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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ukraine's answer to Benny Hill?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two perogy suppers in Vancouver this Friday June 24

If you're in the Greater Vancouver area and craving some good old-fashioned stick-to-your-ribs Ukrainian food tonight, you're in luck!

There are two venues to satisfy your cravings:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ukrainians as Aryans: Marsha Skrypuch's novel Stolen Child about bizarre Nazi eugenics

Talk about twisted.

In the 1930s the Nazis devised a scheme to create a master race that is purely Aryan. Because to their warped minds Aryans were supposedly superior to all other human beings and thereby entitled to rule the world.

Only one problem with that plan. Not enough blond blue-eyed Aryan "pure bloods" in Germany to grow their gene pool.

Slavs, although considered untermenschen (sub-human) by the Nazis, were nonetheless one rung up from the Jews on the Nazis' hierarchy of humans. While the Nazis aimed to annihilate every single Jew on the face of the earth, some Slavs were to be spared, as the Third Reich needed slaves to do the manual labour.

As WWII got underway and the Nazis invaded the Slavic lands to the east, they realized they had a "solution" to their master race problem.

Little is known about this nefarious "solution" known as the Lebensborn Program, and less yet is known about the Ukrainians and other Slavs who fell victim to it.

When popular children's author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch found she had a personal connection to it, she resolved to write about it.

The result was her mid-grade novel, Stolen Child, which was recently given a Crystal Kite Award by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. (It was also shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association's children's book of the year award, Saskatchewan's Diamond Willow Award and the Ontario Library Association's Golden Oak Book Award.

It also was named an Ontario Library Association best bet, one of the top juvenile novels of 2010, and year's best by Resource Links, a national journal that reviews resources for children and young adults.

Stolen Child is the story of 12-year old Nadia, a Ukrainian child who had been kidnapped for her blond, blue-eyed Aryan looks by the Nazis in their frenzy to build a master race. After the war she finds herself in Brantford, Ontario where she slowly unravels her past life as a Lebensborn.

Stolen Child is published by Scholastic Canada and is available from the publisher as well as from Amazon and other major booksellers.

Marsha Skrypuch is available for school readings and loves to talk about her writing. She has been interviewed on Nash Holos several times, most recently (May 29, 2011) to talk about Stolen Child. More information about Marsha's books can be found at her website. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on her blog .

Ukrainian Proverb for week of June 19

Freedom conquers all things but slavery destroys the mind.

Вільність здобуває, а неволя і розум ламає.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Calling all Ukrainian Canadian youth!

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress wants to hear from young adults between the ages of 16-35.

To that end the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Youth Advisory Council (UCC-NYAC) has launched a youth survey project entitled "An Investigation of Youth Involvement in the Ukrainian Canadian Community."

 The UCC-NYAC consists completely of young adults. It was created at the XXIII UCC Triennial Congress in order to reengage the Ukrainian Canadian community's youth.

The major purpose of this committee is to give youth a greater voice in the affairs of the UCC, to gather information about youth involvement in the community and to advise the UCC on how to engage youth in ongoing projects.

The goals of this survey include:
  • Gaining demographic information about Ukrainian Canadian youth;
  • Identifying factors which promote or hinder involvement of youth in the Ukrainian Canadian Community;
  • Defining what it means to "be Ukrainian" in the context of Canadian society;
  • Understanding the role of Ukrainian language skills in the 21st century for Ukrainian Canadian youth.
This short survey, available both online and in paper format, will be distributed at Ukrainian festivals, community events and through social media. The survey will be available from June 2011 until January 2012. It is anticipated that a final report will be published in mid-2012.

Ultimately, these survey results will become a valuable source of information for all ethno-cultural community organizations looking to better engage their youth and foster the development of future community leaders.

To complete the survey, please visit: UCC-NYAC Youth Survey

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New York Ukrainian Polka band Hrim releases new album

Hrim is a Ukrainian band based out of New York City which just released their self-titled debut album in May 2011.

Since its inception in 2005, Hrim has performed at festivals, weddings, zabavas, and other functions throughout North America in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Buffalo, Washington D.C., Toronto, Montreal, and many more.

The band recently performed at the Hopak in the Park festival in Melbourne, Australia along with a sold-out zabava there.

The band continues to perform non-stop and hopes to explore other areas of the Ukrainian diaspora with their music.

Their sound is a mix of traditional music styles – polkas, tangos, and waltzes fused with more modern rock, ska, and punk styles. It is a distinctly Ukrainian sound, yet absolutely unique to the group.

Hrim consists of Roman Palylyk (bass and vocals), Peter Drobenko (accordion), Will Wyatt (guitar), Peter Kolinsky (vocals), and John Drobenko (drums).

The band was fortunate to collaborate with other talented musicians on the album including Slau Halatyn (backing vocals and guitar), Andrij Stasiw (piano and composer), and Olenka Dolak (cello).

You can find out more about Hrim at their MySpace page.You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook. To purchase the album, visit their CD Baby page where you can either download mp3s or buy a physical CD. Hrim will be releasing the album on iTunes as well.

You’ll be able to hear Hrim on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak preview from a couple of years ago at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Deadline looms for nominations to Alberta’s Centenary Pioneer Recognition Program

If you know of a Ukrainian Canadian pioneer deserving of recognition, the organizers of Alberta’s Centenary Pioneer Recognition Program need to hear from you!

You don’t have to be a direct descendant to nominate an outstanding pioneer who contributed to Alberta’s history, culture, and modernity. Of course you can nominate an ancestor, but you can also nominate members of other Ukrainian families

Nor do they necessarily have to be homesteaders. They can be anyone of Ukrainian ancestry who took up residence in east central Alberta in 1911 or earlier. This includes townspeople, policemen, priests, nuns, teachers.

There’s only a couple of weeks left, so if you have someone in mind, don’t delay! The deadline date for 2011’s nominations is June 30.

For more information, the good folks at the Centenary Pioneer Recognition Program have prepared a document about their program and also some backgrounder information on how it all started.

Since Canada Post is on strike, snail mail isn’t recommended. Please send an e-mail or call the Alberta genealogical research office at (780) 431-2324. (Alberta residents calling from outside of Edmonton can call toll-free 310-0000 then (780) 431-2324.)

If you're in the area feel free to drop in to the office:

Alberta-Ukraine Genealogical Project
3rd Floor, Old St. Stephen's College
8820-112 Street
Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8

Friday, June 10, 2011

See Veselka Ukrainian Dancers at Victoria Multicultural Festival

Victoria`s Heritage DanceFest will be celebrating its 5th anniversay, in no small part thanks to Veselka Ukrainian Dancers.

In the wake of the cancellation of the hugely popular FolkFest, Veselka (which means `rainbow`) realized that the city`s diverse ethnic cultural ensembles were in dire need of a public venue to strut their stuff.

So they spearheaded the now equally popular Heritage DanceFest which this year takes place Saturday, June 18, 2011 at Cameron Bandshell, Beacon Hill Park.

Take in continuous dance performances by dancers from the Chinese, Norwegian, Punjabi, Ukrainian, Irish communities, and more. Welcome Ceremony at 12 noon features a First Nations blessing, VIP speakers, and a traditional Welcome dance by the Veselka Ukrainian Dancers.

The best part is that admission to this fabulous family event is absolutely free!

If you haven`t yet seen Veselka perform, or didn`t catch this video on YouTube or my earlier post on Veselka, here`s a delightful little sneak preview for you:

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ukrainian recipe: Dill Bread Express

Dill is a flavourful and highly nutritious herb common in Ukrainian cuisine, and other Eastern European cuisines.

In North America dill is known primarily as a herb to enhance salmon dishes, and a major ingredient of dill pickles. 

But there is so much more to dill! 

A proper Ukrainian borsch contains copious amounts of dill. Combining dill with butter and/or cream results in a most heavenly sauce for potatoes, vegetables, chicken, and/or egg dishes.

It's best fresh, of course, although in a pinch you can use dried dillweed or dill seeds. I've been noticing it more often in supermarkets lately, so if you chop it up and freeze it you can enjoy it fresh year round.

Dill has been around since ancient times, and has some amazing medicinal qualities.

It was mentioned both in the Bible and in ancient Egyptian writings. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered it a sign of wealth and also revered it for its many healing properties. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used dill in a recipe for cleaning the mouth, and soldiers in ancient times put burnt dill seeds on their wounds to promote healing

During the Medieval period, Europeans used dill to create love potions (!) and also to protect against witchcraft. People would carry a bag of dried dill over the heart as protection against hexes.

In today's world, dill protects against free radicals and carcinogens, and rivals garlic for anti-bacterial properties. It is a good source of dietary fibre, as well as minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

So don't scimp on the dill! It's a delicious way to eat healthy.

Here's a quick and easy alternative to garlic bread that Sylvia shared recently on Ukrainian Food Flair on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio.

Dill Bread Express

1 loaf of French bread (or Italian)
1/2 cup soft butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill

Cut the loaf in half lengthwise. Mix dill with soft butter and spread generously on both cut sides. Put both sides together and wrap in foil. Bake at 400ºF for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

This is a great make-ahead that can be frozen.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ukraine's Jewish community celebrates the Festival of Weeks (Shavu'ot) or Pentecost

Shavu'ot (Ukrainian: Shviyes,) commonly known as the Festival of Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both religious, historical and agricultural significance for Jews.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Baritone Michael Minsky's Ukrainian recordings: A historical treasure

Michael Minsky was a brilliant opera star who sang in virtually every major concert hall in the United States.

Michael Minsky. Photo/portrait from CD cover:
Bandura: Michael Minsky, songs of a Don Cossack
Born in Russia in 1918, Minsky studied music at the University of Kazan and the Moscow conservatory. When WWII broke out, however, he was drafted into the Red Army and was soon captured by the Nazis.

He ended up in a slave labour camp and then in several “displaced persons” (refugee) camps after the war.

Although ethnically Russian, in the camps he was surrounded by Ukrainians and soon fell in love with the people, the music and the culture.

He joined several choirs, including the Don Cossack Choir and the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus. From 1948 to 1984 Minsky sang with such Ukrainian musical luminaries as Ivan Zadorozny, Volodymyr Bozyk and Hryhory Kytasty.

In 1949 Minsky and the Bandurist Chorus traveled to America, where they were received at the White House and performed many concerts.

In 1950 Minsky made his first recording and  went on to record another 20 with various Ukrainian artists, including songs of the Ukrainian Legion of World War I and the Ukrainian Underground Army. In 1953 he was granted American citizenship.

Minsky was very active in the Ukrainian community in the United States and Canada. In 1971 the Ukrainian community in Minneapolis honoured Minsky with a gala concert. Later that year he went on a concert tour to Ukrainian centers in Great Britain, then in 1972 to Australia. On his return to Europe he produced a series of records with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

By the mid 1960s, Minsky was spending most of his time in Europe. In 1978, he settled permanently in Zwolle, the Netherlands. Holland was where, in 1967, Minsky met his wife, Irina Jacoba.

Irina had no inkling of the prolific extent of her husband’s Ukrainian musical career ... until after his death in 1988. Astounded at the size of his repertoire, and realizing its historic significance, she took upon herself the gargantuan task of compiling and restoring the entire collection.
Somehow I ended up on Irina's bulk email list, and kept getting emails from her asking for help with the project.

Intrigued, I emailed her back a few times and finally connected with her by skype to get some details on the project and her progress so far.

What an incredible experience to encounter the fierce determination of this fascinating Dutch woman! Equally incredible was the story about her project and the love and devotion of her Russian husband for Ukrainian culture. (Interview on the this past Sunday's Vancouver edition of Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio. It will air again on the international edition this weekend on PCJ Radio. Archives on the Nash Holos and PCJ websites.)

Working with volunteers, Irina has almost achieved her goal of compiling and restoring all of Michael Minsky's Ukrainian recordings. However, she is still missing these items:

ARKA 405a
Гей, пластуни! Пісня закарпатських пластунів. Слова: С. Черкасенко. Музика – Я. Ярославенко М. Фоменко. Сольо: М. Мінський. М. Фоменко: ф-но.
Hey, boy scouts! Song of the transcarpathian boy scouts. Lyrics: S. Cherkasenko. Music: Ia. Iaroslavenko/M. Fomenko. M. Minsky, baritone. M. Fomenko, piano.

ARKA 405b
При ватрі. Пластова пісня. Слова: Ю. Старосольський. Музика: Я. Пясецький/М. Фоменко. М. Мінський, баритон. М. Фоменко, ф-но
By the Camp-Fire. Ukrainian scout song. Lyrics: Iuri Starosolsky. Music: Iuri Piasetsky, M. Fomenko. M. Minsky, baritone. M. Fomenko, piano.

BMP 101a
Іди від мене. Leave me.
BMP 101b
Гей, маршують вже повстанці. Marching freedom fighters.

Ансамбль бандуристів під орудою Стефана Ганушевського
Bandurist Ensemble under the direction of Stefan Hanushevsky

Забудь мене. Forget me.
Тихесенький вечір. Tranquil evening.

Музика: К. Стеценко. Сольо: М. Мінський.
Music: K. Stetsenko. Soloist: M. Minsky.

SEAGRAM, 29-9-1951 Archive nr. 2000.097.r002.4
Арія султана з опери Запорожець за Дунаєм
Sultan’s aria from the opera Kozak beyond the Danube

М. Мінський співає українські пісні
M. Minsky sings in Ukrainian.

UCH 302a
Гомін села. Humming village.
UCH 302b
Сусідка. Neighbor girl.

Музика: А. Гнатишин. Солісти: Мінський і Сілецький
Хор Трембіта. Дириґент – Кирило Цепенда.
Music: A. Hnatyshyn. Soloists: Minsky and Siletsky.
Ukrainian choir Trembita. Kyryko Tsependa, conductor.

RCA 2220
У мене був коханий, рідний край. Музика : М. Лисенко
I once had a beloved homeland. Music: M. Lysenko

О, ще не всі умерли жалі.  Музика – Яків Степовий
Not all sorrows passed away.  Music: Iakiv Stepovyi

RCA 2221
Ще день, чи два – аріосо з опери Кармелюк. Музика: В. Костенко
A day, or two – arioso from the opera Karmeliuk. Music: V. Kostenko.

RCA 2222
Як стрільці йшли з України. Музика: Р. Купчинський/М. Фоменко
When the freedom fighters left Ukraine. Music: R. Kupchynsky/M.Fomenko

RCA 2223
Мав я раз дівчиноньку. Мізика: Р. Купчинський М. Фоменко
I had a sweetheart, once. Music: R. Kupchynskyi/M. Fomenko
Альбом з двох плит. Богдан Пюрко при фортепіані
Two record album. Bohdan Piurko, piano.

Irina is appealing to the public to help her complete this collection of Michael Minsky’s restored Ukrainian works. She’s hoping that whoever might have these items would be willing to donate (or even sell) them to her. If you or someone you know has any of them, please contact Irina by email to make arrangements.

(Sources: Wikipedia, Antonio Hopla, Irina Jacoba on Nash Holos.)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ukrainian Dancers wow audience and panelists on Australia's Got Talent

Can't help wondering how Simon Cowell would react but the Ozzies certainly appreciate good music and good dancing!

Of course who in their right mind doesn't love Ukrainian dancing when they see it? LOL

This Australian bunch of Ukrainian dancers is fantastic.


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