Monday, March 17, 2008

Ukraine's Eurovision 2008 entry



I know Ani Lorak is wildly popular but ... am I the only one who would like to see more "Ukrainian content" in music from Ukraine?? I don't mean just Ukrainian language in the lyrics (altho that would be preferable), but some real Ukrainian soul in the music itself.

So much contemporary Ukrainian music is virtually indistinguishable from what's produced in any other country. And when they sing in English, as Ani Lorak does in this Eurovision entry, it's totally indistinguishable. IMO Verka Serduchka's entry last year (despite being a tad, um, controversial), was far more interesting and colourful than this year's soulless, generic entry.



Mandry, Mariya Burmaka, Ruslana, etc. had a great sound for a while there ... which raised my hopes that a distinctive Ukrainian musical genre would emerge, or even an East European "sound" in which Ukrainian music would be as identifiable a component as, say, Cuban is in the Latin American genre.

Forgive me for imagining how wonderful it would be to see (in this lifetime!) a new generation emerge with the musical and marketing chutzpah of the likes of this classic Ukrainian artist from the 20th century:



Oh well, maybe someday.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Ukraine makes out this year in the Eurovision contest.

A Spiritual Moment returns to Nash Holos

Good news for those who have written in to say they've missed the Spiritual Moment on Nash Holos!

Із Духові Твоєму (And With Your Spirit) with Fr. Bruce Power has been off the air for the past several months due to health reasons, and I still have had no word when (or whether) Father will return.

However, Fr. Edward Danylo Evanko (yes, that Edward Evanko!), the new pastor of Holy Dormition Ukrainian Catholic Church in Richmond, has graciously agreed to join Nash Holos with a Spiritual Moment of his own, called Знами Бог (God is With Us). His first segment will air on April 6.

In the meantime, he'll join me on the Easter Sunday Nash Holos program to discuss his new vocation and the surprising crossover from his "old" career in showbusiness.

Fr. Edward Danylo will be on every other week, alternating with an Orthodox priest who I hope to also introduce soon. (If you know of one who would be interested in a radio ministry on Nash Holos, please let me know!)

Vancouver audio archives updated to March 16

Audio archives of last Sunday's program are now available at the Nash Holos website.
  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, some quick and easy tips on preparing the perfect Easter ham
  • On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna has tips on some great European stopovers
  • Local political observer Mirko Petriw discusess the Orange aftermath with Ukrainian political commentator Mykola Riabchuk
  • Upcoming community events including Easter week church services
  • Plenty of Great Ukrainian music! Musical theme: "Green" ... in honour of our Irish friends.

Here's this week's recipe...

Easy Baked Easter Ham

6-8 lb ready-to-serve smoked ham

For glaze:
¼ c prepared mustard
½ c brown sugar

For baking liquid:
1 ½ cups apple cider
2 whole cloves
1 small bay leaf
1 sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.

1. Skin the ham and score the fat in diamond shapes so the glaze will soak in and stick to the ham.
2. Mix the mustard and sugar and spread on the ham. (For extra beauty and flavor, place a clove into each diamond of fat.)
3. Place the ham and other ingredients in a large roaster
4. Bake at 350˚ F for 1 – 1 ½ hours, basting three times during the last half hour of baking.
5. Tent with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving, if serving warm.
6. Serve hot or cold, thinly sliced with beet relish, mayonnaise with horseradish and/or mustard assortment.

Try it ... It's Ukrainian!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ukrainian churches in BC

I've added a page of Ukrainian churches in B.C. to the Nash Holos website, for those looking for one in their area.

You can find a link to it on the features page. There's also a list of Easter week church services there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vancouver audio archives updated to March 9

Audio archives of last Sunday's program are now available at the Nash Holos website, including Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave).

On Ukrainian Food Flair, learn how to make beautiful bread doves to decorate your Easter paska. On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna has the perfect vacation solution for young travellers to Europe. An interview with Vancouver playwright Aaron Bushkowsky on his play My Chernobyl. Proverb, upcoming community events and plenty of Great Ukrainian music! Musical theme : a tribute to Taras Shevchenko.

Here's this week's recipe... you can listen to the instructions here.

Bread Doves for Easter Paska

If you are making Ukrainian Easter bread, called Paska, you can use the same dough to make these delightful birds. However, a short cut is to use purchased frozen dough from the supermarket, or fresh dough from your favourite baker. (It’s probably a good idea to practice on purchased dough when you are making these doves for the first time.)

1. Roll out a rope of dough about 1 inch thick and 5 inches long.
2. Loop the dough into a knot shape.
3, Shape one end into a head, pinching the dough for a beak and insert whole cloves for the eyes.
4. Flatten the other end for a tail, with shears or slicing with a sharp knife, snip 3 sections to resemble feathers.
5. Let rise until chubby but not overblown.
6. Brush with well beaten egg.
Bake at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes until golden.

These doves can be made in other sizes too. Simply increase or decrease the width and length of the dough rope.

Try it - It's Ukrainian!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ukrainian Canadian pioneer photos

If you'd like a glimpse into life on the Canadian prairies for Ukrainian settlers check out this website (here.)

It's a collection of photos taken in the Wroxton and Calder areas in Saskatchewan in the 1920s. (The area is not far from where I grew up, and I recall driving by those towns countless times on the way to and from Yorkton.)

The website is absolutely gorgeous and the photos are accompanied by a bit of colourful commentary ... either some info about the people in the photo or, where there was none, some interesting speculation.

It's called Steve Huziak: Prairie Faces and it can be found here. Well worth a visit!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sloppy media coverage of Alberta election

I found out rather late that Alberta's Premier Stelmach was elected with a huge majority. That I found out at all is certainly no thanks to the mainstream media, which doesn't treat this story as particularly newsworthy.

Interestingly, both national and local media for the most part made it clear they were less than pleased with the outcome ... and their sloppy, biased coverage of the election and the campaign put one in mind of the Keystone Cops.

Graham Hicks is one of the few Alberta columnists who didn't have a knife poised to stick into the man known as Steady Eddie. And, Hicks had the guts to go up one side of his mistaken, misguided, and far from impartial colleagues .... and down the other.

His dressing down would be quite amusing if the reason for it wasn't so infuriating. While the MSM's snub is no doubt due primarily to partisan political preferences, a person can be forgiven for suspecting that the sneering behind it comes from a lingering anti-Ukrainian bias.

Since this isn't a political blog (and I mention this election outcome only because it's a media issue involving a self-identified Ukrainian Canadian), I'll leave you to get the details from the source and decide the source of the media's disdain.

Hicks' article is here, and there's more at his blog (here).

UPDATE: A Toronto journalist munches on a slice of humble pie here. (Would some "ice cream with laughter" enhance the flavour of crow any?) Apparently, however, most media are still in denial, particularly at the CBC, where they seem pretty parochial as well as partisan.

H/T to Kate McMillan at Small Dead Animals for this additional amusement courtesy her "Amazing Kreskin School of Journalism" posts.

(I know it's not very nice to gloat, but sometimes a person just can't help it.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Vancouver audio archives updated to March 2

Audio archives of last Sunday's program are now available at the Nash Holos website, including Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave).

On Ukrainian Food Flair, a delicious recipe for a quick sweet rye bread. On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, highlights of Khreshchatyk, Kyiv's main street. An interview with Jars Balan, author of the new study guide for the feature film, Acts of Imagination. Proverb, upcoming community events and plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Here's this week's recipe... Enjoy!

Quick Sweet Rye Bread

½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 large egg, beaten
4-5 cups rye flour

1. In a small saucepan, boil the water, sugars and honey together for 3-4 minutes, then cool.
2. Mix in the egg and soda.
3. Place the flour in a large bowl and form a well in the centre.
4. Pour the liquid into the well and work the flour in.
5. Knead dough until smooth.
6. Divide in two and place each half into a well-buttered loaf pan.
7. Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes. Rest 15 minutes before serving.

Try it – it’s Ukrainian!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Write on and read on - with best-selling author Marina Lewycka

For fans of humourous Ukrainian fiction, check out this "short history of Marina Lewycka in English."

It's an easy and enjoyable read, offering both insights into the author, and inspiration and encouragement for aspiring authors. Incidentally, it's on a website promoting a writer's workshop in France this summer, with Lewycka as the writer-in-residence. Here are a few excerpts:

.... She's down-to-earth and quietly droll, with a Yorkshire accent. She has just turned 60 and has been writing constantly since she was four years old, so it's more accurate to call her a late achiever than a late starter, she says. The breakthrough came two years ago with the publication of her first novel, the unappetisingly titled A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

Most reviewers loved it. ... It was shortlisted for the Orange fiction prize, won two top British prizes for comic writing and was on the Man Booker Prize longlist.

Readers also loved it. So far it has been translated into 29 languages and film rights have been sold to Alison Owen (producer of Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett). ...

The book's success has utterly astonished her ...

Read the entire article on Marina Lewycka, her wildly successful novel, and a sneak preview of her next one. You'll find it here.