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Scythian Stones

world music theatre piece created by Yara Arts Group
featuring Nina Matvienko and artists from Kyrgyzstan

March 26 2010 at 19:00
Ivan Honchar Museum
Ivana Mazepy 29, Kyiv
Free admission. Runs one hour.

Famed Ukrainian singer Nina Matvienko, her daughter Tonia and artists from Kyrgyzstan will appear in a piece created by Virlana Tkacz. Yara Arts Group will summon ancient epics and rituals from Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan for "Scythian Stones," an original, experimental World Music Theatre piece with choreography. A workshop production will presented by the Ivan Honchar Museum on Friday March 26 in Kyiv.

"Scythian Stones" constructs parallel journeys for two young women, from village life and nomadic tradition into the city. Their separate journeys become epic descents into the Great Below—the modern global desert where songs, skills and languages vanish, leaving behind only mute markers like the Scythian Stones found today throughout the grasslands of Ukraine and Central Asia. The production, by Virlana Tkacz feature Ukrainian and Kyrgyz traditional music, as well as modern music, design and movement. Interweaving performances in Ukrainian, Kyrgyz and English, "Scythian Stones" remains completely accessible to all audiences.

“Scythian Stones” is Yara's first production to combine artists from Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The piece will feature singers Nina Matvienko (who appeared in Yara's "Waterfall/Reflections" in 1995), her daughter Tonia Matvienko, Kenzhegul Satybaldieva (who played the title role in Yara's "Janyl" in 2007) and Ainura Kachkynbek kyzy (who created the part of Bektoro, the Spirit Girl in Yara’s “Er Toshtuk” last year). Nurbek Serkebaev (from Kyrgyzstan) will perform on traditional Kyrgyzt instruments, including the “kyl-kiyak”(a small, bowed, unfretted fiddle with two strings and a plaintive tone), the “chopo cho'or” (a pottery ocarina), the “temir o komuz” (a metal jaw's harp) and the “jygach ooz komuz” (a wooden jaw's harp with one string, unique to Kyrgyz music, which sounds like throat singing). Jurij Fedynskyj performs on such traditional Ukrainian instruments as bandura and kobza. The denizens in the Great Below are portrayed by Liza Shyvylova and Olia Danylchenko. Movement is by Katja Kolcio, who teaches dance at Wesleyan University and previously worked with Yara Arts Group on its production of "Howling." "Scythian Stones" incorporates projections of photographs by Victor Marushchenko.

Founded in 1990, Yara Arts Group, a resident company of La MaMa, creates original pieces that explore timely issues rooted in the East through the diverse cultural perspectives of the group's members. Yara artists bring together poetry, song, historical materials and scientific texts, primarily from the East, to form what one critic described as "extended meditation on an idea." The company has created ten pieces based on materials from Ukraine and Eastern Europe, including: "A Light from the East,” "Blind Sight," "Yara's Forest Song," "Swan" and "Waterfall/Reflections." The last of these was developed with folk singer Nina Matvienko, and The New York Times (D.J.R. Bruckner) called it "a theatrical enchantment given cohesion by choreographed movement and by music on a prodigal scale." Yara has also created six theater pieces with Buryat artists from Siberia, two with artists from Kyrgyzstan and two based on Japanese material. This piece has been developed in Kyiv. In April the company will travel to New York and rehearse with Yara artists. “Scythian Stones” will premiere April 17 at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York.

For information on premiere in New York Scythian Stones April 17- May 2, 2010
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