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Koliada - CD

KOLIADA: Winter Songs and Music from the Carpathians
CD from Yara Arts Group, 2012.

What critics say:

   The CD "Koliada: Winter Songs and Music from the Carpathians" wonderfully presents traditions from deep in the magnificent Carpathian Mountains. It features Mykola Ilyuk, Olena Kostyuk, Ostap Kostyuk, Vasyl Tymchuk and Ivan Zelenchuk.
   The Koliada that they present is a winter ritual in the Carpathian Mountains. Now 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 a prosperous autumnal harvest will not come to the village unless these 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, so will be."
    The album re-enacts this traditional visit by the koliadnyky (carolers) to each house in their village, in which they sing songs that will ensure the health and wealth of the coming year. The CD opens with "Trembita,"with the trembity, or Carpathian mountain horns, heralding the koliadnyky.
   Next, they perform the "Winter Ritual Dance," during which they sing "My Slavni Gazdy," this being a dance (plies) outside the house that announces them. They then inquire "Is the Master Home?" (Tsy Doma,Doma, Pan Hospodar?), singing the praises of the wealth of the household.
   They continue with "Greeting the Guests," a lively dance melody, followed by "Bright Star" (V Nedilu Rano) which praises the lady of the household, comparing her to the bright star and the rising sun. They next perform "Tylynka," an enticing dance tune on the tylynka, tsymbaly, and violin, accompanied by the drum and cymbal. The next song is the spivanka "Still the RiverFlows" (Teche Richka), a rhyming song about the fame of the Hutsuls.
    "Jaw Harps" (A Ya Drymbu Sobi Kuplyu) features the ensemble playing their jaw sharps ("drymba") and singing of a woman who insists on buying a drymba despite the possibility of having to go shoeless. An incredibly lively "Arkan" follows. The "Shaker" (Trypotinnia) is another lively song in which the koliadnyky tell of the fine and rich manner in which the master of the house has hosted them. "Polka," delicately played on the tsymbaly, and a "Hutsulka" that puts the tylynka, tsymbaly, violin, drum and cymbal through their paces, add to the festivities.
   The koliadnyky complete their Koliada with "Ritual Round Dance for Bees"(Kruhliak), in which they wish the bees to have robust hives and pollinate many flowers. The album ends with "Taking Leave," a parting song in which the koliadnyky wish much goodness to the household.
    The koliada musicians and Virlana Tkacz and the Yara Arts Group produced the "Koliada" CD, which may be purchased during the December appearances of the Koliadnyky from Kryvorivnia in Toronto, or by making a check out to Yara Arts Group for $15, plus $5 shipping, and sending it to Yara Arts Group, 306 E. 11th St. No. 3B, New York, NY 10003.
Ihor Slabicky, Ukrainian Weekly, December 15, 2013

Koliada is a winter  ritual that now coincides with Christmas, but long pre-dates it in some parts of Eastern Europe. High in the Carpathian Mountains, in the Hutsul villages where the oldest songs are preserved, Koliada is considered to be the most important event of the year. Spring and the harvest will not come unless the songs are sung in every household. This recording also features brilliant instrumental music from the Carpathian Mountains.

1 Trembita
2 Winter Ritual Dance
3 “Is the Master Home?”
4 Greeting the Guests
5 “Bright Star,” koliada to the lady of the house
6 Tylynka
7 “Still the River Flows”
8 Jaw Harps
9 “Arkan,” men’s dance
10 “Shaker,” dance tune
11 “Polka,” tsymbaly
12 “Hutsulka,” dance tune
13 Ritual Round Dance for Bees
14 “Taking Leave”

Instruments: The trembita (mountain horn) is made of a hollowed pine tree that has been struck by lightning and wrapped in birch bark. Fiddles for the Koliada are played in a special tuning. The musicians also play the duda (bagpipes made from a goat), tsymbaly (hammer dulcimer), drymby (jaw harps) and a variety of hand-made Carpathian flutes, including the tylynka.

Mykola Ilyuk - master fiddler
Olena Kostyuk - drum
Ostap Kostyuk - duda and flutes
Vasyl Tymchuk - tsymbaly
Ivan Zelenchuk - vocals

Produced by Koliada musicians and Yara Arts Group, with financial assistance from the Global Commitment Foundation. © Koliada musicians and Yara Arts Group, 2012. Recorded by Bohdan Stefura at Melos Studio, Lviv Graphic design by K.kava (Klyuzko KA & VA)

Available on compact disk -- CD

To purchase CD: Make check out to: Yara Arts Group for $15, plus $5 shipping
Send to: Yara Arts Group, 306 E 11th St. #3B, New York, NY 10003 USA

for more information on CD or the Koliada write to us at

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