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Festival of New Arts and Tradition

Yara Arts Group and the Ukrainian Institute of America present:

• the traditional koliada, or winter song ritual performed by Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia
and the Tafiychuk family of muscians from the Carpathian Mountains,
• contemporary interpretation of the ancient koliada (winter songs) by
musicians, singers and writers
• an exhibit of art, installations and video that imagines a future for the ancient tradition,
• a modern culinary interpretation of the ritual foods by Olesia Lew.

December 19-21, 2008
Ukrainian Institute of America
2 East 79th Street (at Fifth Avenue), New York City

Koliada songs are part of a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas, but is much older in origin and symbolism. It is considered to be the most important event of the year, since people believe that spring and the harvest will not come to the village unless these songs are sung in every household. Traditionally, the ritual starts outdoors, and it will do so on 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, when the koliadnyky (or singers) blow their mountain horns and wait to be invited inside by the master of the house. A separate winter song (or koliada ) is sung to the household, both living and deceased.

Singing with Ivan Zelenchuk, the leader of the koliadnyky from the mystical Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, will be his brother Peter and his son Mykola, who plays the trembita, the traditional twelve-foot long mountain horn. They will be accompanied by Mykhailo Tafiychuk the best musician, musical instrument-maker and blacksmith in the Carpathians. He has legendary “golden hands” and plays all the instruments he makes, as do all his children. He will be joined by his son Dmytro, a virtuoso traditional fiddler, as well as a master player of the volynka, bag pipes made of goat skin. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: “what is said, will be.” More on the Hutsul Koliada Ritual

Yara has invited contemporary artists to create works of visual art, videos, and installations imagining the future for the ancient Hutsul winter rituals and songs. The works will be exhibited throughout the three floors of the Institute, the former Fletcher Mansion. For the opening on Friday December 19 at 8 PM, the Koliadnyky will visit each of the rooms and sing excerpts of the winter song that inspired the art. The art exhibit is curated by Virlana Tkacz and Svitlana Matviyenko. Participating artists include: Anya Farion, Annette Friedman, Roman Hrab, Petro Hrycyk, Peter Ihnat, Alexander Khantaev, Svitlana Matviyenko, Margaret Morton, Andrea Odezynska, Joel Schlemowitz, and Marybeth Ward. The the works will be on view through Sunday, Dec. 21st.

On Saturday December 20th at 8 PM there will be a gala concert featuring the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia, the Tafiychuk family musicians and New York musicians Julian Kytasty and Yara artists. Also, contemporary writers will read new work inspired by the traditional koliadas. A reception of modern culinary interpretations of ritual foods by Olesia Lew will follow.

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. Winter Sun is the fourteenth major event that Yara has presented at the Ukrainian Institute. It is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, 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. The Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) was founded in 1948 and is a center for Ukrainian art, culture, music, and literature. The UIA strives to promote a greater awareness of Ukraine through exhibits, concerts, conferences, symposia and other educational, scholarship and professional activities.

Tickets are $30. For information, call Yara (212) 475-6474 or The Ukrainian Institute (212) 288-8660.


Koliada and Hutsul Music at Ukrainian Museum in New York, Dec 7, 2008
Seminar & Workshop in Hutsul music and winter songs in New York Dec 20, 2008
Still the River Flows a theatrical celebration featuring Nativity puppets,
Carpathian musicians and winter song singers from around the world at La MaMa Experimental Theatre New York, Dec 26-28, 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 the 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 the 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

above: Roman Hrab's sculpture inspired by the winter song "Before the World Began," Halyna Zakhariasevych-Lypa's guache inspired by winter song "The Peacock Struts," and photograph by Watoku Ueno of the winter song singers Ivan Zelenchuk and Dmytro Tafiychuk.
Translation of a Koliada Song.
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