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Hutsuls announce their arrival
with the trembitas
photos by K.kava

"Is the Master Home?"
sing hte Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia

Ostap Kostyuk plays the "duda"

Still the River Flows

Ivan Zelenchuk sings a winter song
to the Lady of the Houser

Eva Salina Primack sings a Koliada with Julian Kytasty

Vasyl Tymchuk plays tsymbaly
both live and on live video

Vasyl Tymchuk and his tsymbaly

The Koliadnyky
with projections by Mikhail Shraga & Volodymyr Klyuzko

The curtain call
and the announcement of the new Koliada CD



and Music from the Carpathians

performance with the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia:
Mykola Ilyuk, Ostap Kostyuk, Vasyl Tymchuk, Ivan and Mykola Zelenchuk

created by Yara Arts Group, directed by Virlana Tkacz
projections by Mikhail Shraga & Volodymyr Klyuzko

also featuring: bandurist Julian Kytasty
violinist Valeriy Zhmud and vocalist Eva Salina Primack

December 8-9, 2012 -- The Ukrainian Museum, New York City


On December 8 and 9 the usually staid galleries of The Ukrainian Museum in New York reverberated with the sounds of the trembita, The Koliadnyky from Kryvorivnia arrived to present "Koliada and Music from the Carpathians." The two performances, presented by Virlana Tkacz and the Yara Arts Group, were sold out. Despite additional seats being added at the last minute, a number of persons were turned away at the door.

The koliadnyky featured Ivan Zelenchuk as the "bereza," the lead singer. With him were Mykola Zelenchuk, the best trembita player in his village, master fiddler Mykola Ilyuk and tsymbaly player Vasyl Tymchuk. Rounding out the group was Ostap Kostyuk, playing the duda and various flutes. Joining them were Julian Kytasty on bandura, Valeriy Zhmud on violin and vocalist Eva Salina Primack.

The Koliada that they presented is a winter ritual in the Carpathian Mountains. Although it now is coincident with Christmas, it is much older in origin and symbolism. Koliada is considered to be the most important event of the year, with the belief that spring and the harvest will not come to the village unless the songs are sung in every household, to everything that breathes. These songs are incantations that carry with them the magical power of words in that "what is said, will be so."

With the audience seated in long rows running the length of the second floor gallery of the museum, one had the feeling of sitting at a long table. Projected scenes of snowy villages, provided by Volodymyr Klyuzko and Mikhail Shraga, reinforced this sensation of being at home in the Carpathians, looking out the window at the snowy village.

The room was darkened, and suddenly, one heard the distant sound of the trembity - the koliadnyky were here. Three times the trembity blew, each time closer and louder as the carolers came up the stairs and entered the gallery, outside the "house." Here, they performed "Plies - My Slavni Gazdy," a dance outside the house that announced them. Next, they inquired if the master of the household (hospodarj was in, singing "Tsy Doma, Doma, Pan Hospodar?"

Ostap Kostyuk followed with an instrumental melody on the duda, while the koliadnyky put aside their trembity. Next came the "Trypotinnia," a lively dance in which they stamp their feet to shake off the snow, while singing that the master of the house will treat them finely and richly. To the master of the house they sang "V Nashoho Pana" in which they sing that God is walking amongst all the riches of the household. They ended this song with a "vinshuvannia" in which the koliadnyky extend wishes to the hospodar for health, wealth, and happiness in the coming year.

After a heartfelt "Thank you" from the hospodar, the koliadnyky walked over the other side of the room while Ostap Kostyuk played a lively Hutsul melody on his floyara. Stopping in front of Maria Shust, they sang "V Nedilu Rano" which praises the lady of the household, comparing her to the rising sun. One of the verses tells of the "gazdynia" carrying the golden keys to the house, making this a fitting song for Ms. Shust, who, as director of the museum, does indeed carry the keys to the museum.

The troista musicians then performed an enticing dance tune on the tylynka, tsymbaly and violin, accompanied by the drum and cymbal. The koliadnyky followed that with the spivanka "Teche Richka," a rhyming song about the fame of the Hutsuls.

With Mr. Kytasty on bandura, Eva Salina Primack sang "Praia Valechka." Ms. Primack took the lead and Mr. Kytasty added won¬derfully rich supporting vocals on this koliada from the Sumy region. The koliadnyky then did "Plies z Dzvinkamy," a dance with hand bells, for Ms. Primack. The song, for the young woman of the house, wished her wealth and a happy marriage.

Mr Kytasty returned for a beautiful duet with Ms, Primack on "Shchoy u Dvori Sosonka Velyka Rosla," a perky koliada from the Sumy region. Accompanying them were Mr. Zelenchuk on percussion, Mr. Kostyuk on flute, and the ensemble on hand bells. The ensemble picked up their drymby and sang "A Ya Drymbu Sobi Kuplyu" of a woman who insists on buying a drymba despite the possibility of having to go shoeless.

Mr. Zhmud entered and started into a blistering violin rendition of "Verkhovyno," with Mr. Ilyuk joining in on his violin. The animated Mr. Zhmud physically translated the speed of the song with his body lanuage, while Mr. Ilyuk, standing almost stock still, kept up with him, note for note. The contrast in their playing styles was startling.

With the audience joining in, the ensemble sang "Dobriy Vechir Tobi, Pane Hospodariu, Raduysia!" The koliadnyky then performed "Iz Za Hory," a koliada to the young man of the household, directed, in this case, to Mr. Zhmud. Thanking them, Mr. Zhmud invited the troisry musicians to join him in "Fantazia Terpoliuka," a fiery instrumental featuring the two violinists and Mr. Tymchuk on tsymbaly.

Ms. Primack returned to tenderly sing the soulful "Oy Na Hori Buyniy Viter Viye," which was followed by a lively instrumental featuring the tsymbaly played by Vasyl Tymchuk. "Ishly Molodsti", a koliada to a young man, featured Mr. Kytasty on bandura and vocals, with the ensemble providing the backing vocals and music.

Closing out the festive music was a sprightly "Hutsulka," which allowed the musicians to show off their instruments: Mr. Kostyuk on the open-ended flute, Mr. Tymchuk on the tsymbaly, Mr. Ilyuk on the violin, Mr. Zelenchuk on the drum and tsymbaly, and Mr. Kytasty on the bandura. Mr. Tymchuk bested them all by turning over his tsymbaly and playing the rhythm on the soundboard.

The koliadnyky completed their koliada with the "Kruhliak," a round dance wishing the bees strong hives. That was followed by the "Plies," a parting song that wishes much goodness to the household. Once "outside" the house, Koliadnyky from Kryvorivnia again took up their trembity, thrice blowing them as they descended the stairs, the sound resonating throughout the museum. They returned to a standing ovation, and with the audience joining them, sang the traditional religious carol "Nova Radist Stala."
Ihor Slabicky, The Ukrainian Weekly, December 23, 2012

More Photos from Ukrainian Museum in New York

Photos of Yara's other Koliada events on Facebook: Midwinter Night at La MaMa
Ukrainian League in Philadelphia
Barbes and WFMU


other Koliada: Winter Song events 2012

press release about Yara's Midwinter Night

This program was made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs, Self-Reliance (NY) FCU, The Coca-Cola Company, and numerous friends of Yara Arts Group. The Koliadnyky have found a home in NY thanks to Ellen Stewart and La MaMa Experimental Theatre.


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