Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year 2016!

Щасливого Нового Року!


My heartfelt thanks to the listeners of Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio, the guests and contributors to the show, and the advertisers and sponsors whose  generosity and support have kept the show on the air and online in 2015. Warmest wishes for the New Year!

З побажаннями здоров'я, щастя, і всього найкращого в Новому році.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"This is why we had a Maidan."

Photos and footage of my visit with a "Cyborg," one of the Ukrainian Heroes who defended the Donetsk airport and survived an ambush in Debaltseve.

My guide and translator, Nick Buderatsky, shows us a side of the war seldom shown by the western media to a world that still can't seem to grasp the reasons "why we had a Maidan."


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ukraine's 21st Century struggle for independence

While watching one of the wonderful, breath-taking and thought-provoking videos out there these days, a couple of things occurred to me.

First, that the dance steps in Ukrainian dance, in particular of the men, were developed with more practical purposes than for entertaining audiences on a stage.

They were, literally, moves designed to save a solder's life and for defeating a murderous enemy.

In the last half of the 20th century, and the first couple of decades of the 21st, the origins of the dance moves were but a distant memory, interesting footnotes in the history of Ukrainian dance.

 Now of course, the circumstances that led to the development of those dance moves are no longer a distant memory, but today's stark reality.

Things have changed tho.

So my second thought is how today's Ukrainian freedom fighters will be mythologized long after we're all gone from this earth.

Hand to hand combat is pretty much a thing of the past now, thanks to the horrible weaponry developed in the last century. So intimidating posturing and clever kicks won't be of any use to today's kozaky fighting for Ukraine's freedom.

With the resurgence of folkloric symbols and musical styles, probably the dance moves will remain, albeit modified somewhat by modern choreography.

But the rest of it ... the songs, the symbolism, and the sentiments ... these should be recorded for posterity.

It's a different world, and not just because of technology. It's the attitudes and mindsets that technology empowered.

I believe in my heart of hearts that Ukraine may, for the first time in centuries, be able to break the yoke of foreign oppression, once and for all.

 So we should all chronicle this time in our lives.

We should keep meticulous records, digital or analogue (or both), for future generations to understand better than we ourselves do, being in the middle of it with only an eye of the storm view.

Perhaps if, with details chronicles and records, we can help them step back in time, we can help them avoid the mistakes that we have made, and are bound to make before this is all over.

 I'd be interested to see if this video inspires you as it did me. Enjoy. Lyrics and translation below.



Їхали козаки, їхали по полю
І лунала пісня про їхнюю долю.
Про їхнюю долю, про справжнюю волю.
 Їхали козаки, їхали по полю...

Cossacks rode, rode on the field
And the song was heard about their fate.
About their fate, and about the price of freedom.
The Cossacks were riding, to the battlefield ...

Їхали козаки та й пісню співали.
Про те, як любили і як воювали
За рідную землю, за батьків і друзів,
 І за спів дівочий, що дзвенить у лузі...

The Cossacks rode, singing songs.
About learning to love and how to fight
For their native land, for family and friends,
And the songs of their sweethearts rang throughout the meadows.

Ой, у лузі-лузі тая пісня ллється,
А дівоче серце, як пташина, б'ється...
Віддала кохання хлопцю молодому
Їхали козаки, їхали додому...

Oh, in the meadow a song flows
And a maiden's heart beats like a bird’s wings,
Because she gave her love to a young man.
The Cossacks were riding, coming home ...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Polish rock group dedicates song to Ukraine's freedom fighters

This morning I received a Skype message that tugged (well, tore) at my heart.

It was from Orest, in Ukraine. He originally emailed me a few months back, soliciting support for his charity, and we ended up connecting on Skype.

His English and my Ukrainian are at about par, so our conversation was a bit rough around the edges.

However, this time I could understand him just fine.

He shared a song with me, and this message:

In Ukrainian:
І крилами лелеки, повернуться живі!
Мати, син, калина, лелека - святі речі для кожного українця.
Слухаючи цю пісню нагортається сльоза.
Пісня "Біля тополі" з документального фільму "Рейд" Відомий польський гурт Enej присвятим воїнам, що загинули за свободу та незалежність України, пісню. 
English translation:
And on the wings of a stork, return alive!
Mother, son, kalyna, the stork – these are sacred things to all Ukrainiansю
This song will bring tears to your eyes.
It is called "Near the Poplar" from the documentary film "Raid."
The famous Polish group Enej (Aeneas) dedicated this song to the soldiers who died fighting for the freedom and independence of Ukraine. 
Having never heard of this film, I decided to see what I could find out about it. What I found out surprised me ... Raid is about the popular video game World of Warfare.

In the video below, the young man speaking before the song starts reminds me very much of a "Cyborg" I visited in a Kyiv hospital last spring. His name is Vadym. He was caught in an ambush during a real-life raid in Debaltseve. He survived, fortunately, albeit without his arm and both legs.

I'll share his story here soon. In the meantime, enjoy the song that Orest sent, in memory of those who did not survive the real-life raids unleashed on Ukraine by their Russian "brothers."

The song is Біля Тополі - Near the Poplar, by Polish group Enej (Aneas) joined by popular Ukrainian artist Taras Chubai.

Слава Україні ... Слава героїм!