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  Kayla Ankeny as the Moon

Kayla Ankeny as the Moon


World music theatre piece based on
winter songs from the Carpathian Mountains
an 18th century nativity show
and solstice songs from around the world

created by Yara Arts Group
directed by Virlana Tkacz,  designed by Watoku Ueno
with river installation by Watoku Ueno, set by Kenji Watanabe,
costumes coordinated by Maria Vlasova, lights by Watoku Ueno
music directed by Julian Kytasty, traditional music: Mykhaylo Tafiychuk
script assembled by Virlana Tkacz, Alexandra Tkacz & Svitlana Matviyenko
English translations by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps
movement by Shigeko Suga, stage manager Livia Hill
December 26 - 28, 2008
La MaMa Experimental Theatre
66 East 4th Street, New York City

Still the River Flows: Winter Rituals from the Carpathian Mountains is a multi-layered event featuring traditional winter song singers from the Carpathian Mountains. Sections of a nativity puppet play from the 18th century with traditional music arranged by Julian Kytasty will be performed, as well as solstice songs from other countries sung by Svitanya, an Eastern European Women's Vocal Ensemble. The event will take place four times the weekend of December 26-28, 2008 at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. Still the River Flows is directed by Virlana Tkacz and designed by Watoku Ueno.

Yara Arts Group of New York has invited traditional winter song singers from the village of Kryvorivnia in the Carpathians, who will be joined by the Tafiychuk family of musicians to sing the "Koliada." The Koliada songs are part of a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas, but is much older in its origin, traditions and symbolism. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: what is said will be so.
More on the Hutsul Koliada Ritual

The production begins with some of the oldest winter songs and irtuals sung by Lilia Pavlovsky, Svitanya and the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia. The Koliadnyky feature Ivan Zelenchuk, as the lead singer of the winter singers from the mystical Carpathian Mountains. Singing with him are his brother Peter and son Mykola, who plays the trembita, the traditional twelve-foot long mountain horn. They will be accompanied by Mykhailo Tafiychuk, a virtuoso traditional fiddler from a neighboring village, as well as a master player of the volynka, bag pipes made of goat skin and his son Dmytro.

The script includes the ancient Hutsul koliadas about the creation of the world, a folk puppet play from the 18th century and traditional songs. The river installation, set and lights are designed by Watoku Ueno, a Henry Hewes Award nominee for production design this year. Kenji Watanabe assists on set and Masha Vlasova on costumes. The music for the traditional nativity puppet play was arranged by Julian Kytasty who plays the bandura, a traditional lute like instrument. The production features Lilia Pavlovsky as the Sun, Antonina Ermolenko as the Angel, Kat Yew as Time, Taras Pavlovsky as the King, Nina Ariadna as Death. Nadia Tarnawsky, Vance Brandon, Kayla Ankeny, Roxolana and Zoya Shepko are the Baroque chorus. The production also features Ika Juslin, Zoya and Kyrylo Pavlovsky, Shigeko Suga and Andreas Carreno. The show continues with winter songs and dances from around the world. Featured artists are Svitanya, the Eastern European Women's Vocal Ensemble, as well as the Pavlovsky and Shepko families and the Syzokryli Dancers.
More reviews and more pictures from Still the River Flows

Director Virlana Tkacz, set designer Watoku Ueno, filmmaker Andrea Odezynska, photographer Alexander Khantaev, and poet-translator Wanda Phipps have created the collaborative installation presenting elements of the Koliada. For the past five years, Yara artists have been documenting this winter ritual as it exists in the village of Kryvorivnia in the Carpathian Mountains of southwestern Ukraine, learning about the traditional rituals and listening to stories told by villagers.The rituals included a Christmas Eve dinner of twelve dishes. Yara’s theater piece at La MaMa, Koliada: Twelve Dishes, was based on this ritual and a scene will be performed at the event.

Yara Arts Group is a resident company at the internationally acclaimed La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. The group has created nineteen original theatre pieces that celebrate the cultures of the East since 1990. Since 2003, Yara has worked documenting the Koliada in the Carpathians. In addition, Yara presents art, stages music and poetry events, and conducts master classes and workshops.

Still the River Flows is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Self-Reliance (NY) Federal credit Union, the Global Commitment Foundation and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Svitanya’s performances are supported in part by Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour.


Koliada and Hutsul Music at Ukrainian Museum in New York, Dec 7, 2008
Winter Sun: New Art and Tradition at Ukrainian Institute of America in New York December 19-21, 2008
Friday 8PM Exhibit opening: works of contemporary artists
Saturday 8PM Gala concert, readings by poets and new culinary interpretations of ritual food
Seminar & Workshop in Hutsul music and winter songs in New York Dec 20, 2008

Koliada: Photographs by Alexander Khantaev at Spring Street Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY Dec 17, 2006 to Jan 5, 2007
Workshop in Winter Song Singing with Koliadnyky, Alexis Kochan and Julian Kytasty in New York Dec 16, 2006
Koliada on Fifth Avenue Art and Music Festival at Ukrainian Institute of America in New York December 15, 2006
Still the River Flows installation and concert Ukrainian League of Philadelphia, December 8-10, 2006
Koliadnyky in Concert at Ukrainian Museum in New York, Dec 3, 2006
Still the River Flows installation at the Ukrainian Museum, reviews and photographs December 11, 2005 - February 6, 2006
Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia in Concert at La MaMa Galleria March 16, 2005
Koliada: Winter Rituals photo exhibit and video installation at La MaMa Galleria January 15-23, 2005
Koliada: Twelve Dishes information on theatre piece, reviews and photographs at La MaMa ETC March 4-20, 2005
Koliada theatre workshop at Les Kurbas National Theatre Center, Kyiv, Ukraine December 4-5, 2004

Translation of a Koliada Song.

Photographs on this page by Watoku Ueno and Alexander Khantaev. Copyright (c)1995-2008 Yara Arts Group; all rights reserved.

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