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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus celebrates 40 years of Spirit & Song

The Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus of Winnipeg is a fabulous group ... and the song embedded on their site (Oy ta duna) is one of my all-time Ukie favourites!

Congratulations, Hoosli on 40 years of vibrant spirit and excellent song!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Decorating Dinosaur Eggs

The creator of this wonder of nature (and art), Richmond artist Marcia Moroz, will be at the 14th annual BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Mission this Saturday.

Her beautiful creations, including this one, will be on display there. Touching (of the egg) is encouraged, and Marcia is offering photo ops to kids all day. She will even email the pics to admirers upon request.

Check it out:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CBC managers get royal treatment, taxpayers foot bill

All I can say about this article in the Ottawa Sun is, must be nice.

CBC's top executives spent more than $60,000 over six months holding meetings in luxury hotels and resorts and expensing such items as sparkling wine and limousine rides. ...

More than $21,600 was spent sending 21 CBC and Radio-Canada human resources managers and senior executives to the ritzy Chateau Beauvallon in Mont-Tremblant, Que., for two days. The limo costs alone for one vice-president amounted to $1,009.94.

[At] Auberge Sauvignon ... they dropped $1,612.93 on supper. ...

A day-long meeting at the Renaissance Hotel, a few blocks from the CBC's Toronto headquarters, cost $3,481.65 for 28 senior television managers. ...

Tacked on the bill was an order for six bottles of Hillebrand Trius Brut sparkling wine. ...

Documents also show a penchant for posh surroundings: ... dinner for 28 at the private members-only The Spoke Club in Toronto came to $2,002; and a meeting for six Radio-Canada employees at Montreal's swanky boutique hotel Place D'Armes, a four-minute drive from Radio-Canada's headquarters, cost $950.22. ...

So presumably the moral of this story is that producers of programs like mine can just go eat cake ...

UPDATE: The Ottawa Sun has taken the article cited above off its site, but you can still access it here and here.

Canada's Governor General visits Ukraine

Our Queen's Representative is currently visiting the ancestral homeland of some 1.2 milion Canadians.

Some backgrounder information compiled here the day before she left Canada.
Some great photos (with captions) here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ukrainian rock star cleans up Ukraine for Earth Day

The Kyiv Post reports that:

Musician Oleh Skrypka ... Ukraine’s popular musician and organizer of ethnic music festivals ... together with United Nations office in Ukraine are inviting city residents and guests to mark the Earth Day in Kyiv by cleaning up one of the city’s recreation zones, Trukhaniv Island ... on April 25. ...

Organizers said the participants will be able to clean the island, plant trees, as well as have fun in the company of folk musicians.

Accorrding to a press statement, the organizers are calling all residents of Ukraine to stop littering streets, parks and forests, and remember that "the cleanliness of human soul starts from the cleanliness of one’s yard,” said in a press statement."

Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22.

What a fabulous example Oleh Skrypka is sending to Ukrainians ... and entertainers the world over. Molodetz!

Full article here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Perogy fundraiser helps fight human trafficking

This recently came to the attention of Ukrainian Canadian broadcasters:

A group of amazing volunteers recently served in excess of 1,100 dozen (13,200) perogies at the Old Manhattan Ballroom near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

This fundraising event was put on by Nashi, a group of dedicated individuals based in Saskatoon whose goal is to raise awareness of the global issues of human trafficking, particularly of children being lured by those trafficking in the sex trade in Ukraine.

The funds raised are in support of the construction and renovation of the Klenovi Lyst or Maple Leaf Centre in Stoyaniv Ukraine. The Klenovi Lyst will act as a safe house and training centre for Children at risk.

Nashi will hold another fundraiser in the fall. If you're not in the area or won't be able to travel to Saskatoon, stay tuned to Nash Holos and other Ukrainian radio programs across Canada for updates and more information, including interviews with members of the organization.

These people, IMHO, deserve a medal. Nashi is taking concrete action to rid the world of human trafficking by empowering those who would otherwise become victims of this cruel criminal element.

We should all do what we can to support this admirable organization. It doesn't take much, really, to make a big difference.

Start by watching this video, and sharing it with others.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ukrainian thriller (in English) in bookstores soon

Yaroslaw’s Treasure will soon be available in a bookstore near you!

From the publisher's website:

Yaroslaw’s Treasure is a thrilling suspense story set against the gripping drama of the Orange Revolution, the 2004 popular uprising that saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in Ukraine to overthrow a corrupt government and reinforce democracy in a land long occupied by repressive and foreign regimes.

Rich with history, romance, politics, and danger, Yaroslaw’s Treasure superbly captures the wonders and horrors of Ukraine’s past, swirls through the treacherous currents of its present politics, all the while providing entertainment as a first-rate thriller.

The author, Mirko Petriw, is a Coquitlam BC resident and occasional contributor to Nash Holos radio program. Stay tuned for an interview with the author and details of his book launch!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Khrystos Voskres! (Christ is Risen)! Voistyno Voskres! (Indeed He is Risen!)

It's Easter (Velekden - The Great Day) for those Christians following the Gregorian calendar!

This would, of course, include various Protestant denominations as well as Western (Roman) Rite Catholics, and many Eastern Rite Catholics.

The remaining Ukrainian Catholics who follow the Julian calendar for religious holidays will celebrate Easter next Sunday with their Ukrainian Orthodox brethren and sistren.

This somewhat confusing calendar situation is actually quite beneficial. It allows for two opportunities to celebrate major holidays, so a person can either do it twice or celebrate on the calendar date that best suits one's particular life situation. This is very convenient for families of mixed heritage as well as shift-workers. :-)

For a lovely overview of Ukrainian Easter traditions (and a couple of recipes) check out the UkeMonde site (here). It includes a rundown of the contents of the traditional Easter basket that is taken to church for blessing. This information can also be heard on Nash Holos tonight, along with traditional Easter music. (If you aren't able to tune in, no worries! The program will be archived and available as a podcast.)

In the meantime, I'd like to share with you this charming video about pysanky - how they're made and the symbolism of the designs (both Christian and pre-Christian):

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ukraine - smoking is hazardous to your health!

I was appalled to read this article about oligarchs pressuring the Ukrainian prez to back off on tobacco taxes.

The Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has called on President Viktor Yushchenko to veto the law that provides for raising the rate of the excise duty on tobacco goods.

Interestingly, the president of the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just happens to be Party of Regions MP Anatoliy Kinakh, who is also shadow minister of industrial policy. Nothing like transparency in politics. (What conflict of interest?)

Kinakh argued that the Ukrainian tobacco industry would become uncompetitive if the law came into effect. He says a 2.5-fold increase of the rate of the excise duty on tobacco goods will «have a negative effect on formation the prices of tobacco goods.»

Being a life-long non-smoker, who grew up with parents that smoked (and have thankfully since quit), I tend to agree with the author of this article.

I've no sympathy for the tobacco companies. There's a legacy of deception that makes them responsible for the deaths of millions of people despite government warnings about the harmful effects of smoking. They should have to pay compensation to people who took up and kept up the habit during the years when Big Tobacco cynically questioned the link between smoking and disease.

Lest anyone should still believe the fiction that tobacco is a harmless, personal lifestyle choice, a factsheet put out by New Zealand's Ministry of Health tells the real story:

Of the more than 4,000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke, more than 60 have been identified as cancer causing chemicals, 11 of which are known to cause cancer in humans and eight that probably cause cancer in humans. ...

Approximately one non-smoker dies due to second-hand smoke exposure for every eight smokers who die of smoking related disease. Second-hand smoke has been designated a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).

Tobacco is a proven poison ... and who would better know about poison than President Yushchenko? This progressive law he is trying to introduce would be a first step in improving the health of Ukrainian citizens as well as potentially the Ukrainian economy. But, vested interests see things differently.

It's too bad those vested interests are such neanderthals.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Nash Holos recipe - Buckwheat Pancakes

Buckwheat has numerous health benefits that make it ideal for today's health conscious consumer. It’s fat-free, and we all love that!

It also contains rutin, which studies indicate lowers cholesterol and helps reduce high blood pressure. Considerable amounts of vitamin B1 and B2 prevent hardening of the arteries, while choline facilitates liver function.

Buckwheat is a good source of protein and minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium and calcium. These minerals are important in the prevention of hypertension and anaemia.

Buckwheat cooked as kasha is a Ukrainian favourite. It’s usually eaten as a side dish or meat accompaniment, instead of rice or potatoes. It can also be used as a filling for cabbage rolls.

Although buckwheat is actually a herb, the groats are hard, like a grain, so it can also be ground into flour. Buckwheat flour has a very distinctive flavour, and it is really delicious.

Here’s a wonderful recipe that is an ideal Lenten dish: Buckwheat Pancakes. They’re quick and easy to make, and absolutely delicious!


1 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix together buckwheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add beaten egg, milk and melted butter, mixing well after adding each.

Grease a skillet or griddle lightly with oil and preheat it to 375ºF.

Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot skillet. Cook until bubbles break on the surface, flip and cook an additional minute or so, or until browned.

Serve with jam, fruit preserves or your favorite syrup…. and enjoy!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ukrainians improve on Katy Perry

I got quite the chuckle out of this blog post ... not to mention the video.

I have to admit I'd never heard of Katie Perry before this. After seeing her video of the song Hot 'n Cold I can say it was a blessing. (Not having heard of her, that is.)

I'd have to agree with blogger Molly Bergen, who in her blog post "Midnight Movie: How Do You Improve Katy Perry? Cover Her With Polka!" figures that the Ukrainian ensemble Los Colorados has improved on it considerably.

Of course, I wouldn't exactly describe what they do in this video as "polka" (I suspect Molly is not exactly an afficionado of the genre) ... but I do agree that the folk instruments as well as the Ukrainian accent add a very distinctive charm. And from what I could tell, the group's front man speaks with a real Ukrainian accent, i.e., not a Russian-Ukrainian one. (If I weren't happily married, I'd be in love!)

Anyway, watch it and see what you think!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Multicultural groups under attack again

This recent article in the Edmonton Sun makes me wonder if Canada will ever get a multiculturalism minister who understands the appeal to a lot of Canadians of the 'cultural" aspect of multiculturalism?

Not to all, granted, but to a lot of us.

Unfortunately, all too many of our politicians bend over backwards to mollify those to whom it doesn't appeal. So struggling ethno-cultural groups like the Shumka Dancers get the shaft.

Jason Kenney said Canada's minorities are strong and rich enough to support themselves and should compete with "old-stock" Canadians and other ethnic groups for cultural funding.

Very crafty way to cut off such groups at the knees. Unless, of course, there will be increased funding for these newly mainstream groups in these "old stock" funding sources.

And how likely is that. About as likely as those holding the purse strings to these "old stock" funding sources will ever appreciate and support minorities who became "strong and rich" using their own hard-earned resources, as Ukrainian Canadian cultural groups have had to.

This is a déja vu throwback to the Mulroney era, when a previous minister made a point of denigrating "3D multiculturalism" ... the Ds referring to Diet, Dance and Dress. (Now they are referred to collectively as "cultural diversity.")

Yet those very elements of multiculturalism are by far the most fun, interesting and appealing to mainstream Canadians. Yet for some reason, politicians seem to consider them "divisive."

Never mind that huge crowds of Canadians of all backgrounds are drawn to multicultural festivals, which are generally family-friendly events run by volunteers. (That's as in unpaid volunteers.) The costs associated with such cultural events and groups go to commercial vendors like rental facilities and government licensing departments. But that's beside the point, I guess. Let them eat cake.

What is particularly ironic is that this same minister recently created an award in the name of a Ukrainian pioneer in multiculturalism, which I blogged about in an earlier post.

The lip service multiculturalism gets is starting to get cacophonous. Possibly an ongoing attempt to divert attention from the raiding of the coffers that actually do support it?

It makes me wonder if perhaps our current multiculturalism minister is not among those of us who enjoy multicultural diversity, and is sacrificing it in order to pander to potential voters that can be counted on to vote in blocs.

The minister said he's spent countless hours travelling the country -- especially in his last position as secretary of state for multiculturalism and the Conservative Party's go-to man for all things ethnic -- and he believes what immigrants want most is to be "unhyphenated Canadians."

I wonder when, or if, he and his colleagues will ever come to understand, and accept, that a large number of native-born Canadians may actually be proud to be "hyphenated" Canadians. And that such pride emanates from an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity that is leap years ahead of that of our political elites.

He said that doesn't mean he wants an American "melting-pot" model, but rather a "multiculturalism where we all share each other's backgrounds on the basis of our common Canadian values."

It might be an idea for Mr. Kenney and his colleagues to take a closer look at what is going on south of the border. Today's American "melting pot" is looking a lot more culturally diverse than the watered-down "mosaic" our country's political elites seem so committed to cultivating.

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