Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ukrainian and Irish soul cousins

Ten years ago on St. Patrick's Day, one of my favourite writers, Orysia Tracz, wrote an article called My Irish soul-cousins ...

As I watched and listened to the "Irish Tenors" singing during the Prairie Public Television membership drive this week, with each song I felt a closer kinship to them and the Irish. A long time ago I heard someone say that the Ukrainians are the Irish of the East, and the Irish are the Ukrainians of the West. Much in our histories is common: a fierce love of land, independent spirit, invasion and subjugation, intense struggles for freedom over the centuries, genocides by famine, emigration, exile, foreigners settling the land, invaders' attempts to systematically destroy the language, history and culture, loss of ethnic lands, and ultimate independence. Both our people have that ancient folk heritage, and we all sing, dance, cry, fight and love. ...

In their performances the tenors sing about and live the lives and history of the Irish. Even via the television screen I could feel the intense connection between the singers and their lyrics and the Dublin audience...

Our "striletski" (Ukrainian Sich Riflemen of World War I) and "povstanski" (Ukrainian Insurgent Army of World War II) songs express the same thoughts. ... Our songs about leaving home for a better place across the sea are just as melancholy. ...


This touching story is timeless. So enjoy! Full article here.

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