Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part I: A wonderful start

On Wed. Nov 28, at about noon, I arrived at Edmonton International Airport where I was met by my hostess, the lovely and charming Molly Anne Warring (author of Paradise Acres and Lost Paradise).

She whisked me away to lunch at Louisiana Purchase where we had a delicious cajun chicken stew. The food and ambience were so good we returned the next day and asked Steven Chwok, the new host of the Zabava Hour on CFCW Radio Edmonton, to join us.

I was very impressed with Steven; he is a very sharp cookie and a great guy! And he is a quick study, which is quite evident after listening to about 2 minutes of the Zabava Hour. He's an exciting addition to the Ukrainian Canadian broadcasting scene, and I expect he will do his part to raise the bar!

Edmonton was awesome, and Molly Anne kept me on the move for 4 days! Stay tuned for more installments of my "excellent adventure."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Call it like it is

NDP MP Peggy Nash spoke on the Holodomor in the House on Nov. 26, calling on Canada to call a spade a spade and a genocide a genocide.

We can only hope it will result in the politicians in power growing the balls to do the same.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Paris to Kyiv and Manitoba Chamber Orchesta in concert

Here's a musical treat for lucky Winnipeggers:

Paris To Kyiv will be in concert with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra on December 04, 2007 in Winnipeg.

Guest conductor will be Alain Trudel, master of multiple disciplines from the baroque to the avant garde, jazz and world music.

The Paris To Kyiv ensemble will comprise vocalist Alexis Kochan, jazz-violist Richard Moody, and bandura player Julian Kytasty.

For the past 10 years Kochan and her collaborators have blended ancient Ukrainian music with contemporary sounds. Drawing on the deep musical traditions of Eastern Europe, they weave a universal sonic tapestry, working in strands of jazz and new music, medieval Slavonic chant, dance tunes inspired by Carpathian Mountain fiddlers and blind bandura players, original compositions and ancient ritual songs with roots in the Neolithic.

The orchestral selections enlarge the soundscape further with works by a French, a Norwegian and two Polish composers. The concert opens with Albert Roussel's Sinfonietta for strings, op. 52, followed by Edvard Grieg's Two Norwegian Airs, op. 63.

Then, after a set with the Orchestra and Paris To Kyiv, we'll hear Witold Lutoslawski's Overture for strings and Old Polish Suite by Andrzej Panufnik.

The concert begins at 7:30 pm in Westminster United Church, 745 Westminster at Maryland. Tickets are $26.50 for adults, $24 for seniors and $7.50 for students (incl. GST) and are available at McNally Robinson, Ticketmaster (780-3333) or MCO's Ticketline (783-7377).

For more information on Paris to Kyiv (featured often on Nash Holos) visit their website.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov 25

Audio archives for Nash Holos are now available on the Nash Holos website.

  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar shares a recipe for Christmas Honey Cake. (Get it here.)
  • On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel shares the splendours of Pyryhova, an outdoor museum near Kyiv.
  • On A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power reflects on the Holodomor.
  • 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... This week's program honours the memory of those who perished in the Holodomor, and the survivors who for a lifetime have carried memories of that horror. Featuring two new songs dedicated to the Holodomor, by Vasyl Kavun (Ukraine) and Stepan Pasisznyk (London), and Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko's letter to Ukrainians, read in both Ukrainian and English.
  • Nash Holos Ukrainian Language School re-opens next week.

The Nov. 25 broadcast of Chetverta Khvylia is now also in the audio archives.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas recipe

This recipe aired on Nash Holos November 25, 2007. It's a quick Christmas honey bread that can be made ahead and stored for several weeks. It’s usually made with buckwheat honey, which imparts a rich dark color and an intense flavour. There are many types of honey available, each with its own special flavor. Choose the one you like best!

Sylvia’s Christmas Honey Bread

2½ cups honey, buckwheat or your favorite
8 large eggs, separated
3/8 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 whole orange, juice and zest
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup sour cream
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1. Liquefy honey (if using solid) by heating in a small saucepan to boiling point, then cool.
2. Beat the yolks in butter until light and fluffy.
3. Add in the honey and sugar to the butter mixture, and continue beating.
4. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the honey mixture.
5. Mix in the orange juice and zest, coffee, and sour cream.
6. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into the batter, a little at a time.
7. Stir in the nuts.
8. Pour into 2 well greased and floured large loaf pans.
9. Bake at 325°F for one hour.
10. Cool on a rack.

Makes 2 loaves.
Wrap loaves in aluminum foil to store.

Try it, it's Ukrainian!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

1933 - new song

British Ukrainian singer-songwriter Stepan Pasicznyk just released another touching, heartwrenching song.

This one is called, simply, 1933.

It debuted in London this weekend at a Holodomor commemoration. It will also debut on Canadian radio this weekend ... it will air on the Sunday Nov. 25 broadcast of Nash Holos.

Its internet home is here. Lyrics are also provided.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ukraine becoming Hollywood East?

The Kyiv Post reports that Hollywood has discovered Ukraine is a good place to work in.

American screenwriter Billy Frolick, whose biggest project so far was the script for the acclaimed cartoon “Madagascar,” is having the next animation based on his screenplay made in Ukraine.

... [T]he music for the film will be written by Ukrainian composers and the background symphonic parts will be recorded in Kyiv.

... Frolick [finds]that work in the American studio system is difficult, as it’s hard for authors to retain their vision, and he sees more possibilities for him to avoid this by working in Ukraine. Somehow his words bring to memory the times when the pioneers of American cinema fled from New York to California, to have more freedom doing what they want. So is Ukraine becoming New Hollywood?


Message to Ukraine: Careful what you wish for...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oksana Bilozir honours Holodomor victims

This outstanding video features one of Ukraine's most enduring and beloved singers, Oksana Bilozir.

In it she pays homage to the memory of the 7-10 million Ukrainians who were starved to death by the Stalinist regime in the Holodomor (Great Famine) of 1932-33 in a deliberate act of mass murder that many countries todau still refuse to label a "genocide."

The video was reportedly released as a public service video in Ukraine, and the music a famous piece (originally instrumental) called "Melodija" by Myroslav Skoryk.

(Many thanks to Roman Brytan of Radio Zhurnal at World FM in Edmonton for sending it round.)

UPDATE: In response to a reader request (see comments) for the lyrics to this song, they can be found (in Ukrainian) here.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov. 18

Nash Holos archives are now updated to Nov. 18.
  • Sylvia has a recipe for buckwheat varenyky with cherry filling
  • Myrna shares a few more hot spots in Ukraine
  • Fr. Bruce reflects on an often overlooked gift of autumn
  • Proverb of the Week,
  • items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland
  • and of course plenty of Great Ukrainian Music!
Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holodomor exhibit in New Jersey

If you're in the New York area, you're invited to the Ukrainian American Cultural Center in Whippany on Thursday Nov. 15 to a new exhibit by Dr Margaret Colley of London, England that includes new documentation on the cover up of the Holodomor.

Dr. Colley is the niece of Gareth Jones and the exhibit will include large scale reproductions of the lost diaries including one discovered just last year. These pages paint a picture far more chilling than any on the Holodomor made public to date.

Dr Colley last appeared in the U.S. in 2004 at the Columbia University Holodomor Conference with Dr James Mace and Dr Mark Von Hagen. This is a rare opportunity.

The presentation starts at 7:30 PM, Thursday, Nov 15 followed by a "Chance to Meet the Author" Buffet.

Admission is free. More information here.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov 11

Archives for Vancouver's Ukrainian radio programs Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia are now available for download!
  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar has a recipe for yummy B.C. buns ... buttermilk cornmeal, that is!
  • On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel has some highlights on Odessa.
  • On A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power has a special Remembrance Day message.
  • As well ... Proverb of the Week, other items of interest to the Ukrainian community, and plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe!
  • CD of the Week: V-V - Original Classics
Enjoy!

Ottawa radio program devoted to Kytasty this weekend

Irena Bell, host of the Ukrainian radio program on CHIN Radio Ottawa is devoting her Nov 16 & 18 radio programs to the music of Hryhory Kytasty on the occasion of the 100th anniv. of his birth this year.

She was devastated to learn that his son Andrew's house burnt down during the California fires in mid-October, together with the fabulous Kytasty Foundation site. What a dreadful loss, for them and for the world.

Info on the fire can be found here and here.

Irena's Radio Program airs on CHIN Ottawa 97.9 FM Fridays 10-11p.m. & Sundays 8-9 a.m. Can also be heard live (streaming) at http://www.chinradio.com/ .

UPDATE:
It appears they may be considering rebuilding the Kytasty Foundation site, so if you have downloaded material from the site in the past, please consider sending Andrij Kytasty a CD copy of it. Mail CDs to:

The Kytasty Foundation
4262 Biona Place
San Diego, CA 92116

Monday, November 12, 2007

Verka Serduchka on Nash Holos

Since the discussion on this post has revolved around an off-topic comment about a Verka Serduchka selection that aired on the Nov. 4 broadcast of Nash Holos, I have re-posted the original post and retitled this one to make it more relevant to the discussion.

While I am thrilled to have visitors comment on any and all posts, I would respectfully ask that you please keep your comments relevant to the post. A comment about a selection on Nash Holos should be made on the corresponding update which I (usually) post every week after uploading the archives to the website.

The original post about the gorgeous new UPA song has been moved here. For anyone still interested in participating in the merits of Verka Serduchka on Nash Holos, in Ukraine and Russia, or wherever, this is the post to do it at, so go crazy! ;-)

Here's a YouTube video of the song that started it all:

Beautiful song for UPA's 65th anniversary

Ludwig in London just released a gorgeous tune by in honour of the 65th anniversary of UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. It aired on Nash Holos on Nov. 11.

In Tak Chy Ni (Yes or No) a young man tells his sweetheart he needs to leave her to join the Ukrainian Resistance (UPA), and asks for reassurance of her love for him. This song is about both kinds of sacrifice - that of active service, and that of undying love and moral support.

This brave army fought both Nazis and communists before, during and after WWII. Because it fought for justice and truth, it has had, and still has, many enemies. The Nazis are long gone, but communists and their sympathizers in the west as well as in the "post-soviet states" continue to demonize and slander it. In fact, Wikipedia had to lock edits to its entry on UPA because of "vandalism." Ганьба!

This song is a fitting tribute to the many brave souls who perished to save an ungrateful world from totalitarianism, and who continue to fight defamation and the right to acknowledgement of their significant contribution to planet Earth.

You can download it here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ukrainian political satire

If you haven't yet visited the fabulous Ukrainiana blog, I absolutely insist you start now! The author is a flippin' genius.

Check out his latest piece of political satire... Brilliant ... clever, cutting, hilarious!

(Molodetz, Taras!)

Selective historical memory no asset to Canada

My first reaction to this article was ... surprise, surprise!

A new study released just ahead of Remembrance Day suggests the majority of young people score a failing grade on the subject of Canada's history. That's despite major education initiatives over the past decade to try to boost the collective memory, such as the construction of the Canadian War Museum and television initiatives such as "Heritage Minutes" segments from The Historica Foundation.

Right. What do you expect in a country whose national media refused to air Canadian historical documentaries like "Freedom Had a Price", to honour certain Canadian war heroes, and where bookstores don't bother stocking books on Canadian historical fiction like Kobzar's Children??

However, as the article illustrates, and some of the comments suggest, that's not the history that the cultural elites want the public to know. They're more interested in the Canadian selective memory than the collective memory, as the article goes on to illustrate:

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • In 1997, 36 per cent of Canadians knew the year of Confederation compared to just 26 per cent in 2007;
  • In 1997, 54 per cent of those polled knew the name of Canada's first prime minister, while just 46 per cent now know that John A. Macdonald held this position;
  • Respondents' scores on questions about Canada's military history increased. In 1997, 31 per cent knew that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in the First World War, a percentage that has now risen to 37 per cent;
  • In the recent study, 37 per cent knew Nov. 11 marked the end of the First World War, compared to 33 per cent in the earlier study.

Now of course it is appalling that so few students, and adult Canadians for that matter, know these things. These are the basics, for heaven's sake!

But, as mentioned above, there is more, much more, history that many influential Canadians don't want learned.

I find it every bit as appalling that all too many still feel that if you come to Canada you have to forget where you came from, and especially the culture of where you came from... including the history.

And that they consider that the people who don't forget, and especially those who continue to honour cultural traditions of their (non-Anglo) forbears, are not "real" Canadians, no matter what they did ... or are doing ... to build this country. Basically, just because they didn't forget.

With a self-limiting attitude like that, no Canadian should seriously expect better than this report.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov. 4

Audio archives for the Nov 4 broadcasts of Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) are now available at the Nash Holos website.

As usual, lots of good listening:
  • Sylvia shares her delight with salo ...
  • Myrna has some highlights on Lviv ...
  • Fr. Bruce has a good comeback for those who claim "the Devil made me do it" ...
  • An interview with Ric Beairsto, co-creator and co-producer of Mixed Blessings, an upcoming TV series about a cross-cultural romance in an Alberta boomtown between a Ukrainian plumber and a Cree waitress ...
  • Proverb of the Week and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ...
  • And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe!
Enjoy!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Visitors ...

Very interestingly, I was just checking my stats (which I hadn't done in quite a while) and noticed that my last post, "How to kill your golden goose" has been getting some hits from the US capital ...

Wonder what that's about?

Here I go, ranting away in what I imagined was comfortable obscurity ... and it would appear I was quite mistaken about that!

Just goes to show that blogging really is all about content. Wow.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How to kill your golden goose

This article is a modern day music industry adaptation of the Aesop's fable about the idiots who killed the goose that laid them a golden egg everyday. Seems they weren't satisfied with what they were getting. Sound familiar?

The MusicFIRST Coalition - -- whose members include the RIAA, SoundExchange, the American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Academy, and the Recording Artists Coalition -- was formed in June to lobby for a performance royalty from broadcast radio and television.

Rumour has it the coalition is proposing changes to the law that would ... have small commercial stations -- "small" is not defined -- pay a flat royalty rate of $5,000 per year, while noncoms and college stations pay $1,000 a year. ...

Asked for comment, MusicFIRST spokesman Tod Donhauser [said], "This document expresses the musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition's fair and balanced approach to a performance right on radio. We are advocating for a long-overdue performance royalty that would be fair to both performers and broadcasters, therefore we are recommending an accommodation be made for small broadcasters, college stations, nonprofits, and religious programming. AM and FM radio should compensate artists for their hard work, talent, and dedication, and not least of all, for the content that drives their listeners and advertising revenue."
...

Radio does compensate artists by giving them something valuable - publicity - for free. What does MusicFIRST give artists for free? Come to think of it, why is MusicFIRST insisting that radio stations - which already provide free airtime - compensate artists in the first place? That's rich (pardon the pun), given that according to one industry whistleblower, record labels routinely rip off the artists they sign.

This last part really takes the cake for hypocrisy and cyncism, tho:

... Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) ... planned to introduce legislation that would impose a performance royalty on broadcasters, and MusicFIRST and the RIAA on one side and the NAB on the other have been dueling over the matter in the press and on Capitol Hill.

MusicFIRST ... took exception to NAB President/CEO David Rehr's practice of referring to a performance right as a "tax on local radio" and sent Rehr a dictionary defining the word tax as "a contribution for the support of a government."


Um, ok, let's see now. MusicFIRST is trying to get legislation passed by the government to impose this new fee on radio stations.

Perhaps someone should send MusicFIRST a definition of "support of a government."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

TV series about Aboriginal-Ukrainian "blended" family premieres tonight

Mixed Blessings is a 6-episode TV series about a cross-cultural romance between a Ukrainian plumber and a Cree waitress... It's essentially "Corner Gas" meets "The Brady Bunch" in the Alberta boomtown of Ft. MacMurray. It stars Edmonton-born Gary Basaraba and native actress Tina Lameman.

You can get a "sneak preview" in this article in today's Edmonton Journal.

If you want a "behind-the-scenes" background check out my interview with the series' co-creator and co-producer on Sunday's program, which is archived (along with the stand-alone interview) at the Nash Holos website. (It will also be rebroadcast on Roman Brytan's Radio Zhurnal on WorldFM radio in Edmonton sometime this week.)

Mixed Blessings premiers on APTN tonight and will air 3 times a week during prime time.

Tuesdays, starting November 6 at 9 PM (ET/PT)
Fridays, from November 9 at 8:30 PM
Sundays, from November 11 at 8 PM

Enjoy!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Recording industry cash grab update

South of the border, the recording industry is again demonstrating its preference to expend its collective energy lobbying government to skim off tax dollars instead of earning its by keep serving customers.

Consequently, government efforts are being expended either promoting or trying to stop the industry's attempt to impose a "performance royalty" on radio stations... which amounts to nothing more than another cash grab attempt by a lazy and unimaginative industry elite who want to continue sitting on their laurels in the lap of luxury.

To trot out "destitute artists" and lay the blame on anyone else (as this article points out) is the height of cynicism and self-delusion. If the recording industry was so concerned about artists, they would give artists better deals instead of lining their own pockets with money that should rightfully go to artists.

Of course, it's much easier to pick the public's pockets with another tax on business than to earn money by doing the real work of actually serving the market they (or perhaps more accurately, their predecessors) created.

It's too bad more broadcast schools don't teach their students the truth about how the business really operates. There are too many profs spouting goofy theories (like this article illustrates) to support their anti-capitalist Marxist ideology, leaving those interested in the truth to find it in obscure books like this.

Of course, it's not necessarily a bad thing for the rest of us if the RIAA and its ilk continues to be blinded by their own greed. Because if they keep shooting themselves in the foot, even if they can catch the next ball technology lobs their way, they won't be able to run very far with it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Pimsleur Approach" a snub to Ukrainians?

I was absolutely awestruck by the irony I encountered in an excellent e-letter I subscribe to, called Early to Rise.

The very first article, The Secret of Incremental Degradation, asks: "Is your zeal for a good deal sacrificing quality?" Essentially, it illustrates how businesses that indulge in short-sighted short shrifting are being "penny-wise but pound-foolish."

... The theory goes that you can eventually ruin your business by making many very small downgrades in the quality of the product or service you offer. ... For a business to grow, it must be profitable. And if you want your business to be profitable, you have to spend less than you make. But that doesn’t mean you should cheapen your product or customer service. ... As a businessperson interested in growing a profitable, entrepreneurial business in the Internet age, you should make it your job to increase - not decrease - the value you give to your customers. ...

Very illuminating article, I thought. Great business advice.

Then the next item was this advertisement: Rapidly “Absorb” Any Language in 10 Days… Using the Revolutionary Method Employed by the FBI and CIA!"

Well, being a perpetual (and perpetually struggling) student of the Ukrainian language - and someone who is very fond of shortcuts, guess what I did next...

Lo and behold, up came the Pimsleur Approach website. Oh good, I thought. Some time ago I had looked into this program and noticed that they had cassettes but not CDs for Ukrainian language instruction. I called their customer service to double-check and was told that they didn't have Ukrainian in CDs "yet" but perhaps in the future...

So, this ad reminded me to check back and see if they finally had CDs.

Well, it appears that is now all they have. But in the process of getting rid of their cassette offerings, they also got rid of Ukrainian as a language in their product offerings.

The irony would be comical if it weren't so disappointing. Not to mention insulting.

But it's also puzzling. The cost of producing CDs is miniscule, and turning analog sound files into digital is relatively easy and inexpensive. So why on earth offer fewer languages than before - and risk creating this kind of bad business karma?

All I can say is that if the decision-makers at Pimsleur subscribe to this newsletter, the advice dispensed therein obviously is lost on them. So much for their business acumen...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Russian troublemakers hack Ukrainian President’s website

This article is a perfect illustration of the old adage that losers will always tear down instead of building up ...

The official website of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is still down today, after a Russian nationalist group claimed to have disabled it over the weekend.

Yushchenko's press service said it had registered some 18,000 separate cyberattacks, most of them from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

... it's the latest run-in between the group, which is banned in Ukraine, and authorities in Kyiv. ... The ban followed ... an attempt by Eurasian Youth Union members to destroy Ukrainian national emblems on Hoverla Mountain, which is part of the Carpathians in western Ukraine. ...


It's not the first time government websites in a former Soviet republic have been disabled by hackers said to be operating from Russia. ...

I can give the Prez the names of a couple of excellent Canadian computer engineers who have been successfully fending off hackers of this ilk for over a decade.

Hmmm ... I'd better go call them and negotiate my finder's fee. ;-)

In the meantime, there's more about the miscreants causing all this trouble in my friend Taras's excellent coverage of the Hoverla Mountain travesty at his excellent Ukrainiana blog (here).