Sunday, September 30, 2007

Voting results in Ukraine

If you're interested in following the election results in Ukraine, there's an official site here. It's available in both Ukrainian and English.

Apparently voter turnout isn't nearly as high as in 2004 ... not surprisingly.

Great review of recent Vasyl Popadiuk performance in Chicago

I just found out about a great review on virtuoso violinist Vasyl Popadiuk.

... He lifted his violin, drew the bow across the strings, and filled the hall with his special kind of magic...The members of the audience was soon enraptured as the musician literally sank into his world, transforming himself into his own music, pouring his soul into every melody, inviting the listeners to join him. Join him they did, watching mesmerised as his bow vibrated almost invisibly on the strings during "Hutsul Fantasy" and "Sun," envisaging the fate of Eastern European emigres in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries ...

I saw Vasyl perform live twice and he is indeed a sight, and sound, to behold. The first time was here in Vancouver back in 1993 when he was still with the now-defunct (because most of them stayed in Canada) Hopak Ukrainian Folk Ensemble. The second time was a few years ago at Canada's National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, MB. I recall being spell-bound and absolutely astounded back in 1993 during that Hopak performance, and thinking his was an unusual talent. I'm glad he's staying active and wish him the great commercial success.

Read the entire review here.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

CBC still using outdated article

Sigh.

Politician Gerard Kennedy says he and a group of Canadians in the [sic] Ukraine to observe this weekend's national election got a taste of the country's "seedy underside" when they were shouted down and threatened by local officials after asking questions about inflated voter lists.

Full article here.

Some people just can't seem to let go of the past. News flash: The "the" was dropped from Ukraine back in 1991 when the country declared independence. Not exactly consistent professionalism at the Mother Corp. here in the Canada.

But perhaps the writer (or editor) is just one of those people I once encountered who yearns for the "good old days of the old soviet union." Like the imperialists of old...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Canadian politician confronted by police in Ukraine

This article certainly illustrates the democratic backslide in Ukraine under Yanukovych.

Gerard Kennedy, a Canadian politician observing the election process in Ukraine, was confronted Friday by ... a squadron of police ... at the election commission in Mariupol, an area of Donetsk.

Kennedy said the police tried to hinder the observers from ensuring that the process was fair leading up to Sunday's parliamentary poll.

"Police came, one carrying weapons into the area, which is not supposed to happen, and then a kind of humorous thing happened where local TV stations came and there was what we considered mock interviews, where the party's regional representatives denounced us one after another in front of the TV cameras," Kennedy said.

Members' passports were taken by police and the group was temporarily stripped of its observer status, Kennedy said, adding that he felt a palpable feeling of hostility from authorities. ... Kennedy said the group has already observed major flaws in the voting process.

"There are extra ballots being distributed," said Kennedy. ...


Full article here.

Let's just hope voter apathy in Ukraine isn't so bad that the citizenry will just roll over and let the slide continue.

Update: Canadian journalist Mark MacKinnon also weighs in on his blog with some interesting observations.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some imperialists die hard

Some people just can't abide change, apparently.

In a few days [Ukraine] will hold parliamentary elections. The outcome is crucial to Russia's plans for a comeback.

But good Lord, were these words uttered as recently as today??

"Russia will fight for Ukraine even more than it fought for the Baltic States or even Eastern Europe to retain its dominant position," said the Heritage Foundation's Ariel Cohen. ...

Cohen said, "Without Ukraine [Russia] won't be able to rebuild its empire... So control of Ukraine - domination of Ukraine - is very important for Moscow." Full article here.

Wow. Talk about nostalgia for the empire's glory days. (May they forever remain in the past.)

The Orange Chronicles comes to Vancouver

The good ol' Georgia Strait newspaper did a piece on the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival. Swell title, but less than stellar research, as you can see here:

Festival flits around the world in 41 films Straight.com

Make that 42, and they missed Ukraine. (Sigh.) Typical.

Well, maybe it was an oversight. After all, it's a lot of films.

At any rate, while you can't count on the mainstream media to find out what's happening on the local Ukrainian scene, you can certainly count on Nash Holos!

So here's some exciting news for locals... the film, The Orange Chronicles, will be screening as part of the Vancouver Film Festival at the Empire Granville 7 Theatre on Fri. Sept. 28 at 8:45 p.m. and Mon. Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. The film was also featured at the Toronto Film Festival earlier, as I noted here last month.

I missed Acts of Imagination when it was in town (is it a year ago already???), and don't want to miss this one, too. So, hope to see you there!

Yankee go home: Yanukovych

UNIAN reports (here) that Ukrainian PM Viktor Yanukovych has sacked his American spin doctor:

Paul Manafort, who had been heading the political campaigns of the Party of Regions since 2005, was sacked from the electoral heaquarters ... after the party headquarters chiefs realized that the party’s rating fell by 5-7% nearly 10 days ago.

Of course, the slide in ratings wouldn't have anything to do with the Yanukovych party's inept and incompetent governance, would it? Still, they insist on sticking to the tried-and-true, charmingly Soviet mix of propaganda and thuggery.

...the party is now considering two scenarios of the further developments: to cancel voting results in some western district on the basis of alleged mass falsifications, and to resume talks about creating an autonomy of eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Prez is pounding the pavement and reminding the electorate of the Party of Regions' bad governance ... good strategy, I'd say. But with any luck, it's just necessary for insurance sake. ;-)

Coffee, Ukrainian style

For coffee lovers, a barista who splits his time between Saskatoon and Victoria shares his love and knowledge of coffee on his blog "еспресолаб" (here).

There's a nice post here about his trip this summer to Ukraine (his first), with links to photos on Flickr.

Next time I'm on the island visiting our provincial capital, I'll make sure to check out his coffee bar! (Of course, I might find myself in Saskatoon at some point in the future as well... ya never know.)

If you're lucky enough to be in either city, make sure to drop in, buy a brew, and tell Jimmy that Pawlina sent you!

Vancouver audio archives updated to Sept 23

The most recent Ukie broadcasts from Canada's west coast are now available for download and online listening!

On Nash Holos, Sylvia discovers another veggie to pickle, Myrna has a list of neat things to see and do in Ukraine, Fr. Bruce discusses iconography, Ron Cahute & Ihor Baczynskij conduct an azbooka drill, another Ukrainian proverb, and plenty of Great Ukrainian music. AND ... a special announcement introducing a new on-air personality in Ukrainian radioland.

On Chetverta Khvylia, Pavlo brings you music and news from Ukraine, exclusively in Ukrainian.

Enjoy!

Another kovbasa blog sighting

I dunno, maybe the claim that "kovbasa" is the latest synonym for "cool" or "hip" isn't beyond the realm of possibility after all ...

Because I just found another kovbasa site here. I could do without the profanity sprinkled throughout it, but, unfortunately, that's become pretty trendy in some circles. (Fortunately, tho, tasteless fads have short lifespans,)

Otherwise, I enjoyed my visit there, and would return. Check it out ... it's kovbasa! ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Encyclopedia of Manitoba

... Soon to be released!

Encyclopedia of Manitoba
All about Manitoba, all in one place
.


In November 2007, Great Plains Publications will unveil the largest and most detailed book project ever undertaken in this province. More than four years in the making, the Encyclopedia of Manitoba is an 800-page information extravaganza.

All aspects of the province’s history, arts, politics, geography, business, and sports will be explored inover 2,000 entries and essays, each written and researched by expert Manitobans. From Cindy Klassen to K-Tel, Lord Selkirk to Louis Riel, Bothwell Cheese to Chip & Pepper …anything and everything of importance to Manitobans is celebrated within the encyclopedia’s pages.

And our own Orysia Tracz has contributed an entry on Ukrainians in Manitoba.

More details on their website here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UFOs attacking Ukraine

Um, sure ... I believe it. Millions of others wouldn't, but I would.

The Zond center for the study of anomalous phenomena claims that Ukraine has seen an increase in UFO activity over recent years. ... Most sightings come from large cities with large populations, ufologists say. The Crimea is particularly famous for the number of observations, especially in summer time.

Researchers are not joking when they say UFO appearances over Ukraine may threaten its national security. ... In addition, UFOs may pose a direct threat to witnesses' health and safety. UFOs interacting with the environment sometimes produce distortions in biological life ... and leave noticeable environment effects. ...


Full article here. My favourite part is the last sentence:

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

(Whew, what a relief!)

Vancouver audio archives updated to Sept 16

Nash Holos audio archives and podcast are now updated to the most recent on-air broadcast. Chetverta Khvylia is also updated to last Sunday.

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia has a rather unique and elegant recipe ... jellied borscht! Myrna will tell you where to get good kava in Lviv, and Fr. Bruce discusses eastern and western perspectives on the cross of Christ.

This week's Ukrainian language lesson is on good manners, more proverbial Ukrainian wisdom and plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Music piracy costs - bogus?

Methinks the RIAA and friends protest too much ...

A report from the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation says worldwide piracy of sound recordings is costing the U.S. economy $12.5 billion a year. Those costs ... include 71,060 jobs that should have been created but weren't ... The proportion of lost sales that falls to the U.S. recording industry: $3.7 billion.

Quick, someone suggest to the RIAA that they join the real world and start to "think outside the box." Who knows, maybe someone in their ranks might even get the idea to reset their priority focus on delivering music that people want to hear rather than on just hauling wheelbarrows of cash to the bank. Of course, I'm not suggesting it's a likely possibility...

"Piracy harms not only the owners of intellectual property but also U.S. consumers and taxpayers," said study author Stephen E. Siwek. "Moreover, the impact of music piracy appears to be intensifying."

Well, all I can say is they might as well get used to it.

Full article here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Defining moment in music...

Interesting article about a report recently submitted to the CRTC Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission:

... it is 'imperative' that the CRTC find better ways to determine which artists qualify as 'emerging' so broadcasters can be encouraged to play more new Canadian artists.

The report says ... that 'community radio, campus radio, public radio, and satellite radio should all be given a voice in this matter as all have a role to play in providing showcases for emerging Canadian artists.'

Canada's Broadcasting Act requires most commercial radio stations to dedicate at least 35% of their playlists to Canadian music. ...
(Full article here.)

For ethnic stations with a licence to broadcast third-language programming, like the one my program airs on, the requirement is even lower (7%). Although I am proud to say that my playlist consistently contains on average 50% cancon, and rarely dips to as low as 35%! That's because in Canada we have so many awesome Ukrainian artists and groups!

So I certainly hope that the authors of the report would include ethnic radio in the list of those who should "be given a voice in this matter."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rotten pickles derail campaign tour in Ukraine

Well, speaking of food, Yanuk, Ukraine's beleaguered prime minister, seems to have a bit of a problem with it, especially during election campaigns involving the president and his arch-rival, Yush.

Back in the 2004 Orange Revolution, it was eggs. Now, in 2007, it's pickles.

There's an interesting and thought-provoking analysis of the egg incident here. Unfortunately none has appeared yet re the pickle saga. Perhaps it requires more study and thought, in which case we can assume one is forthcoming... eventually.

In the meantime, FWIW, here's mine:

If he's smart, when he retires from politics he'll stay out of the restaurant business ...

Great new local deli

Today Sylvia (of Ukrainian Food Flair fame) and I made a surprise trip to Langley where our dear friend Judy recently opened an adorable little deli called Prairie Cottage Perogies.

Sylvia brought along a new chocolate confection she concocted (yummy!) and Judy's customers will be happy to know that they will be able to buy these delectable treats for special occasions. And in the very near future I'll be introducing Judy to Nash Holos listeners, so stay tuned!

This deli is just one more good reason to come out to Lotusland for a visit. And for hungry Lower Mainlanders who don't reside in Langley, it is well worth the drive. Judy and her niece (and business partner) Tanya make the most delicious food!

We started out with a bowl of cream of cabbage soup Judy had just made. It was light (despite the "cream" in the name) and very tasty. I was tempted to pick up the bowl and slurp down the last few drops, but we were in public and I didn't want to embarass Sylvia. ;-)

Following the soup, we had the Ukrainian "lite" lunch, 3 perogies, 2 cabbage rolls, a hunk of kovbasa, and Judy's mouth-watering homemade coleslaw (she cuts the cabbage by hand!). She also brought out an unexpected and very welcome treat - a dish of bread-and-butter (also called sweet & sour) pickles she'd made a few weeks ago with fresh local cukes.

Oy-yoy-yoy ... Yum!!

Silly me, I forgot to bring along a camera and take some pics. But with food like that, I'll be back soon!

How to manage a democracy

Ukraine's large neighbour to the north seems to have "managing democracy" down pat:

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed his long-serving prime minister Wednesday and nominated little-known Cabinet official Victor Zubkov to replace him in a surprise move that could put Zubkov in the running to replace Putin next year. The nomination ... appeared to have caught much of the Russian political elite off-guard. ...

After dismissing Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov - triggering the government's automatic dissolution - Putin explained the shakeup was required to "prepare the country" for forthcoming elections. ...

Putin is wildly popular among Russians, having brought stability and relative prosperity after the often chaotic presidency of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. As a result, whoever is nominated for the presidency by Putin is expected to win easily.

Full article here.

At the risk of perpetuating Godwin's law, let's hope we're not watching history repeating itself. While reading this article, I couldn't help thinking that Putin isn't the first dictator who was wildly popular for bringing about economic stability and a sense of national pride.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poem about erotic folksongs

By all accounts, the presentation my friend Orysia gave last month on the eroticism underlying Ukrainian folksongs at the Honchar museum in Kyiv was a big hit!

One of the attendees even wrote a poem about it and posted it on the internet (here).

I always think of Orysia as this great walking, talking Ukrainian encyclopedia. I swear she knows everything about everything Ukrainian, especially folklore! She also has this great knack for cutting through clutter and quickly getting to the most interesting facets of whatever she is talking about. So if you ever get a chance to hear her speak, jump at it!

She travels to Ukraine every summer so if you're there at the same time, or are lucky enough to live there, I suspect there may be future opportunities like this one to hear her. If you are lucky enough to live in Winnipeg, keep a close eye on the University of Manitoba, where she works and sometimes gives presentations.

In the meantime, here's an article she wrote on head coverings that illustrates her incredible knowlege and skill of presentation. And don't forget to check out the poem!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nash Holos listener needs help

A little while ago I got a heartfelt plea from a listener who collects Nash Holos broadcasts.

She had a hard-drive crash and lost a lot of her files, including some mp3s of old NH broadcasts. She emailed me to ask if I could send her the archives, but unfortunately, I didn't have all the ones she asked for.

Until now, I had still been operating in the mindset of the "old days" of radio when we produced programs on reel-to-reel tapes that we re-used from week to week. Back then no one saved old programs as no one could afford the real estate to store the archives! So it just wasn't a habit I developed.

Now of course it's different, and I am quite embarrassed at not foreseeing a situation like this. Naturally, I will be saving archives on disk from now on!

In the meantime, if anyone is willing and able to help out this "loyal listener" who is missing broadcasts from Dec 3, 2006, Dec 10, 2006 and Jan 14, 2007, please email me.

Thanks!

DanaPro website now live!

Kyiv-based Danapro has launched its website and you can see it here. Danapro describes itself as:

... an Agency for Innovative Cultural Programs – an explorer of Ukrainian cultural projects for domestic and foreign markets...

Quite the website, and quite the partnership. Keep an eye out for this very interesting business duo!

MTV Ukraine promises lots of (beige?) fun

An editor at the Kyiv Post is all excited about a new development in TV in Ukraine...

MTV Ukraine ... looks really promising so far. ... MTV UA already hired a team of VJ’s fronted by a known writer, Irena Karpa, hosting MTV News.

The musical filling of the channel is so far represented by 30 percent Ukrainian and 70 percent foreign artists, and features videos which are now in active rotation on MTV Europe, as well as Ukrainian videos, mainly by bands like Okean Elzy, S.K.A.Y. and Esthetic Education.

In terms of programs, the channel is already offering popular MTV shows such as “Bust-a-Move,” “TRL,” and “Beavis and Butthead.” We can also expect programs made in Ukraine – “Rock Ukraine” and “MTV Ukraine Top 20.”

However, what excites me most is that “South Park” is listed among the future shows on MTV.
...

Well, obviously there's no accounting for taste...

But seriously, I find it very sad that media folk in Ukraine aren't providing and/or demanding more of the great indigenous Ukrainian talent the country is brimming over with.

In that way, Ukraine is unfortunately very much like Canada ... a country living in the shadow of its giant neighbour and that displays too little pride (or interest) in its own culture.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Sept 9

Nash Holos audio archives and podcast are now updated to the most recent on-air broadcast.

Sylvia has a very heart-warming story and unique recipe called "White clouds of Fluff" ... Myrna has practical advice for anyone wanting to travel Europe independently, and Fr. Bruce expounds on the similarities and differences between eastern and western rite Christianity. These segments are available separately on the features page.

As usual, another proverb, musical language instruction and plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

new radio format launched in Edmonton

A bit late in posting this exciting news from Edmonton ...

New owners, new management and World FM , l01.7 on the FM dial, becomes a new station after the Labour Day weekend.

Actually, it's not all that drastic. The ethnic hosts aren't changing. But ... Come September 4, the new morning man is current sister-station Sonic FM's weekend host, Graham Scott, playing 'world music.' ...


The other big deal, with Rogers Broadcasting now in charge. No more 50-year-old polkas. Each show is going to be airing the current hits from the host countries.

OK, so why the nasty jab at polkas? Some people (like Nash Holos listeners) like polkas! Those mainstream media types, forever trying to create Canadian cultural homogeneity in vibrant shades of beige ... Sigh.
Full article here.

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village Guided Tour

Summers are never long enough to be able to visit all the neat sites across this amazing country.

Here's something that is still on my list of places to visit... and that I hope wil soon migrate to the list of great places I have been to!

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is an open-air museum that was built to resemble pioneer settlements in east central Alberta.

Buildings from the surrounding communities have been moved to the Village and restored to various years within the first part of the twentieth century. As well, you can often meet people in historic costumes here who play the roles of the men, women and children who lived at the time.

This site has an awesome virtual tour of the Village that will do quite nicely until you can go there in the flesh and take a real tour! Who knows, we may bump into each there some day. ;-)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Speculating on the future of telecom in Ukraine

The Kyiv Post has published an interview with Tansu Yegen, the CEO of Astelit, Ukraine’s third-largest mobile telecom provider ... [with] a subscriber base of 6.3 million users.

Previously, Mr. Yegen worked as the Deputy General Manager of Microsoft Turkey and General Manager of Apple Turkey. ...

In his interview with the Post, Yegen predicted that the IT and telecom sectors will merge into a joint “ITC industry” in the future, opening up immense perspectives for telecom customers.
A controlling stake of 54.8 percent of Astelit is indirectly owned by Turkish telecom giant Turkcell ...


Another 45.2 percent of Astelit is owned by System Capital Management, part of the multi-billion-dollar portfolio controlled by Donetsk magnate Rinat Akhmetov.

Interesting to watch markets develop in an "emerging democracy." What seems to be developing in Ukraine, however, is an economic model exactly like the one in "established" democracies throughout the western world. Unfortunately, that model is based on crony capitalism, and modern-day Ukraine had that from the get-go.

That being said, there is no denying that in pretty much all spheres, good and bad, Ukraine is catching up to the west at a brisk pace! It's come an amazing distance in 17 years, and progress in the communications industry can only help speed up the process. Perhaps one day Ukraine can lead the world in creating a better economic model.

Entire interview here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sensible censorship

Maybe I'm obtuse, but I just can't see the point and purpose of this article in the industry ezine Radio Ink ...

"War Is Heck! PBS Stations Given Choice On Burns Documentary

The Ken Burns documentary, “The War” which chronicles World War II, will air on PBS in September and is being offered to affiliates in censored and uncensored versions. It’s the individual station’s choice on which version to air.

The 14 hour film features profanity the FCC mandates can't be heard on the public airwaves between the hours of 6AM and 10PM ...

Those stations airing the unedited version run the risk of FCC fines. ... WXEL-Channel 42 will air the clean version at 8PM and the unedited version at 10PM and later.

So what's the story here? That the FCC enforces its policy on airing profanity? That this particular station in South Florida is sensibly following the FCC's broadcast guidelines and rules? If so, it's a case of the old "dog bites man" story ... whichever way you spin it, there just isn't a "man bites dog" angle here anywhere. ;-)

Of course, it could be just that the creator of the headline wanted to share his/her brilliant wit in print. (You have to admit it is quite cute.)

Ah, the media industry ... gotta love it.