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Friday, April 25, 2008

Another big-name Brit doing concert in Ukraine

How nice that Paul McCartney is going to Kyiv for a follow-up to Elton John's benefit concert. Especially since it's such a long way from the England.

Hundreds of thousands of music fans are expected to descend on Kiev this June for a free outdoor concert by Paul McCartney.

The former Beatle and Ukrainian tycoon Victor Pinchuk jointly announced on Thursday an event they have billed the Independence Concert, slated for Kiev's Independence Square on June 14. The show will also be broadcast across the country.

"It's going to be [a] great evening hopefully for the [sic] Ukraine. Pull together, groove, rock 'n' roll — all together," McCartney said in a statement.

Full article here.

I know that Ukrainians are hungry for western music, so I can't criticize the concert. These are pop-music and pop-culture icons which, in their heydey, were forbidden to Ukrainians by the soviet regime. So I don't begrudge them the music that I grew up on (and loved).

But that was then. These days I prefer this Brit:

He was part of a recent benefit concert that had a bit more depth and substance than splashy affairs like this one. And, he composes and performs songs like this which tell Ukrainians their own truth .... rather than blank it out with glitzy, glamorous extravaganzas that will, in the end, benefit the promoters more than the Ukrainian people.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Crash Course in Ukrainian dance

I recently came across a list of Ukrainian dance moves here which appears to be for the nimble and *very* brave.

But, if you fit that description, here are a few to get started. Proceed at your own risk ... Nash Holos assumes no responsibility! :-)

Perekidni - A cartwheel with no hands, where the torso is horizontal and the legs are more vertical.

Kiltse - A jump performed by arching the back and kicking both legs out at the same time backwards to reach the head.

Koleso - A cartwheel performed with one or two hands.

Koza - About a 45 degree angle tumble in the air. The legs are held at a bent 2nd position.

Full list here.

Ukrainian environmental messengers

Lots of flash and splash from Ukrainian pop diva Ruslana, who was recently interviewed on America's NPR network:

Meanwhile, Stepan Pasicznyk, a.k.a. Ludwig, delivers a similar message in a typically British no-nonsense, direct fashion.

Hopefully, their messages will hit home with someone during this Earth Week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Poached Pears - Recipe for April 13

Pears Poached in White Wine

Like the apple, there are countless varieties of pears. We are usually offered four or five varieties in most supermarkets to choose from so use the pear you like the best for baking or eating. Make sure you use ripe (but not mushy) pears for this recipe. Pears will ripen on the counter, so you can buy them green a few days ahead.

Poached pears in white wine is a delicious, light classic. It is definitely considered to be a wonderful Easter-time dessert for Ukrainians.

4 firm ripe pears
1 1/2 cups white wine*
2 tbsp red currant jelly
3/4 cup sugar or honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 whole cloves

1. Pare the pears, leaving the stems attached. Use a melon baller to remove the core from the blossom end. Set aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and add to a pot large enough to fit four standing pears. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat.
3. Add the pears, cover and simmer about 20 minutes, or until pears are tender. (Use a skewer to test.)
4. Remove pears and place on a serving plate or in a bowl. Continue to boil the sauce over medium-high heat until it is thick and becomes syrupy.
5. Pour the syrup over the pears and thoroughly chill.
6. Garnish with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Serves 4.

*Make sure to use a good wine for this recipe, one that you would enjoy drinking.

Try it ... It's Ukrainian!

Why should you go to Ukrainian festivals?

So you don't miss out on stuff like this!

(From Vesna Festival a year or two ago...)

Tyt i Tam - CD of the Week April 13, 2008

The CD of the Week on Nash Holos April 13 was Tyt i Tam's debut album (self-titled).

It features Ukrainian folk favourites, and two original tracks, all "dancetastic" to use their word.

The CD arrived at the station a couple of weeks ago, so once again I had new music to listen to on the drive home (a great perk of doing this program). I'd actually been waiting for it for a while, so I was quite anxious to listen to it.

After a few seconds of the first track I said to myself, "This sounds promising!" ... and all the rest of the way home it definitely fulfilled that promise.

It's very upbeat, bursting with a combination of youthful energy, incredible musical mastery, and a unique yet authentic Ukrainian sound. Great vocals as well as instrumentals, with some delightful surprises. You'll definitely need your dancing boots ... I defy you to sit still while listening to this CD!

The Saskatoon-based Tyt i Tam will be performing at the city's Vesna Festival May 8 & 9 (alongside Shoom from Winnipeg). A few months later they will release their second album "Azh do Rannya" at Canada's National Ukrainian Festival taking place August 2-4 in Dauphin, MB.

You can read about their exploits, book a performance, or buy their CD, at their website (here). I heartily recommend all of the above!

Vancouver audio archives updated to April 20

Nash Holos audio archives up to and including last Sunday's program are now available at the Nash Holos website.

I'm just back from a brief but very welcome vacation in beautiful Lake Tahoe, Nevada, so blogging and updates will be back to normal soon.


* On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar has more Easter recipes for those celebrating on the Julian calendar: poached pears (April 13) and Easter Babka (April 20).

* On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel has the scoop on the May 31 European Festival, and an upcoming summer tour, "Best of Eastern Europe" (April 20).

* On A Spiritual Moment, Благовісник - The Evangelist (Blahovisnyk) ... Fr. Ihor Kutash tells the fascinating story of St. Mary of Egypt (April 13), and Знами Бог - God is With Us (Znamy Boh) ... Fr. Edward Danylo Evanko reflects on the Samaritan Woman's encounter with Jesus at the well (April 20).

* Petriw's Political Perspectives ... a 2-part discussion between local political observer Mirko Petriw and Ukrainain political commentator Mykola Riabchuk, on the politics of remembrance in the context of the 300th anniversary of Hetman Ivan Mazeppa.

* Proverb of the Week, community events listings, and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and beyond.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe! CD of the Week: Tyt i Tam (April 13) and a hot new number by Riffmaster (April 20) whose introduction to NH listeners comes courtesy Vasyl.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MSM disrespecting its customers?

Speaking of bad attitudes, I guess I shouldn't single out Ukrainians. Here in Canada we're not always as "nice" as we like to present ourselves to the world.

Take this e-article for example, on the website of one of Canada's major broadcasters.

It lists TV's top 10 infomerical "stars" ... in a tone that is somewhat more than slightly mocking. Altho in fairness, perhaps the writer was just trying to be funny.

But it was coming across several references to viewers as "losers" that I found particularly shocking, and not the least bit funny.

With all due respect to the artistic elements involved, the media/entertainment industry is still a business ... and I just can't see how insulting customers could be considered a winning business strategy.

For my part, I start every Nash Holos program addressing my listeners as "дорогі слухачі" (dear listeners) or "шановні слухачі" (esteemed listeners). And I mean it. My listeners are very dear to me. Without them there would be no need for me to produce Nash Holos ... which I love doing.

It's a practice I began from my first days in radio, when I noticed my mentors and role models doing it. I haven't yet come across any good reason to not continue. It's a throwback to the golden days of showbiz, back when stars used to end their shows by blowing a kiss and saying "I love you" to the audience instead of scowling and smashing their instruments.

But, I dunno. Maybe times have changed, and such practices are completely passe. Maybe I'm just out of touch with contemporary society and the business world's latest marketing strategies.

So, is sneering at media consumers the "cool" thing to do these days, like instrument-smashing finales on stage?

Not that I ever intend to change my stodgy ways. I appreciate my listeners so will always regard them with great affection and treat them with utmost respect. (Whether it's "cool" or not.)

I'm just asking.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ukrainians take their treasures for granted?

It's unfortunate to see negative attitudes like this making the news in Ukraine:

Ukrainian travellers are up in arms after authorities ... issued a decree that only Ukrainian songs could be played over the sound systems in aeroplanes and trains run by the state...

But locals [want] to listen to western music.

Oksana Petrenkova from the capital Kiev said: "When I'm travelling I want to hear someone like Robbie Williams, not some folk band from the countryside."

Someone please point out to Oksana that many western tourists on Ukrainian planes and trains will be delighted to hear those "folk bands from the countryside" instead of the same-old same-old they hear at home. She (and the rest of the travelling public) can hear Robbie, et al. on British planes and trains.

If she really hates her own native music that much, I am sure there are iPods available that she can purchase for use while travelling in Ukraine, and listen to her musical choices to her heart's content.

But more to the point is that maybe Oksana and others with this attitude might consider developing a little pride in their own culture, or at the very least, respect for other people's musical preferences. Like it or not, Ukrainian "folk bands from the countryside" have quite a following in the west. No need to insult them and their fans.

(Oh, and someone please point out to the editors and writers at this paper that the proper English spelling of their nation's capital city is Kyiv.)

Vancouver audio archives updated to April 6

Audio archives up to and including last Sunday's program are now available at the Nash Holos website. Highlights:

* On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar has tips for Ukrainian cooking and information on sunflowers. Tonight's recipe: Sunflower cookies.

* On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel has tips for travellers to Ukraine looking for their family roots. This week's topic: cemeteries in Ukraine.

* New! A Spiritual Moment returns to Nash Holos! Tonight: Знами Бог - God is With Us (Znamy Boh) ... Fr. Edward Danylo Evanko on the Myrhh-Bearing Women.

* An interview with Fr. Ihor Kutash, of St. Mary the Protectess Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Montreal and a professor of theology, who will be sharing the microphone with Fr. Edward on A Spiritual Moment.

* Petriw's Political Perspectives ... the third in a series of interviews with local political observer Mirko Petriw and Ukrainain political commentator Mykola Riabchuk, on Ukraine's two top political figures.

* Proverb of the Week, community events listings, and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and beyond.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe!

Sunflower Seed Cookies:

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup golden raisins (optional)

1. Cream butter and sugars.
2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
3. Add dry ingredients with the sunflower seeds and raisins. Mix thoroughly.
4. Role into logs 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill thoroughly (about 30 minutes).
5. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks.

Makes about 5 dozen.

Try it - It's Ukrainian!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Great tune by Haydamaky

OK, this is more like it ...

H/T to Vasyl over at UAMuzik ... great post there on what's happening with this group, and other exciting stuff with real Ukie music (not commercial western copy-cat stuff).

Enjoy this incredible video!

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