Koliada songs are part of a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas, but is much older in origin and symbolism. It is considered to be the most important event of the year, since people believe that spring and the harvest will not come to the village unless these songs are sung in every household. Traditionally, the ritual starts outdoors, and it will do so on 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, when the koliadnyky (or singers) blow their mountain horns and wait to be invited inside by the master of the house. A separate winter song (or koliada) is sung to the household, both living and deceased. Singing with Ivan Zelenchuk, the leader of the koliadnyky from the mystical Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, will be his brother Peter and his son Mykola, who plays the trembita, the traditional twelve-foot long mountain horn. They will be accompanied by Dmytro Tafiychuk, a virtuoso traditional fiddler, as well as a master player of the volynka, bag pipes made of goat skin. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: “what is said, will be.” For more details on the Koliada ritual and the event, please visit Yara’s website www.brama.com/yara/poetry.html.
For two years, Yara artists documented the Koliada as it exists in the village of Kryvorivnia in the Carpathian Mountains of southwestern Ukraine. Photographs by Alexander Khantaev and videos by Andrea Odezynska from these research trips will be exhibited, and an excerpt from Yara’s theater piece Koliada: Twelve Dishes, will be performed by Olga Shuhan. Various Koliada songs will be interpreted by vocalist Alexis Kochan. Drawing on the deep musical traditions of Eastern Europe, she and bandurist Julian Kytasty weave a universal sonic tapestry, working in strands of jazz and new music, medieval Slavonic chant, dance tunes inspired by Carpathian Mountain fiddlers and blind bandura players, and ancient ritual songs with roots in the Neolithic.
Yara has invited contemporary artists to create works of visual art, videos, and installations inspired by the ancient winter songs. The works will be exhibited throughout the three floors of the Institute, the former Fletcher Mansion. The art exhibit is curated by Virlana Tkacz and Olga Maryschuk. Participating artists include: Larissa Babij, Anya Farion, Annette Friedman, Roman Hrab, Peter Ihnat, Marc Kehoe, Alexander Khantaev, Olga Maryschuk, Svitlana Matviyenko, Margaret Morton, Andrea Odezynska, Joel Schlemowitz, Christina Saj, Stefan Tur, Marybeth Ward, Halyna Zakhariasevych-Lypa and Sofia Zielyk. The works will be on view through Saturday, Dec. 16th.
Yara Arts Group is a resident company at the internationally acclaimed La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. The group has created eighteen original theatre pieces that celebrate the cultures of the East since 1990. Koliada on Fifth Avenue is the twelfth major event that Yara has presented at the Ukrainian Institute. It is made possible by the Global Commitment Foundation and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. The Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) was founded in 1948 and is a center for Ukrainian art, culture, music, and literature. The UIA strives to promote a greater awareness of Ukraine through exhibits, concerts, conferences, symposia and other educational, scholarship and professional activities.
Tickets are $30. For information, call Yara (212) 475-6474 or The Ukrainian Institute (212) 288-8660.
For information Yara's event Still the River Flows
in Philadelphia Dece 8-10, 2006
For reviews and photos of Yara's installation Still the River Flows
at the Ukrainian Museum
For reviews and photos of Yara's show Koliada:Twelve Dishes at La MaMa
and Koliada:Twelve Dishes
Yara Arts Group
306 East 11th St., #3B
New York, NY 10003 USA
Email Virlana Tkacz at: email@example.com
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