous thought in my head…

Chorus (x2)
Are you cooking well, more or less?
Are you at least cleaning, more or less?
Just kiss me, more or less 
If you like it, stay with me!

When I look at you… do I have to cook for you?
Do I have to clean? Or do I have to begin directly with you?
Hey, Fiki, Fiki, you’re doing it very good!
Hey, Fiki, Fiki, there’s no one like you!
Hey, Fiki, Fiki, my honey,
I will, I will, I will eat you up!

What can I tell – I’m otherwise cool, a very good boy!
But why don’t I have luck with the women?
When I see someone who’s beautiful, someone who’s shining –
Listen how fast I seduce them!

Chorus (x2)
Are you cooking well, more or less?
Are you at least cleaning, more or less?

And it goes on …

Seriously, are you cooking or at least cleaning? When I heard what the lyrics meant I was amazed, who says stuff like that?! Bulgarian Chalga singers, apparently!

Now, listen to a bit of this and then move on to the second video with subtitles ...

And now watch it with subtitles ...

I think you get my point!

I’m not saying all Chalga songs have such lyrics, in fact some are quite romantic. But, these ones do explain why some people find it a little distasteful!

Fortunately, my Bulgarian is not yet good enough to understand everything so I will continue listening and dancing to Chalga and enjoying every second of it!

And on that note, my question to you is: Do you like Chalga?

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Rebecca Richardson

Rebecca is from London and a born traveller. She’s lived and worked in Dubai and the Caribbean before moving to Bulgaria. After falling in love with the country the idea came to share all its beauty with the world through Eat Stay Love Bulgaria. She’s always wanting to try something new and loves writing about her adventures so expect to see her blog about ski lessons, a new swanky bar in town or who knows, maybe even sky-diving!