Ajde lepa Maro – Addendum

In the meantime, we have received additional informations to our research on the Serbian dance Ajde lepa Maro and the associated music, which further clarify the origin. They come from our mail correspondence with Ron Houston (Texas) and Radboud Koop (Netherlands) from March, 25 to 29, 2024.

Ron Houston writes for the music recording on Folkraft Vinyl FK 1495 (7″ 45rpm – no year: „Folk Orchestra Beograd“, „Supervised and recorded in Jugoslavia by Dennis Boxell“), Rickey Holden and Dennis Boxell visited „KUD France Marolt“ (today AFS, Akademska folklorna skupina, France Marolt) in Ljubljana on the occasion of a trip in 1963 or 1964 to then Yugoslavia, where they saw Ajde lepa Maro as part of a Serbian medley (edited on Folkraft LP 19b2 with Ajde lepa Maro, Marinino, Djurdjevka, Čačak, Šetnja – this recording is also known as the „Serbian Suite“). This version was slow, short and sung in Slovenian and was therefore considered unsuitable for recreational dance in the USA.

Ron Houston assumes that Rickey Holden and Dennis Boxell then got a suitable Serbian recording. This was the usual procedure: visit the national folklore ensemble, select and describe dances, record or license music for Folkraft, and sometimes find a dancer to teach the dances in the US (e.g., Atanas Kolarovski, Csaba Palfi).

Radboud Koop adds that a newer CD edition of the earlier recordings of Dennis Boxell, „Serbian Folk Dance Classics FA-5“ with Ajde lepa Maro, calls the „Orchestra Dušan Radetić“; the singers belong to the „Kolo“ ensemble.

When we found details about Vivace vacances CD V-407 (1989), („de Mooiste Muziek uit Joegoslavië“, Yugoslavian National Folkdance Orchestra ‚Sarajewo‘. All compositions/arrangements by B. Estacada. Wim Bosheck Musicproductions), it seemed strange to us that a Serbian folk dance should be composed and arranged in Holland by a musician with a Spanish name. Radboud Koop has found out that this is a recording of a Dutch orchestra called „Ensemble Radostan“ under the direction of Tim de Wijs. The name „Yugoslavian National Folkdance Orchestra ‚Sarajewo'“ is a fantasy name; there is no such orchestra. R. Koop also suspects that the name „B. Estacada“ does not refer to an existing person; according to him, it is only a fantasy name to ward off copyright claims. („Estacada“ = fence, palisade; „Bosheck“ = bos: forest, heck: hedge, fence; Bosheck > „B. Estacada“).

This recording was previously released for Senior Dancing on the record Nevofoon 15022 „Dansen voor Ouderen 1“, an instrumental recording (not vocal).

Regarding the dance „Ajde lepa Maro, we have already mentioned that Ron Houston is convinced for various reasons that Dennis Boxell consulted Janković Vol. 1 (1934) (Boxell spoke Serbo-Croatian). According to R. Houston, the Janković books may have been the source for Serbian dances for all of the KUDs. Ultimately, all sources of Ajde lepa Maro trace back to Ljubica and Danica Janković. There is no older dance description, but older song documents. In summary, he believes that the dance Ajde lepa Maro, as it is danced in the USA, comes from Rickey Holden and Dennis Boxell (Folkraft), who got it from the France Marolt KUD, who probably got it from reading a KUD publication or from reading the Janković sisters.

R. Houston would be very happy to have additional information demonstrating an earlier source for the dance. We thank him and Radboud Koop for the very valuable informations.