Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Alberta Ukes to dance at the Smithsonian

Brian Cherwick of Kubasonics fame just informed me that he is working on a project for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

The Smithsonian Institute's annual Folklife Festival is featuring Alberta as one of their focus topics. Brian is putting together a program of old-time Ukrainian music and dancing. He and his team are re-creating a Ukrainian dance party with musicians playing old style music and dancers who will teach the audience social dances that were popular among Ukrainians in Alberta.

The festival will take place June 30-July 11, 2006. For general information about the Festival check their website .

For more specific info about the Ukrainian component, stay tuned!

Busy ...

Posting will be a bit spotty over the next few weeks as I keep my nose to the grindstone that pays... bit of a busy few weeks ahead.

Still, lots of exciting stuff going on and I'll post when I can, and/or when a goodie plops into my emailbox!

What's so wonderful about RSS feeds is you don't have to check up on me, your aggregator will tell you when I've posted. So if you haven't got one yet, don't waste anymore time! It's the way of the future (and a great way to avoid spam).

Check out Almond Rocks, which is super-simple. Or if you want to get more sophisticated, there are lots out there to choose from. And they're free.

Vancouver audio archives updated for 052806

Archives for Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia May 28 broadcasts are now uploaded!

On NH (in English), a great recipe and as usual interesting info, this time about sorrel, a herb that grows in luxuriant abundance in the wild in Ukraine. You'll also learn some fascinating facts about the region of Bukovyna. And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

On 4W (Chetverta Khvylia, meaning"4th wave") there's a half-hour of music and news from Ukraine (exclusively in Ukrainian).

Check out both programs for lively, foot-stomping stuff (mostly on NH) as well as contemporary stuff (4W).

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

a tale of two anthems

An interesting article called Anthem Passions in the Ukrainian Observer about the Ukrainian and Russian national anthems.

'Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished' was written as a poem in 1862 by Pavlo Chubynsky, a nineteen-year-old student... One year later, Mykhailo Verbytsky composed a tune to accompany this daring poem. Back then, a repressive campaign against Ukrainian culture was in full swing, but a miracle happened and Ukraine's intelligentsia and peasantry recognized this song as an unofficial national anthem.

Pavlo Chubynsky was victimized, and persecuted for the rest of his life. Mykhailo Verbytsky escaped this destiny, for he was living away from Russia. Vladimir Putin created the Russian state anthem, 'Russia is Our Great Country,' in 2001 by issuing a presidential decree to make the 1943 Soviet anthem new Russia's musical symbol, but he ordered that the lyrics be changed. The text was written by the famous Soviet poet Sergey Mikhalkov...The music was composed by Major General and Head of the Soviet Army Ensemble Aleksandr Aleksandrov...'


The article goes on to detail the misery Chubynsky suffered at the hands of the Russians, his talents and contributions to society, and his untimely death.

But his poem captured a nation and formed its identity:

It was the October of 1915. At the WWI Russian-Austrian front spontaneous fraternization was getting more common. Stepan Murinets, a Ukrainian officer of the Austrian army, saw some soldiers of his company hug their Russian counterparts. Suddenly, the Ukrainian anthem was performed in the crowd. The officer remembered that his country's great division made Ukrainians always sing anthems of other countries - Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, or Russia. This was the first time he heard the Ukrainian anthem sound over the trenches. The Ukrainians wearing Russian greatcoats were singing it in unison, although the song was banned in Russia. On August 30, 1919, Stepan Murinets, a colonel of the Ukrainian army, was leading his regiment of Sich marksmen to Kyiv. Commander-in-Chief Symon Petlyura inspected the parade that day. The orchestra performed the anthem loudly and fearlessly in Kyiv's Sophia Square. A massive Bolshevik assault forced the ataman of the Ukrainian People's Republic and his troops to emigrate. Stepan was one of them and later wrote memoirs...

The writer of the article, unfortunately, doesn't seem to value the tenacity and daring of the Ukrainian anthem, despite what he writes. Odd. Or, perhaps just an illustration of the demoralizing effect of centuries foreign occupation.

musical alternatives

This development should strike fear in the hearts (I use the term loosely) of recording industry execs.

If for no other reason that this is a concept beyond their comprehension. Kind of like the way TV couldn't ride the wave the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding created. As one review of the TV spinoff put it, it looked like it had been "hijacked by bad sitcom writers."

The moguls just couldn't understand the appeal of the industry's highest-grossing romantic comedy. Of course, it's never been about figuring out what appeals to the public. To the industry, it's been about manufacturing and then "selling" (dictating?) it.

That may change ...

Canadian Podcasting Survey

Check this out ... Canada's first comprehensive podcasting survey!

... The study is aimed at discovering what is happening with podcasting in Canada; audience sizes and characteristics, popular podcasts and topics, audience demographics, and more. ...
To participate in the survey ... visit the Canadian Podcast Listeners' Survey
website ... [on or before] May 26, 2006.

...Findings will be part of a whitepaper on Canadian podcasting habits and audience size, to be released in June 2006. ...

It only takes a few minutes ... do take the survey!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Vancouver audio archives updated for 052106

The latest editions of Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia are now uploaded.

On Nash Holos, find out how healthy cabbage is and get a short-cut holubtsi recipe, learn about ancient Trypillian civilization, and enjoy plenty of Great Ukrainian Music... with a focus on Edmonton!

Join host Pavlo Manugevych on Chetverta Khvilya (4th Wave) for Ukrainian music and news from Ukraine, in Ukrainian. Catch it live on CJSF 90.1 FM Sundays at 1:30 pm or on the audio archives!

self-regulation works better in theory than reality

According to this article, the broadcasting industry isn't keen on the increase in the FCC's amounts for indecency fines.

... [the National Association of Broadcasters] believes responsible self-regulation is preferable to government regulation.

Of course ... As would any fox in any hen house. So when are they planning to start this "self-regulation"? Or do they consider (which I think is the case) that they are already doing it? If so, they have pretty low standards of decency.

If there is regulation, it should be applied equally to include cable, satellite TV, and satellite radio.

Agreed. Now will we see the NAB take some leadership in "industry self-regulation" and get cable, satellite TV and satellite radio to work with them to clean up the airwaves?

Sure. Who'll be the first to fire their foul-mouthed shock-jock cash cow?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cleaner airwaves in the future?

Will this encourage more decency on the airwaves?

We can only hope. They say you can't legislate decency, but someone has to try. Obviously, this industry is hopeless at policing itself.

Self-restraint and respect for others? Not considered "cool" on mainstream radio.

It's a different story on Ukrainian radio programs like Nash Holos and others ... to which you'll often find mention and links right here on this blog!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

shameless self-promotion

Ok, here's more shameless self-promotion.

My first published work of fiction will be out soon. It's a short story about a young Vancouver fella who goes to Ukraine to experience the Orange Revolution. It will appear in an anthology called The Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Ukrainian Stories, a collection of short fiction, memories and poems spanning 100 years. The book takes its inspiration from Taras Shevchenko and his book "Kobzar" and the contributing authors hope to continue Shevchenko's work.

The editor of the anthology is award-winning author Marsha Skrypuch. She's coming out to Vancouver to launch it on June 2-3 (details here) along with the three BC authors who contributed stories... Danny Evanishen, Steve Petelycky and moi.

Incidentally, the book will also be released in the United States in the near future. I'll keep you posted! You can also check Marsha's blog for updates.

Hope to see you at the launch!

Vancouver audio archives updated for 051406

Най тебе качка копне!

The Vancouver Ukrainian radio archives have been updated and are ready to download. On Nash Holos there's a recipe for a Ukrainian-style potato salad, info about Uzhorod and the Transcarpathian region, an interview (courtesy Ukrainian Time) with the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress about the 2006 census (make sure to fill it out today if you haven't yet... it's your last chance to be counted!) and the usual good stuff! The musical theme (of course) is mothers and motherhood and the featured CDs of the week are two by Cheremshyna of Montreal.

Enjoy the dulcet tones of Pavlo Manugevych on Chetverta Khvylia as he brings news (in Ukrainian) along with contemporary popular and traditional music from Ukraine.

Kvitka Dancers' year-end concert

The Kvitka Ukrainian Dancers of Surrey made Mother's Day special for a lot of folks this year with their year-end concert at North Delta Secondary School.

This group had 110 (count 'em!) students this year from ages 3 to 20+. The little tykes were just too adorable! The costumes were gorgeous (most direct from Ukraine) , the music was great (I would notice!) and the choreography was super. Two hopaks ... fantastic! Lots of regions represented. The seniors got their new Volyn costumes this year and those numbers were out of this world (the energy was unbelievable!) Lots of brilliant colour and energy throughout the show.

About the only disappointment my guests voiced was that there wasn't more leaping et al by the boys, but that's a chronic complaint by anyone who isn't sufficiently educated on the challenges of the fancy footwork in Ukrainian dance, some of which was truly amazing for a bunch of kids! Kvitka's PR guy, Nester Trafanenko, tells me they had a lot of new members this year across the board age-wise. Given that this is a volunteer effort on everyone's part, the concert really was spectacular. Definitely a point of pride for Vancouver!

Speaking of boys, it was a pleasure to see so many on the stage at one time. They did an awesome Zaporozhian skit, which most dance groups would give their eyeteeth to have enough boys to do! Needless to say it was a huge hit. (Last year the senior guys did one bare-chested, which I was looking forward to seeing again, but maybe someone complained that it was too "beefcake" or something. If so, it sure wasn't me!)

The girls, of course, were dazzlingly beautiful and utterly charming. I was out of breath just watching some of the more intricate choreography. I could just see myself falling flat on my face if I tried some of those steps! Nester said that 60% of the choreography is "home-grown" ... which speaks to the impressive artistic talent in our midst.

The group has wrapped up for the season, with the exception of one performance at the Dance for Life cancer fundraiser at St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Centre in Vancouver on June 10. (Tickets may still be available, check here for details. It's bound to be a great evening!)

Their next season starts in September and anyone age 3 to 20-ish interested in Ukrainian dance is welcome to join. Details on their website. Have a look around, it's a gorgeous site! For registration details or to book Kvitka, give Nester a call at 604-572-9157 or email him.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Yet another reason to listen to Ukrainian radio

What has mainstream radio come to when its "stars" get paid to make on-air threats to harm women and children?

None of that nonsense here.

Just an alternative to the "alternative" ... down-to-earth, wholesome fun and entertainment for the whole family. Food and travel tips, community events, words of wisdom (narodnia mudrist, not mine!) and of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Ukrainian Music magazine disappoints

I can sympathize with the writer of this Kyiv Post article:

When I heard that a new Ukrainian music magazine "Mixer" was coming out, I was pretty excited - finally Ukraine would have a local publication that would cover the music scene professionally by knowledgeable writers. ... However, when I finally got my hands on a copy of the first issue of the Mixer, which came out in April, I found that all my hopes were quite in vain.

The glossy magazine, with Madonna on the cover, contained just a fraction of information that might possibly be of interest to me. Most of the magazine's contents were ... obviously "borrowed" from more established and knowledgeable magazines. Moreover after coming across several factual mistakes, I had little faith left in the "Mixer"...

Altogether, the "Mixer" looks like it was put together by enthusiastic students who only learned about music by watching videos on the M1 music channel. ...

From the North American viewpoint (mine, anyway) this reflects the Ukrainian music industry in general. A big fat commercial sell-out. Sure, there's lots of music coming out of Ukraine. And except for the language, it sounds pretty much like contemporary music from any other country.

Meanwhile, for those of us looking for music with authentic Ukrainian heart and soul, the pickings are pretty slim.

May 16th, 2006 = Census Day in Canada

A message from Slavko:

For those of you who reside in Canada and are of Ukrainian heritage, please remember to fill out your Census forms and indicate that you are of Ukrainian Heritage.

The Ukrainian Canadian community benefits from increased visibility and one of the tools of visibility is the Census. Even if you are 5th generation Canadian and only your Baba or Dido are Ukrainian, mark it down.

With increased numbers, the community has more clout and thus affect many things from Ukrainian Language programs in schools to services provided to access to multi-cultural programs to recognition in Heritage Canada.

In recent years people of Ukrainian heritage have become an invisible minority. Lets change that and stand up and be counted.


Note: An interview with the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress on this topic will be broadcast on Montreal's May 13 Ukrainian Time radio program. It will be re-broadcast on Vancouver's Nash Holos on May 14.

Latter day robber barons?

Could these be the Rockefellers, Cargegies and JP Morgans of the 21st century?

A Russian company labelled by the music industry as as an "unlawful" operation was nonetheless second only to iTunes as the favoured destination of UK digital music buyers during April 2006 ...

Sonia chosen as finalist at Kerrville Festival

Sounds like great fun! If you're in the area, do check it out. If you get a chance to say hi to Sonia there, please give her my regards!

****For Immediate Release****

Sonia Lee Chosen as One of Kerrville Songwriter’s Festival’s “New Folk Finalists”

KERRVILLE, TX For 18 years, a small town in the hills of Texas has hosted the world renowned Kerrville Folk Festival, hailed as THE festival for up and coming songwriters. According to their website, tremendous writers and performers such as Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Michelle Shocked, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams, and Nancy Griffith played Kerrville early in their careers. Peter Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, Janis Ian, and singer/songwriter/actor Ronny Cox still grace the Kerrville Stages.

It is this history, as well as the consistently high standard for performers, that gives the well earned prestige of being chosen as one of 32 finalists out of the more than 800 applicants. Nashville artist Sonia Lee, who will be performing last on Sunday, May 28, 2006, is honored to be a part of it.

Sonia Lee is not new to folk music as she is from a Ukrainian-American family where folk music was an integral part of the culture. She learned to sing and play guitar at an early age as she was immersed in her heritage at Ukrainian summer camps. Songwriting came later, and the most natural format for her was folk. Her first CD, From the Heart, was a tribute to her heritage with 10 traditional Ukrainian folk songs, sung entirely in Ukrainian! Her most recent project, True, shows off her gift for pairing beautiful lyrics and melodies sung with a heartfelt, honest voice in a collection of her original songs.

6 winners will be chosen from those 32 finalists to perform 20 minutes of their original music in a special concert the following weekend, June 4th, 2006 and will receive $450 plus national recognition. Money for the winners is from the Texas Folk Music Foundation, Vic and Reba Heyman, and the Jim Ross Memorial Fund. The winners also receive a one year subscription to Performing Songwriter Magazine.

Hippie Chick Twang, home of great female songwriters, is proud to have Sonia Lee as our representative to the Kerrville Folk Festival.

Sonia Lee is represented by Hippie Chick Twang 615.244.4422

Would a Ukrainian ever be selected for this?

There was a time when I would have been really excited about something like this and rushed to sign up.

... BMI is sponsoring the FastStart to Radio Success Minority Scholarship Program, a needs-based program that provides full tuition for 25 minority students to the Gary Fries Radio Advertising Bureau Radio Training Academy.

Recipients are selected by the FastStart Scholarship Committee, which bases its decision on various criteria including ethnicity, overall need, enthusiasm toward a career in radio sales, and recommendations from the applicant's professional associates. The committee includes radio industry professionals with credentials and/or interest in the ethnic and cultural diversity of the radio business.


Eventually I learned that there are other "criteria" in many such programs that immediately disqualify Ukrainians ... criteria that are unspoken and unpublished, of course.

Still, I suppose I shouldn't discourage anyone who might be interested in applying. You never know... Besides, it is a private, not government, organization and they do make this claim on their website:

FastStart is a needs-based scholarship focused specifically on minority communities. There is no minimum requirement for ethnicity, although you will be asked to volunteer affiliation with a specific ethnic population. Nominations are chosen by a selection committee, taking into account ALL information provided in a given application.

Deadline is midnight Friday, June 9, 2006.

U.S. payola cases being settled out of court

Aren't out of court settlements essentially admissions of guilt?

So this settlement has stopped the payola case in the U.S. from going to court. But will the practice ever really stop? It's how the business has been conducted for so long ...

[New York Attorney General Eliot] Spitzer commented, 'Consumers have a right not to be misled about the way in which the music they hear on the radio is selected. Pay-for-play makes a mockery of claims that only the "best" or "most popular" music is broadcast.'

And what's $12m to big players anyway?

Sony BMG and Warner Music have reached similar settlements with Spitzer's office, and a separate payola investigation his company launched against Entercom Communications is still underway.

So now it's payola to the government... just another cost of doing business.

Makes you wonder what kind of broadcast laws may be coming down the pike.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

2000km trek from Bern to Kyiv to raise Chornobyl awareness

I got an email this morning about a European trek to raise awareness for Chornobyl.

On July 6rd 2006, I will embark with my wife on a cross Europe bicycle trip from Bern Switzerland to Kiev in the Ukraine some 2100 kilometres away to raise awareness for the long term effects of the Chernobyl incident. This trip will last about 24 days and cover over 2100 km. This trek will be named in honour of FOCCUS a non profit organisation in order to raise awareness of the long term effects of the Chernobyl incident, which the UN describes as "the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of humanity."

The fellow tells me he is a Ukrainian Canadian originally from Vancouver and now lives in Switzerland. He is seeking support for this project. The sponsoring organization, Friends of Chernobyl Centers, U.S. Inc., is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Quite an adventurous and commendable effort, and all the best to the bicycling duo taking this trek. It's important to continue trying to raise awareness of the awful legacy of Chornobyl. There is far too blase an attitude towards nuclear fuel, and especially towards creating safeguards to prevent similar meltdowns in the future. And there is far too callous a disregard of efforts to mitigate the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster that continues to be borne by innocent parties.

Having said all that, one thing about this organization bothers me. The old soviet-style spelling. Yes there is always the argument that saving people's lives and health is a more "important" issue than linguistic protocols.

However ... one would expect that an organization going to such lengths to produce professional-looking promotional collateral (like their website) would use the proper, i.e., official, transliterated spelling ... i.e., from Ukrainian to English, and ditch the outdated soviet-era practise of Ukrainian to Russian to English. (Which even the Canadian govt is finally doing.)

There is the simple matter of lending dignity - to the people whose lives they are ostensibly trying to make better - by respecting their native language (Ukrainian). Spelling may seem like a small, insignificant matter, but its symbolism is not.

And yes, I realize that not all Chornobyl victims are ethnic Ukrainians, and/or speak Ukrainian. But Chornobyl is in Ukraine (no "the"), where the official language is Ukrainian. It deserves that respect, not least of all in English-language publicity materials.

I wish the marathoners all the best and tip my hat to them for their initiative and dedication to this cause. For their sake, and the sake of those still suffering the Chornobyl fallout, I hope their PR people will soon get with the times and transliterate properly. Remedying that annoying distraction could only serve their cause better.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Vancouver audio archives updated for 050706

Archives for Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia May 7 broadcasts are now uploaded.

On NH (in English), a great recipe and as usual interesting info, this time about pears. Find out about the Kvitka Ukrainian Dancers of Surrey and their upcoming year-end Vesna Festival, ancient battles in Ukraine, and of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

On 4W (Chetverta Khvylia, meaning 4th wave) there's a half-hour of music and news from Ukraine (in Ukrainian).

Check out both programs for lively, foot-stomping stuff (mostly on NH) as well as contemporary stuff (4W).

Enjoy!

Monday, May 08, 2006

11th annual BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival

OK, so now I have egg on my face ... maybe we don't have kubasa contests but we do have the BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival! And that is definitely a fun thing.

Last Saturday I was there (as usual) and had a table next to a very interesting organization called "Heart to Heart." They provide financial support to the extended families of Ukrainian children who become orphaned so that they can stay with their families and out of the orphanages, which although they try, do a generally abysmal job of looking after orphans. The cost is about $20 a month, so do go to the site and sign up to sponsor an orphan in Ukraine. It's nice to finally see this kind of "save a Ukrainian child" organization ... it was self-initiated, as are pretty much all Ukrainian aid organizations. This one was founded in Ternopil in 1994.

Also, there were some fabulous local musicians performing there ... the Ukrainian Dulcimer Ensemble, champion fiddler Mike Sanyshyn, bandurist and singer Ruta Yawney, and a Canadian folk group from Langley called Wheat in the Barley that plays a mean kolomeyka!

Lots of great exhibits, including Danny Evanishen of Summerland, with his books of folk tales and CDs, and his lovely wife Jean and her Trypillian pottery; Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel, and many other local exhibitors.

There was non-stop dancing from 9 am till 7 pm by some 290 dancers from all over BC and also Washington state. The little kids were adorable (and surprisingly good!) and the older dancers put on some breathtaking performances. Lots of gold medals got awarded.

Oh yeah, and the food was great, too!

Friday, May 05, 2006

2006 Korinnya Kubasa Competition

OK, I am so jealous that nothing like this ever happens in Vancouver.

Kubasa Connoisseurs To Convene and Carouse on June 9

Tickets are now available for the 2006 Korinnya Kubasa Competiton, on June 9 ... an evening of Ukrainian music, culture and smoked meat. Everyone is invited to come to this event and:
  • Taste some of the best garlic sausage in western Canada, and vote on your favourite!
  • Enjoy the sounds of the Korinnya Ukrainian Folk Ensemble, the music of Absolutely Unplugged, and the thrilling Ukrainian dance of Calgary'sTryzub and Suzirya.
  • Dance all night to the unique Ukrainian music of The Kubasonics.
  • This event will consist of three 30-minute sets of Ukrainian music and dance by performers from Calgary and across Alberta.

In between the evening’s musical segments the guests will sample different varieties of sausage from producers across western Canada. The expected 300 guests will then vote on their favourite in each category, with the winners being announced at the end of the evening.

The entertainment at this unique event will be provided by Calgary’s Korinnya Ukrainian Folk Ensemble. Korinnya is a 20-member choral ensemble that has been entertaining Calgary’s Ukrainian community since 1993. Korinnya sings traditional folk music with the accompaniment of a four-piece orchestra. Over the past 13 years, Korinnya has released two CDs of its music, and has brought the colour and exuberance of Ukrainian culture to audiences across western Canada.

Tickets are $25 each before May 15, and $30 afterwards. A table of ten can be booked for $250 before May 15, and $300 after.Tickets are available from Korinnya members, by calling 403-239-8643, e-mailing them , or can be ordered online by visiting their website.

The 2006 Korinnya Kubasa Competition will be held on Friday, June 9, atCalgary's St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Cultural Centre.

Get your tickets now! Last year's event sold out, and initial response to has been very strong!

For more information please contact: Cathy Lebedovich, Musical Director 239-8643, or Michael Monita, 229-2271.

Ukrainian folk instruments - new internet scam

Funny stuff going on in Australia:

... Fastcash received a troubling email from one Dmitry, of the [sic] Ukraine:

'Hello. My name is Dmitry Sergeev and I am the manager of the Human Resources department of UFIS (Ukrainian Folk Instruments Sales). The purpose of this message is to draw YOUR attention to a vacant position of financial manager.
'About us: We are a Ukrainian company producing specialised hand-made Ukrainian folk instruments, such as Trembita, Bandura, Tsymbaly. We shall pay you up to $10,000 per day. All we need is your bank account details.'


'Should I take the job?' Fastcash wondered.
It was clearly a great opportunity, but what did he know of Ukrainian folk music?


... Fastcash decided not to pursue the job offer. Selling Ukrainian folk music instruments seemed all too easy.

Amazing what some characters will come up with for internet scams.

But the guy that thought this one up obviously was smoking something very strong if he imagined anyone would believe they could make $10k a day selling Ukrainian folk instruments.

Still, I suppose, you never know...

Canada's national broadcaster recreating WWI soldiers

CBC watchdogs have discovered that CBC-TV is doing a historical "reality series recreating the hard life of a Canadian soldier during the First World War. "

Wonder if they'll be doing a follow-up series recreating the hard life of Ukrainian and other East European immigrants who were interned in concentration camps across Canada, and who built, at the point of a bayonet, the highways and national parks Canadians have enjoyed for decades.

I'm not a gambler, but I'd bet big bucks we won't see any such thing.

I'm sure this "Great War Project" will be fascinating and look forward to watching it. But there is so much more to Canadian history than the air-brushed version so cherished by the elites who have made themselves experts on the topic.

Canadians deserve to know the whole story. Unfortunately, for some very strange reason, the very folks who should be telling it have been working hard to ensure that they don't.

Ukrainian Canadians shut out of media industry's diversity dialogue

According to this article:

The CAB [Canadian Association of Broadcasters] undertook a number of diversity initiatives through 2005-06, including the launching of the Diversity in Broadcasting website. Launched in May of 2005, the website has evolved into a central repository for a broad range industry-wide information, including studies, reports, links, and events that help promote the need for diversity in the broadcasting industry.

Moreover, the CAB has engaged organizations and individuals from ethnocultural, Aboriginal and disability communities, broadcasting and production industries, media, government decision-makers in an ongoing dialogue about this issue ...


Apparently, the CAB is pretty selective in which "ethnocultural" communities it engages. Far as I can tell, it didn't approach a single soul in the Ukrainian community. Certainly, I know of no Ukrainian Canadian broadcaster who is involved in this "ongoing dialogue" ... and I'm touch with pretty much all of them.

Of course, I'd be delighted to be proven wrong. But I'm not holding my breath!

UPDATE: Apparently other "invisible" minorities haven't been contacted either, judging by my contacts in the ethnic broadcasting industry. Presumably, to media moguls caucasians are not "ethnic." Of course, that should come as no surprise. To the elites, "ethnic" means "coloured" ... only they are too "enlightened" to actually use such terminology. It's pretty obvious the moneyed power-brokers are not interested in diversity within races so much as the diversity between them. The latter type of diversity must be more lucrative.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Kyiv becoming star struck

Another Kyiv Post article about Ukrainian glitterati:

This fall Kyiv will have even more beautiful women than usual, as the famous "Miss Europe" beauty contest takes place in Ukraine for the first time. ...

Similar to the winners of the Eurovision song contest held in Kyiv last year, the winner of "Miss Europe 2006" will be picked through interactive voting by the viewers as well votes by the contest jury. The jury's composition is yet unknown; however, the organizers already confirmed that the American actress Sharon Stone has agreed to head it. In fact, news of Miss Stone's arrival to Kyiv already circulated once before when she was set to open the Ukrainian movie festival, "Molodist." She never materialized. Hopefully this autumn Sharon will finally make it.

Only time will tell. Meanwhile ...

The first Ukrainian awards ceremony to honor the best achievements in show business, called appropriately the "ShowBiz Awards," was held in Kyiv at the National Opera House on April 22. Awards were presented in 17 categories with the winners and nominees determined through the vote of an expert council headed by singer Sofiya Rotaru.

The band Okean Elzy became the star of the ceremony, winning three of its four nominations. Not only was it named “Best Rock Band of the Year,” its latest CD “Gloria” was given the title “Album of the Year,” while band leader Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, who recently appeared in a new role as a UN goodwill ambassador, won “Best Male Performer.”

Tina Karol and the boy band “Aviator” were both named as “New Artist of the Year,” the title of the “Best Female Performer” was given to Iryna Bilyk and Gaytana. Skryabin was named “Best Pop-Band,” TNMK were given the award for “Best Hip-Hoppers” and ManSound got the “best” in jazz. The ceremony also made mention of the people behind the music: the best manager, Yury Nikitin; the best record label, Lavina Music; and the best studio, Mama Studio.

No doubt these award ceremonies would be more entertaining that similar ones in North America have been lately.

Roll over Khmelnetsky

After holding the first Ukrainian ethnic music festival, Krayina Mriy (Dream Country), for two years in a row, Oleh Skrypka - the leader of the band Vopli Vidoplyasova - in conjunction with the whole Ukrainian rock movement finally came up with a full-scale rock event: the Rock Sich music festival is now set to take place this weekend on Trukhaniv island.

Originally, "sich" was the old name for fortified areas created by Ukrainian Cossacks as protection against invaders, the most famous of these being the military and political organization "Zaporizka Sich"situated on Khortytsya island. The "Rock Sich" festival, then, according to organizers and Skrypka, symbolizes a fortress of Ukrainian rock-Cossacks aimed at protecting modern rock from the "pop oppression."

In fact, Skrypka had voiced this notion once before ... claiming that pop stifles quality rock and alternative music from developing in Ukraine...


VV ... are about to release their new CD while Skrypka himself chose not to give in to "pop oppression" but instead fight it in his own ways - such as holding a music festival that would resemble the famous European open-air festivals both in quality and organization.

Read the entire Kyiv Post article.

new trend in music distribution?

This blog entry is an example of the "long-tail" economics model that is worrying recording label oligarchs and loosening their stranglehold on music distribution.

The labels of course point to "illegal" file sharing as the source of their problems (i.e. falling sales and ergo profits) and has them scrambling to influence lawmakers in order to protect their cash cows.

If the stats in this blog entry are representative of the general trend, it's evidence of how far off the mark the labels are. If the situation gets desperate enough for them to try this system, perhaps it will end the cacophony they've been marketing as pop music in recent years. (We can only hope.)

In the meantime, perhaps Ukrainian and other ethnic musicians should take note, and heart.

playing hardball in the music industry

Now this describes a progressive business approach.

Songs at Apple's iTunes Music Store will remain 99 cents per download after the company extended its distribution deals with major recording labels.

The recording industry and Apple had been at odds over Apple's insistence to keep its flat rate with some labels wanting variable pricing, including higher prices for new releases.

"Apple has all the cards, and when you have all the cards, you can play hardball," said Ted Schadler, analyst at market research firm Forrester Research.

But I wonder who's keeping score?

online communication increasing in popularity

This should come as no great surprise:

New channels of communication, especially online activities such as e-mail and instant messaging, are driving an anytime, anywhere media attitude in Canada.

According to a recent Ipsos-Reid online poll conducted for MSN Canada, Canadians connect, on average, with about 23 different people every day. ...

83 per cent of respondents said they feel communicating online has an overall positive effect on their life. Almost half (49 per cent) believe using the Internet to communicate has allowed them to be more outwardly social, while 45 per cent say it has helped them locate long-lost friends, and 39 per cent say it lets them act more like themselves, the survey found.


Rest of article here.

Battle heating up between mainstream artists and recording labels

Interesting article about the growing scuffle between mainstream Canadian artists and recording companies.

Battle lines are being drawn over the possibility of legal action and financial punishment over music downloading in Canada.

A coalition of Canadian artists has formed the Canadian Music Creators Coalition to voice concerns over copyright law and cultural policy, while at the same time the Canadian Recording Industry Association is encouraging Canadian legislators to more closely align policy here with other countries, where illegal music downloading can result in legal action against individuals.

The Canadian group includes major recording stars such as The Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLaughlin, Avril Lavigne and more. ...

Coalition artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels' control over the
distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures, the group stated. It says the government should not blindly implement decade-old treaties designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers.


Let's hope that the new federal government is pro-small business and will level the playing field for entrepreneurs (i.e. musicians) in the music industry. In which case we'd have wonderful choices, including music by Ukrainian and other ethnic artists in Canada.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Honouring Gareth Jones - Welsh journalist who exposed horrors of Stalin

A young Welsh journalist who exposed the man made famines of the Stalinist Government and was later murdered by Japanese bandits was honoured at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, today, with the the unveiling of a triligual plaque in Welsh, English and Ukrainian.

Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones, a journalist with The Western Mail, died on the eve of his 30th birthday in August 1935. Traveling surreptitiously in Soviet Ukraine, in March 1933, Jones, who spoke Russian fluently, soon thereafter wrote a number of articles about the man-made famine orchestrated by the Stalinist government in what had been the 'breadbasket of Europe.'

He then himself fell prey to a determined effort to discredit his reporting. Many millions of Ukrainians perished even as the Soviet authorities denied that a famine was raging, and continued to export grain. They were joined in their cover up by some Western journalists, including the now notorious Walter Duranty of The New York Times.


Full article here.

advertising works - unfortunately

Scary to think how easily ad agencies can control our thought processes and action. They are the scourge of the earth.

Earlier this month, the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine published a report showing that for each additional hour per day that a child watched television an average of one additional request was made for an advertised product. The effect of the commercials on children lasted up to 20 weeks.

This article is all about subliminal advertising. What started out as a stunt apparently ended up a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Canadian musicians taking on major labels

A growing coalition of Canadian music creators is thumbing its collective nose at multinational record labels. The coalition is also concerned about legislative proposals that would facilitate lawsuits against music fans and/or increase the labels' control over the enjoyment of music.

Sounds like a practical, pragmatic and fair-minded bunch. Perhaps Ukrainian Canadian musicians should join their crusade. Certainly, the labels have been no friends to our music genre.

Details available at the Canadian Music Creators Coalition website.

Vancouver audio archives updated for 043006

Archives for Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia April 30 broadcasts are now uploaded.

All about nuts, fortresses in Ukraine, the upcoming BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival, and plenty of Great Ukrainian music! CD of the week is Ihor and Vasyl with Marusia ... a re-release of a 1971 recording by brother-sister duo Anne and Bill Shcherbatiuk.

Enjoy!

Former "shock jock: to oversee CRTC

This is less than good news.

What is the government thinking? (Assuming of course that it does. And don't they say one should never assume?)