EOL 4: Kavals and Dzamares (Tammer)

8. A Wider Geographic Domain for the Paired/One Piece Kaval

The characteristics of the Ferati kavals--a carved, as opposed to turned, body; being made in pairs; and being faceted--may be found singly in other Balkan countries: Kodaly 1956 depicts several Hungarian long flutes which are faceted at the distal end. This kind of ornamentation seems to be confined to the Balkans.

star-shaped base photoThere are a few examples of paired flutes outside of Greece and Macedonia. Dragoljub Kadzich photographed two shepherds playing kaval in the Shar mountains just north of the Macedonian border in the early 1960s ( Kulisich 1966:44). The instruments cannot be seen distinctly, but what can be made out in the photograph is the holder, which seems to be made in the style of the Ferati family kavals, except that its base is in the shape of a star (see sketch at left). The slender ends of the holders have rags around them to keep the bore oiled, in common with Ferati kaval holders. The shepherds depicted sitting and playing alongside their Shar Planinets dog, with magnificent snow-covered mountains in the background, are not Albanian or Moslem in dress or appearance. They appear either Slavic or Sarakatsani, but it is really impossible to say. This territory was grazed by the sheep of Sarakatsani shepherds for many years; until most of them moved to Greece in the 1950s and 60s, where they were referred to as "Serbiani."

Paired kavals are also to be found in Bulgaria. These instruments, called chifte (Turkish = double) kavali, thin-walled, mounted on sticks (kavalnitsa) joined at the base, and of ash wood as in the Macedonian kavals, were found in the Rhodopes above Kavalla, as well as further north in the Pirin Range. Although rarely found today, they were in the past far more popular in Bulgaria, but were replaced by the standardized three-piece kaval now found everywhere (Todorov 1973). In the past, chifte kavals were to be found in Tetevensko; today chifte kavals may be found in the region of Gotse Delchevsko, where they are known as the one-piece, or whole (tsel) kaval. Todorov studied a collection of chifte kavals residing in the Russian Institute for the History of the Arts in St. Petersburg (inventory #1885-V). These instruments were taken from the Rhodopes around 1872, are made of ash, and are about 950 mm long. He mentions that the "dori" (ornamentation?) found on the case instruments and the case or kalif (Turkish = kilif) in this collection are identical to those found on instruments in the villages of Nastan, Lyuba, and Zmenitza, in the Smolyan District. Todorov's informant in the village of Nastan was Cavdar (Turkish= "rye") Mladenov Brezeliev, in his 80s in the 1970s, and his son Danayil Cavdarov. Todorov gives sketches but does not provide photographs of the chifte kaval. My efforts to obtain pictures of the St. Petersburg instruments have not been successful to date.

We find a photograph of the chifte kaval in Atanasov 1977; on page 102 is a photograph of a pair of kavals with a decorated case. The crookedness of the kavals suggests that they were carved rather than turned on a lathe. Again, they are also made of ash wood. Though the photographs are interesting, no other information is given concerning the instruments. The ornamentation on the case is in the form of a vine with fruit or flowers. Atanasov also provides a photograph of a tsel or one-piece kaval of ash, carved, in the key of C, which is exhibited singly, with no mention of it having been made in pairs.

The areas within Bulgaria where the chifte kaval may be found are roughly the same regions which Marinov 1964, in his book on the Karakachani of Bulgaria, shows as Karakachani pasture lands. There are, however, many areas throughout the Rhodopes and Balkan mountain ranges where Karakachani stani utilized grazing areas, but in which the chifte kaval is not found, at least not today. Marinov devotes about three sentences of his book to a discussion of music: Some Saracatsani shepherds make kavals; these are made in three pieces; and they are called by the name "dzamara." So we can see the name of the kaval extending, by virtue of the Sarakatsani, from the Pindus across Bulgaria, but it is not the tsel or chifte kaval.

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