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photo: Volodymyr Klyuzko

KOLIADA 2013 in Toronto

Koliada Project and Yara Arts Group in collaboration with the Ukrainian Culture Festival present Yara’s theatre show “Midwinter Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals,” the concerts se “Koliada and Music from the Carpathians” and a related exhibition in the Toronto area.

Dec 7, Saturday 7 PM -- Yara & the Hutsul Koliada
St. Vladimir Institute, 620 Spadina Ave, Toronto (416) 912-3766 (donation)

Dec 14, Saturday 7:30 PM -- Koliada & Music from the Carpathians
UNF, 145 Evans Ave, Toronto (416) 912-3766
Tickets:  $25/ $20 seniors, students & children (at the door)

Dec 15, Sunday after 10:00 AM mass -- Koliada
St. Elias Church, 10193 Heritage Road, Brampton (905) 459-8888 (donation)

Dec 17, Tuesday 6 - 9 PM opening with Koliadnyky & holiday cocktails, $15
Carpathian Photo Patterns exhibit of art inspired by the Hutsul Koliada
by Volodymyr Klyuzko and Alexander Khantaev
Bezpala-Brown Gallery 17 Church Street (@Front), Toronto (416) 907-6875

Dec 20, Friday 8 PM -- Koliada & Music from the Carpathians
Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St, Hamilton, $15 advance/ $18 (905) 543-8512

Dec 22, Sunday after 11:00 AM mass -- Koliada
St. Mary’s Church, 3625 Cawthra Rd, Mississauga (905) 279-9387 (donation)

Dec 27-29, Friday 8 PM, Saturday at 3 PM & 8 PM, Sunday at 3 PM
Yara’s new theatre piece -- Koliada, vertep & koza
Midwinter Night: Sacred & Profane Rituals
created by Yara Arts Group with Koliadnyky and Lemon Bucket Orkestra
Enwave Theatre Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Friday Gala $150, Saturday & Sunday $35, students $25, children $15
Tickets: (416) 973-4000

In December the Koliada Project and Yara Arts Group in collaboration with the Ukrainian Culture Festival will present the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia. Koliada is a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas but is much older in origin and symbolism. Its oldest songs are preserved in villages high in the Carpathian Mountains, where the Koliada is considered to be the most important event of the year. Some people believe that spring and the harvest will not come to the village unless the songs are sung in every household. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: "what is said, will be so." These songs are featured in the first part of Midwinter Night. For the second part of the piece director Virlana Tkacz has adapted and translated a Baroque folk Nativity Play. A highlight is the original 18th century music, as arranged by Julian Kytasty. The third part of the evening offers raucous Goat Songs sung by the “Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Punk-Super-Party-Band,” the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, celebrating the passing of the old year and its rebirth as the new. A goat dances, dies and is brought back to life because people believed, "where the goat will dance, that's where wheat will grow."

The singers and musicians of the Koliadnyky are from Kryvorivnia, a Ukrainian village in the Hutsul region of the Carpathian Mountains. Ivan Zelenchuk is the "bereza," or lead singer. He comes from an old Kryvorivnia family and is the son of the man whose handwritten notebook of winter songs has helped to preserve this tradition despite persecution under Soviet rule. Now in his sixties, Ivan considers his involvement in the Koliada his personal mission. Mykola Zelenchuk, the son of Ivan, proudly carries on the traditions of his forefathers, both as a winter song singer and the best trembita (mountain long horn) player in the village. He also makes the traditional costumes for the winter song singers. He has taken part in previous Yara productions and was featured in its “Still the River Flows,”Winter Sun” and “Midwinter Night” at La MaMa in New York. Mykola Ilyuk is a master fiddler and plays on most of the traditional instruments of the Carpathians, including the trembita. He is director of the renowned Hutsul instrumental ensemble and has his own museum of musical instruments from the area. He was in Yara's “Winter Sun”, “Midwinter Night” and related Koliada events. Vasyl Tymchuk plays the tsymbaly (hammer dulcimer) and teaches children to play Hutsul instruments. He has worked with Yara since 2010. Ostap Kostyuk plays the duda (bagpipes) and various flutes and represents the newest generation of artists who have become experts in this ancient tradition. He was featured in Yara's “Winter Sun” and “Midwinter Night”. The evening will also include a brilliant troista (trio of traditional instruments) from the Carpathian Mountains by Mykola Ilyuk on fiddle, Vasyl Tymchuk on tsymbaly and Ostap Kostyuk on flute.

“Midwinter Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals” is created and directed by Virlana Tkacz. The set and lights are designed by Watoku Ueno, a recipient of the NEA/TCG Design Fellowship. Costumes are by Keiko Obremski. Projections are by Mikhail Shraga and Volodymyr Klyuzko, who were nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for their work with Yara. Featured Yara artists in the production include: bandurist Julian Kytasty, vocalists Marika, Alina and Teryn Kuzma and actress Romana Soutus. The Goat Songs are performed by the explosive Lemon Bucket Orkestra with Mark Marczyk, Alexandra Baczynskyj, Tamar Ilana and Stephanie Woloshyn, who also perform with Yara in the Nativity section. Performances of Midwinter Night: Sacred” and Profane Rituals are December 27-29 at the Harbourfront Center with a special premiere on Friday at 8 PM. There are also performances on Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM at Enwave Theatre at the Harbourfront Center, 235 Queen Quay West, Toronto. Tickets for the gala opening on December 27 are $150, as a special campaign “Show Your Heart: Your gala ticket supports 10 student discounts.” Tickets for Saturday & Sunday are $35, students $25, children $15. (416) 973-4000.

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is a self-described "Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Punk-Super-Party-Band" formed in 2010 in Toronto. The 14 piece band, led by Mark Marczyk, plays a wide array of Eastern European folk tunes and has recently made the transition from local offbeat busking attraction to an international folk sensation. They will perform traditional Goat Songs

Since its founding in 1990, Yara Arts Group has created 28 original theatre pieces based on materials from the East. New York critics have called Yara’s theatre pieces: “good theatre that builds an alternate world that allows us to re-learn and reflect upon the great questions at the core of our being human.” Yara began its collaboration with traditional artists from the Carpathians in 2003, and has developed performances in Kyiv, Philadelphia, Edmonton and New York, as well as theatre pieces “Koliada: Twelve Dishes”, “Still the River Flows”,Winter Sun” and “Midwinter Night” at the world renowned La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. Photographs and video of the koliada ritual in the village of Kryvorivnia have been exhibited at the RA Gallery in Kiev, La Galleria, Ukrainian Institute in New York, Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs and a major art installation at the Ukrainian Museum in New York.

Related Koliada Events Include:
On Saturday, December 7 at 7 PM Virlana Tkacz will speak on Yara and the Hutsul Koliada at St. Vladimir Institute, 620 Spadina Ave, Toronto (416) 912-3766 (donation). On Saturday, December 14 at 8 PM Koliada and Music from the Carpathians will be performed at Ukrainian National Federation 145 Evans Ave. in Toronto. The Koliadnyky will be joined by bandurist Julian Kytasty and vocalists from the Kosa Kolektiv. Tickets: are $25/ $20 seniors, students & children.  On Sunday December 15 the Hutsuls will at attend the 10:00 mass at St. Elias Church Brampton and perform an outdoor ritual. You can meet the artists during tea afterwards -- by donation.

On Tuesday December 17, 6 to 9 PM there will be the opening of “Carpathian Photo Patterns,” an exhibit of photographic art inspired by the Hutsul Koliada by Volodymyr Klyuzko and Alexander Khantaev at the Bezpala-Brown Gallery 17 Church Street (@Front) in Toronto (416) 907-6875 The opening will feature a special concert by the Koliadnyky and a holiday cocktail - $15.

On Friday, December 20 at 8 PM Koliada & Music from the Carpathianswill be performed at Artword Artbar 15 Colbourne St, Hamilton, $15 advance $18 show (905) 543-8512. Tickets $15 advance/$18 at door. On Sunday December 22 the Hutsuls will attend the 11:00 mass St Mary’s Church Mississauga and perform an outdoor ritual. You can meet the artists during tea afterwards -- by donation.

The Koliada events in Toronto are made possible by funds from the Shevchenko Foundation and the Ukrainian Credit Union. Yara Arts Group’s participation is made possible by the Coca-Cola Company and the friends of Yara Arts Group.

more information: Midwinter Night

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