Monday, July 31, 2006

the magic of music

This Hear 2.0 blog post made me think that, really, the same could be said for Ukrainian (especially zabava) music ...

Ask a gaggle of broadcasters why Christmas music works on the radio and they'll tell you "because it's the Christmas season." And they would be wrong.

... holiday cheer is not unique to the holidays, and if you understand this then you will have a deeper and more meaningful way to market Christmas music ...

Said [Bryan] Singer about the holly jolly tunes of the season:

"They soothe you and make you feel that everything's okay."

Well, on second thought, when referring to Ukrainian music, probably "energize" is more appropriate than "soothe."

But regardless, when you're dancing up a storm, or tapping your toes to beat the band, how can you not feel that everything's ok?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Vancouver audio archives for July 30, 2006

Audio archives for the July 30 broadcast of Nash Holos are now available. (Will advise when Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) archives are available.)

On Ukrainian Food Flair, learn more about sorrel and a refreshing, uniquely Ukrainian, summer sorrel soup.

On Travel Tips, Father Bruce has some tips about language when travelling to and in Ukraine.

And of course, there's plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Poltava Book Drive - UPDATE

Many thanks to all those who donated money and books for the Poltava Library Book Drive.

The money raised will be used to help rebuild the Panas Myrnyi Children’s Library in Poltava, and the many books received will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of the Ukrainian children who read them.

Book drive organizer Judy Hrynenko also obtained Canadian lapel pins and Canadian flags to send with the books.

The shipment will be sent out the first of August and should arrive sometime in September 2006.

light posting

Blogging has been, and will continue to be, light over the summer.

That is largely because of a few mishaps over the past couple of months, as a result of which my hubby and I are becoming known as "The Calamity Couple."

I slammed a car door on my left thumb, a few weeks later fell and injured my right arm and now have a condition called "frozen shoulder," and my hubby fell off the roof of our RV onto gravel, just missing the hitch and a concrete block. We are both thankfully unharmed, although in pain much of the time.

Needless to say, we are both operating at less than peak efficiency. So please bear with me as I struggle to keep this blog going. Hopefully by fall I'll be back up to speed. But for now, I'd like to enjoy the summer while recovering from my traumas.

I'll still be posting occasionally, so do come back and visit! Better still, download a feedreader, which will let *you* know when there's a new posting.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

misrepresenting Mazeppa

It is no great surprise that historical details are being watered down in contemporary presentations of the opera Mazeppa, as illustrated in this report:

Mazeppa - or Mazepa, if you prefer up-to-date spelling - does need to be enlivened if it is to make its full impact. ... Unlike Eugene Onegin (or so theatrical theory is prone to assert) it can no longer be played straight. ... The fine detail of the dispute between Ukrainian separatists and Cossack landowners at the time of Peter the Great - the subject of the Pushkin epic poem that inspired it - is thought to be of no great interest to a modern audience, even with some glorious music as ballast.

Thought by whom? Funny they don't say.

And this dispute between Ukrainian separatists and Cossack landowners? Huh? I thought the "dispute" was the Battle of Poltava, between the Russian emperor Peter and the combined forces of Sweden's king Charles XII and Ukrainian hetman Mazeppa.

Besides, I daresay it's not lack of interest, so much as lack of knowledge. Given most mainstream historical accounts relegate the Ukrainian aspirations of independence as a footnote, it's a tad disingenuous and quite a cop-out to accuse general audiences of lacking interest in the history of the era.

Why it was internationally neglected for so long is in some ways puzzling. Today we can safely say that, for better or worse, its time has come, and that it forms a conspicuous part of the achievement of the very varied composer we now recognise Tchaikovsky to be.

What's more puzzling (at least to me) is why this opera's time has suddenly come ... at this particular point in time.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Vancouver audio archives for July 23, 2006

Archives for Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia July 23 broadcasts are now uploaded!

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar will tell you all about carrots. On Travel Tips, filling in for Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel is Fr. Bruce Power with some pointers on what to expect on a trip to Ukraine. As usual, items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music!

On Chetverta Khvylia, join host Pavlo Manugevych for news, views, and music from Ukraine ... exclusively in Ukrainian.

Polka marathon - not for young wimps

Delightful story about polka veterans congregating in Radway, AB for 10 hours of non-stop dancing at a recent polka marathon.

Polkafests, which have existed for as long as accordions have squeezed out melodies, are still alive and well, said Robert Tomkins, host of CFCW's Zabava program, a show devoted to Ukrainian music.

... Multiple bands play virtually continuous music in a community dance hall over at least two days for an audience dominated by seemingly tireless seniors. Sometimes, as in Radway, out-of-towners park their motorhomes right beside the dance hall, allowing for quick dress changes and a sense of community. ...

Many in Radway said they plan their calendar around polkafests scheduled in towns around Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. Some travel as far away as Wisconsin, Ohio and North Dakota for a good polka.

This year was the town's fourth annual polkafest. Every year it gets bigger. Nearly 90 per cent of the 300 people ... came from out of town. ...

"The polkafest puts us on the map," Radway Agricultural Society president Maurice Kruk said. "Plus, with technological advancements, IPods and the like, it's nice to get back to our roots and pay attention to the old-time theme."

Now, these old guys and gals obviously know how to have fun... and without trashing the premises like some younger folk do.

New CD by John Stetch

Jazz pianist John Stetch has a new CD out called 'Bruxin'' (Justin Time Records) and there's a brief review of it here.

A Canadian by birth ... Stetch paid tribute to his Ukrainian roots with 'Ukrainianism' in 2002 and a solo piano recording of the Thelonious Monk canon with 'Exponetially Monk' in 2004.

Now based in Ithaca, N.Y., Stetch returns to a trio format with Rodney Green on drums and the thoughtful Sean Smith on bass. ... Stetch, who composed these 11 tunes, creates a cliche-free zone in which surprise and adventure rule. He's almost too creative for his own good, although 'The Girl In The Hemp Shirt' is as winsome a jazz tune as you're likely to encounter."


The review says that Stetch is "a cat worthy of wider recognition." Based on the music of his that I have heard, courtesy the personal collection of a friend and former co-host, I'd certainly agree.

And Nash Holos would be more than happy to help widen his recognition, once a promo copy of the CD arrives.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Vancouver audio archives for July 16, 2006

Archives for Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia July 16 broadcasts are now uploaded!

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar will tell you all about that favourite fungus of Ukrainians and a delicious and easy recipe for pickled mushrooms.

On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel has turned the mic over to Fr. Bruce Power of Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church in Surrey while she leads her summer tours to Ukraine. We chatted about how and why he got this delightful job, and he shares his first travel tip -- why travellers should consider Ukraine an ideal holiday destination.

As usual, the Proverb of the Week and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and beyond.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Music group Volyn stranded in Canada - update

It appears that after finding themselves stranded at Toronto airport instead of being whisked off on a cross-Canada tour as promised, the Volyn Ukrainian Song and Dance Company has been making the best of a bad situation... according to this article, and an email message I recently received from Orest Dorosh, Creative Director at Vistacom Media & Graphics in Mississauga:

[I] Went to see Volyn on Thursday night in Toronto and they did not disappoint. Packed house of about 700 paying patrons. ... Wonderful people with a great attitude, all things considered.

What troopers! I so envy the lucky folks who got to see them.

Orest took several hundred photos Thursday night and promised to send me some as soon as he sorts through them. I'll post them here when they arrive.

He's also sending me the newest Volyn CD, and hopefully also Halyna Ovsychuk's CD, if it's available. Halyna is one of the lead singers from the group and has produced her own CD.

I can't wait to play them on Nash Holos ... the one I have is almost worn out! ;-)

If you'd like your own copy, please contact Orest at Vistacom 416.880.3017.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

meeting the Premier of BC

OK, another bit of shameless self-promotion for Kobzar's Children!

This afternoon I had the opportunity to present a copy to the Premier of BC! There's a photo of me with him and some details at the Kobzar's Children blog.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Here we go again...

I find it hard to imagine a situation where journalists would have to appeal to a political party to behave like intelligent people rather than mindless thugs.

Yet Ukrainian journalists recently did just that, issuing an open letter of appeal to Ukraine's Party of Regions.

On July 12, at around 12 PM, a group of supporters of the Party of Regions, together with the deputy Oleg Kalashnikov, attacked Marharyta Sytnyk, a journalist from the TV station STB, and Volodymyr Novosad, the operator.

What does it take to get the foreigners to leave Ukraine, and rid the country of homegrown Benedict Arnolds?

What brave souls those journalists are. If this keeps up, I imagine Ukraine's ranking for media freedom will drop back again in the next survey.

Switched feed reader

I've just switched to a new feed reader and am quite pleased with it. So far it seems to be consistent in notifying of updates on the sites marked, which the previous one didn't. There are also a few more layout options and features.

It's called FeedReader 3.05 and it can be downloaded here. There's also a link to it on the right-hand column on this blog. Very user friendly. And free!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hungering for truth? Read this.

There's a great post at cybercossack for anyone who doesn't understand Ukrainian animosity towards Russia.

It's a speech made a couple of years ago, but it is truly timeless. It outlines the cultural genocide of Ukraine throughout history, as well as in the context of 20th century Soviet-made famines and other murderous methods of annihilating Ukrainians... and also the west's complicity.

Pretty much illustrates why sovereignty is so important and precious, and necessary for Ukraine's survival... and why Ukraine historically has struggled alone and unaided.

Read it and weep. Here.

Then resolve to be part of the solution.

Ukrainian music troupe stranded in Canada

What a shame this had to happen. What a black eye for Canada.

Instead of performing at Canada's most celebrated concert halls, the internationally acclaimed 52-member Volyn Song and Dance Company is giving stellar performances in community centres and banquet halls in a desperate effort to raise money after the ensemble's cross-country tour was abruptly cancelled.

The troupe arrived in Toronto on June 18 for what members believed would be a profitable month-long tour. The first hint of trouble came while the troupe was en route to the airport in Kyiv. That's when Volyn's artistic director, Oleksander Stadnyk, said he received a call advising the group not to come to Canada because promoter Leonid Oleksiuk, president of Ablaze Productions Corp. in Toronto, had reportedly fallen ill.

But with only hours until their flight and airline tickets paid for with $40,000 (U.S.) borrowed from their regional government, Stadnyk said there was no turning back. Confident that all of the arrangements were in place, the troupe pressed on.

... after just three performances in London, Hamilton and Toronto, the curtain came down on the cross-Canada tour.

'We're very disenchanted with Ablaze Productions, which invited us to Canada and organized the tour,' Stadnyk said in an interview in Ukrainian, adding there was little promotion, resulting in poor ticket sales -even in Canada's Ukrainian heartland out west.

Full article here.

Let's hope the community does rally round. From what I have heard and seen of Volyn, they are spectacular. I have a couple of their CDs and play them often on Nash Holos.

As for the so-called "promoter" who lured them to Canada, with obviously no intention of following through with the grandiose scheme he sold these trusting souls on, the less said the better.

I'll try to find out from reputable sources who is collecting money to help Volyn out, and where it can be sent. When I find out, I'll post it.

moving forward to the past

Quite alarming to see this happening. (Quite surprising that someone at CBC also appears alarmed!)

Russian regulators have forced more than 60 radio stations to stop broadcasting news reports produced by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty...

The regulators cited license violations and unauthorized changes in programming format. But senior executives at the U.S.-government-funded broadcast services and at the stations blame the Kremlin for the crackdown...

In a country where the news media increasingly avoid controversial subjects, millions of Russians had made the broadcasts a listening staple.

Independent newspapers and radio stations continue to operate. But with their largest audiences in the country's two largest cities, their influence in national politics and voting is marginal.


At least they still broadcast to Ukraine. According to this Freedom House report, media freedom is improving there and other places like it. Meanwhile, Russia ranked 158 out of the 194 countries and territories assessed in the survey.

Who says Ukraine and other neighbouring countries shouldn't be worried about the return of Russian imperialism? The Russian ruling elite sure don't want a Rose or Orange type of revolution in their crumbling empire, er, country.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cross-cultural programming

Here's an interesting article on cross-cultural promotion.

... Chabad is hoping a new Jewish-themed show will draw viewers on Ukrainian state-owned television. ...

'This educational show will be directed toward wide circles of viewers, irrespective of their nationality and religion,' said programming director Oleg Rostovtsev. 'We are going to acquaint Ukrainian viewers with Jewish history, culture and traditions.' "

Good idea. I certainly hope the favour will be returned, and that a Ukrainian program be aired in Israel to acquaint Jewish viewers with Ukrainian history, culture and traditions. It's time our two peoples realize just how much we have in common.

Come to think of it, might also be a good idea to acquaint Canadian viewers with Ukrainian history, culture and traditions...

broadcasting to Ukraine!

I was just interviewed by Luba Demko of RCI Canada for a broadcast to be aired in Ukraine, about Kobzar's Children!

We talked about what the stories were about, how the book came to be, and the importance of these stories being published in English. She's also trying to get ahold of Linda, whose Ukrainian is way better than mine, I'm sure!

I've asked Luba to send me the details of when it will be aired and archives online, and will post them as soon as I get them!

Cross-posted at http://kobzarschildren.blogspot.com/

Best musicians perform weekends at Mariinsky park in Kyiv

We could all learn from this example of a class act:

On Saturdays and Sundays best musicians from Ukraine and neighbouring countries come to perform on the summer platform at Mariinsky park in Kyiv. At the beginning of the XX century Glazunov, Prokofiev, Horovitz performed on this stage.

Since then only the artists have changed. The repertoire has been maintained unchanged. With one addition, jazz has been included in it. Classical works concerts at Mariinsky park wiil be held till the end of July.

zero tolerance - a necessary extreme

According to this article, two veteran broadcasters in Tampa were fired over on-air profanity.

It wasn't intended to go to air, but the mic was on...

It's too bad for them that, like so many others in the media, they don't realize that media people are held to a higher standard.

Perhaps if they had tried harder to maintain that standard, they would still have their jobs.

Ukrainian recording added to National Recording Registry

A Ukrainian recording was among the 50 famous recordings recently added to The National Recording Registry....

The National Recording Registry was created by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, legislation that promotes and supports audio preservation. ...

The new additions to the registry honor a wide variety of outstanding spoken and musical recordings and span the years 1903-1988. Among the selections is the first presidential inauguration to be broadcast... the first official transatlantic telephone conversation ... of performances by ... Bob Hope, Nat “King” Cole, Fred Allen, Mahalia Jackson, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Stevie Wonder.

The Library is currently accepting nominations for the 2006 National Recording Registry at the National Recording Preservation Board
Web site.

... The Library's Recorded Sound Section holds the largest number of radio broadcasts in the United States – more than 500,000.

2005 National Recording Registry (in chronological order) ... 5. “My Man” and “Second Hand Rose,” Fanny Brice (1921) ... 7 . Inauguration of Calvin Coolidge (March 4, 1925). ...


8. “Tanec pid werbamy/Dance Under the Willows,” a Ukrainian violin solo with cymbaly, bass and sleigh bells, Pawlo Huemiuk (1926) Pawlo Humeniuk was a renowned violin player in Ukranian communities before beginning his recording career with Columbia, for which he made this dance number. He learned violin in western Ukraine at the age of 6 and enjoyed a busy career playing concerts, dances and vaudeville theaters. The song is an excellent example of the ethnic releases that record labels began to produce in the 1920's for sale to immigrant communities in the United States.

Full article here .

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Vancouver audio archives for July 2, 2006

Due to technical difficulties, CHMB radio station aired a repeat of the June 11 Nash Holos broadcast on Sunday.

It's a shame, as the program featured a tribute to Ukrainian artists in both Canada and the US, in honour of our respective national holidays.

So, it will run a week late, on July 9. I imagine the sentiment will be the same, even if the timing is a bit off!