Bulgarian National Radio © 2021 All Rights Reserved

Song about Hristo Botev

Photo: BNR

Revolutionary, poet, journalist, publisher. In his brief lifetime Hristo Botev wrote around 20 poems, even so the body of his work is considered to be the apex of Bulgarian literature. Deeply emotional, the verses he wrote when Vassil Levski was hanged have been turned into song, sung to this day in tribute to the Apostle of Freedom. One ballad is very popular – Hadji Dimitar, celebrating the heroism of the rebel who laid down his life for national freedom. Turned into song, it is seen as a symbol of people’s gratitude to the heroes of Bulgaria. As a melody, performed by choirs or soloists, the song Hadji Dimitar (He lives) is invariably part of all 2 June official ceremonies.

“The struggle”, “In the tavern”, “Eloped” and many other poems by Botev were turned into songs soon after they were written. In the 20th century, Alexander Raychev, Alexander Tanev, Simeon Pironkov, and many other Bulgarian composers wrote vocal and instrumental works to Hristo Botev’s verses.

But the first work inspired by the heroism of Hristo Botev and his rebels was written 145 years ago – on 20 May, 1876, just days after the revolutionary set foot on Bulgarian soil. The poem is actually called “Radetzky”, but became popular as “Still White Danube”. Its author is the patriarch of Bulgarian literature Ivan Vazov.

In his memoirs Vazov wrote the following: "We were all exhilarated: the details about the daring feat, as if taken straight from a legend, was circulated by word-of-mouth. Under the impression of this event I wrote Still White Danube Undulates and it very soon became popular and was adapted to become a song.”

Find out more about the song about Botev in Radio Bulgaria’s Still White Danube: the story of a great rebel song

Compiled by Albena Bezovska

Photos: BNR and archive

More from category

Ancient village of Dobarsko – a fount of surprises even for those who have come here before

Those who have once visited the village of Dobarsko want to come back again, because time is never enough to enjoy all local sights. The village reveals a stunning view of the entire Razlog Valley, the majestic Pirin Mountain and the..

published on 6/12/21 6:30 AM

A trip to the Rose Valley in the season of the “queen of flowers”

A legend has it that a Bulgarian who returned from Persia planted the first rose flower in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley. When the man was still in Persia, he fulfilled the will of a rich and powerful shah to build a mosque in the courtyard of his..

published on 5/28/21 4:30 PM

On May 24th Bulgarians celebrate spiritual development, culture and education

For Bulgarians, May 24 is one of the brightest days of the year. It is a celebration of spiritual elevation, of striving for perfection through the achievements of science and culture. On this day we celebrate the work of the educators of the..

published on 5/24/21 6:15 AM