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Following tradition, an old woman invites the storm, animals and the dead to dinner

all photos by Alexnader Khantaev

An ethnographer who "knows it all"

Three tough guys enter

Mykola Shkaraban as the guy who wants to play music

Oleh Drach tells of cursed gold that disappears

Mykola and Oleh decide to walk out

Dmytro Tafiychuk plays an ancient winter song

The cast of Koliada in Kyiv


Carpathian ancient winter songs and rituals take on three tough guys

an original theatre piece created by the artists

with: Andrew Colteaux, Oleh Drach,
Victoria Rybchynska, Mykola Shkaraban,
Halyna Stefanova, Lesia Turyanska,
and featuring koliadnyky from Kryvorivnia
Ivan Zelenchuk and Dmytro Tafiychuk

directed by Virlana Tkacz
texts by Serhiy Zhadan and Odosia Plytka-Sorokhan
Sofia Riabchuk: administrator
Nadia Sokolenko: stage manager
Maria Korotchenko: production assistant
Evhen Kopyov: lights
Volodymyr Danylevskyi: sound
Alla Pasikova: video editing
Nina Pavlenko: wreath
Alexander Khantaev: video and photo documentation

December 4 & 5, 2004 Sat & Sun 7PM + Sun 3PM
The Les Kurbas National Theatre Center, Volodymyrska 23 Kyiv, Ukraine

This show is dedicated to all the people making history in Kyiv's Independence Square.

The workshop production of Koliada was made possible Yara’s numerous individual donors in New York, ART/NY, US Embassy in Kyiv and Self-Reliance (NY) FCU.

On Koliada Winter Songs
For the past two winters Yara’s director Virlana Tkacz traveled to the Carpathian Mountains to record the koliada in the village of Kryvorivnia, to learn about the structure of the traditional ritual and listen to stories the villagers told. In January 2003, Virlana was accompanied by photographer Alexander Khantaev. The photographs he then took were on exhibit December 2-8, 2004 at Gallery RA, vul B. Khmelnytskoho 32B in Kyiv. The photographs were then donated to the Cultural Center of Kryvorivnia, where they will be on permanent display. The koliada songs are part of a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas, but is much older in its origin, traditions and symbolism. It is considered to be the most important event of the year in the area, since people believe that the spring and harvest will not come to the village unless these songs are sung in every household. A separate long song is sung to every member of the household, both living and recently deceased. Each song is chosen specifically for that person by the leader of the singers. Songs to the master of the house will be about prosperity and hard work, while those to the l ady of the house, about skill and diligence. Songs to a young man will be about heroic deeds, courage, strength and good looks, while those to a young woman will be about a great beauty capable of magical feats. The words are of ancient origin and exhibit traces of the worship of sun, ancestors and nature. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: what is said will be so. Their striking poetic images intend to secure the described qualities. On the eve of the koliada, there is a ritual dinner of twelve dishes. Before the family sits down to this dinner the master feeds a little of each dish to the household animals. Then he circles the house three times with the food and invites sorcerers, thunder, storms, wolves, bears and foxes to dinner. After repeating his invitation three times he says: “If you don’t want to come and taste all our delicious dishes, if you won’t come when we invite you, then don’t come when we don’t call you!” He then invites to dinner the spirits of the dead and those lost on the road or at sea. The village of Kryvorivnia has one of the most active groups of winter song singers that have preserved some of the oldest examples of the oral tradition in Ukraine. These songs are now being translated by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps. For more pictures and information on Yara's Koliada: Winter Songs For more pictures and information on Yara's Koliada: Winter Songs

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