The Ukrainians’ new album “Summer in Lviv” is based on guitarist Peter Solowka and vocalist/fiddle player Len Liggins’s experiences in western Ukraine last summer, where they discovered the rejuvenated, modern city of Lviv, whose official motto is ‘Live, work and enjoy yourself’.
Living in the west but with half the band having a background rooted in the cultures of Ukraine or eastern Europe, The Ukrainians have enjoyed success over the past three decades. Their music includes Ukrainian folk music and western rock music.
Some of the greatest performers and creative innovators from Egypt and Ukraine will be traveling to the United States in September-November 2018. The music and theater artists were selected through the Center Stage cultural exchange program initiated by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).
The performers include Dina Elwedidi (Egypt), Kurbasy (Ukraine), Mohamed Abozekry and Karkadé (Egypt), Teatr-Pralnia with CCA Dakh (Ukraine), and Youssra El Hawary (Egypt). The tours include performances, hundreds of residency activities, classroom visits, workshops, artist-to-artist exchange, and community gatherings.
Venues will include major performing arts centers such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as well as universities, cultural and community centers, festivals, contemporary art venues, music clubs, and artist-run spaces. The program will bring one independent journalist from both Egypt and Ukraine to travel to the United States to report on the tours. Tour details and experiences will also be featured on the Center Stage website and through U.S. Department of State social media.
The Artists of Center Stage Season 4
Dina Elwedidi (Giza, Egypt)
A sophisticated musical innovator, Elwedidi ravels the personal threads of Egyptian heritage and contemporary identity.
U.S. tour: September 14-October 18. Tour cities include Washington DC, Richmond VA, Boston MA, New York City, Austin TX, and West Palm Beach FL.
Kurbasy (Lviv, Ukraine/U.S. debut)
Tight vocal harmonies, resonant lyrics, and phantasmagoric imagery from the Carpathian Mountains.
U.S. tour: October 21-November 18. Tour cities include Washington DC, Hartford CT, Memphis TN, Rohnert Park, CA, Albuquerque and Santa Fe NM, and Seattle WA.
Mohamed Abozekry & Karkadé (Cairo, Egypt/U.S. debut)
Virtuoso oud prodigy convenes Egypt’s popular and classical music traditions, Sufi calls, and secular poetry with a new instrumental project.
U.S. tour: September 6-30. Tour cities include Washington DC, New York City, Lewisburg and Philadelphia PA, Burlington VT, and West Claremont NH.
Teatr-Pralnia with CCA Dakh (Kyiv, Ukraine/U.S. debut)
A rambunctious and audacious supercharged puppet cabaret asks ‘TseSho?/What’s That?”
U.S. tour: September 28-November 4. Tour cities include Gainesville FL, Allentown and Pittsburgh PA, Portland OR, and Albuquerque NM.
Youssra El Hawary (Cairo, Egypt/U.S. debut)
A musical bellwether of everyday life, El Hawary’s indie sound captures the stories of Cairo and the alchemy of the Mediterranean basin.
U.S. tour: September 9-October 13. Tour cities include Richmond VA, Washington DC, Lyons NE, Raleigh NC, Kittery ME, West Claremont and Lebanon NH, Albuquerque NM, and New York City.
About Center Stage 4:
“Ensembles travel to the U.S. from around the world and enhance the cultural vibrancy of our nation, while promoting economic opportunities in American communities,” said Cathy Edwards, Executive Director of the New England Foundation for the Arts. “Arts delegations cultivate the mutual respect and appreciation that is the essence of cultural diplomacy”.
Center Stage was launched by the Department of State to bring international performing artists from select countries to the United States for professional growth and touring, supporting foreign policy, deepening our relationships with foreign publics, and strengthening the U.S. creative economy. The visiting artists learn from their U.S. tours and share their experiences in their home communities, where they serve as role models and opinion leaders. To date, 24 ensembles from seven nations have toured the United States through Center Stage, reaching tens of thousands of Americans directly and millions of international fans through media and social media.
The program also affects the lives and professions of the visiting artists. “Center Stage is a program aimed at cultural exchange, but for our band, it also tapped into something much deeper,” says Center Stage Season 2 artist Sparlay Rawail, of Pakistan’s Khumariyaan. “We learned what being working musicians is all about and how to communicate. We now have a deeper sense of our own culture through the eyes and ears of others — from the outside in. But above all, this tour opened our minds as human beings and made our art that much more sincere.”
Czaldy Waldy is the name of an old Czech dance originated in 14th century. Four musicians decided to use the same name for their quartet. Some of them were academically educated and made their living performing classical music. But when they got together as a Czaldy Waldy Quartet they fully indulged in delights of contemporary world music. Namely in ethnic songs from eastern part of Slovakia and western Ukraine, the region known as Zakarpatian Russia.
Lyrics were left in their authentic form or slightly adjusted according to musical needs. Ales Mrazek composes the instrumental pieces, some of which are based on old European folk songs. We could also trace a range of influences from Spanish, Balkan or Arabic music to jazz, tango or chanson in his music. Ales also has a lot of experience with composing musical scores for local theaters.
Czaldy Waldy Quartet was formed in 2000. In 2005 the band released its debut album Ethno-chansons featuring music from Slovakia and Ukraine (Black Point Music 2005).
Maniucha & Ksawery is a Polish duo specialized in combining jazz improvisation with dying-off traditional songs from the Polesie region in northwestern Ukraine. The duo has collected spring songs, harvest songs, wedding songs, love songs, beggars’ songs, Christmas carols, and lullabies.
The duo’s repertory draws from Maniucha’s numerous trips to Ukrainian villages, learning from local singers as well as their own mutual musical imagination.
Thanks to a Polish National Radio Award and support from fans Maniucha & Ksawery released their first album Oj borom, borom… in March 2017. They performed throughout Poland, and at world music showcase WOMEX 2017 Regional Stage (Kato Connections).
Maniucha Bikont is a vocalist, musician, and anthropologist. She collected a series of field recordings in Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Maniucha is member of various music groups, incuding Dziczka, Z Lasu, Niewte, Odpoczno and Tęgie Chłopy. She works with Janusz Prusinowski Kompania, Assaf Talmudi, Shay Tsabari, Rafael Rogiński, and Ilia Saytanov.
Ksawery Wójciński is a double-bass player and composer. He’s a multifaceted musician interested in carrying out daring experiments. He has collaborated with Charles Gayle, Uri Caine, Mikołaj Trzaska, Michael Zerang, Satoko Fuji, Nicolle Mitchell, Tim Sparks, Klaus Kugel, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, and Wacław Zimpel.
Although a native Ukrainian, Roksana Vikaluk lives since years in Poland where she found a creative atmosphere to realize herself in music. With her crystal voice and musical performance she is well respected in the Polish music scene. Roksana has performed at many musical contests and festivals works with many musicians. Remarkable is her cooperation with famous Polish artist Jozef Skrzek from the legendary SBB progressive rock group.
The music of Roksana Vikaluk is very inspired by the Ukrainian culture and its ancient tradition even from pagan times. The old Ukrainian tunes became modern. They are arranged and performed with the help of modern electronic equipment.
In her live shows Roksana sings and plays Ukrainian, Tatar, Jewish and Polish folk themes as well her own compositions in similar style. The combination of early Slavonic folk songs (some of them came even from XIII century) with contemporary, sometimes dark electronic sound, brings the unordinary atmosphere. The music is also attractive to progressive rock fans who are looking for mostly complicated and sophisticated tunes.
In 2002, Jazz Forum Records released the first album by Roksana Vikaluk Quintet called Mizrah with jazz oriented music in eastern style. Barwy / Colours and was recorded during her solo concert in Morąg in July 2005. She sings and plays keyboards. She is the only musician on this album. She also wrote some of the compositions, the other are Ukrainian traditional tunes.
Mizrah – (Jazz Forum Records, 2002)
Drzewo Światów (2010)
The Haydamaky began their career in 1991 shortly after Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union. At that time the band was known as Aktus and played mostly local gigs in the underground Kyiv (Kiev) music scene. In the absence of a fertile popular local music scene Aktus turned to the sounds of reggae, ska and punk music for a fresh alternative.
The group was also attracted to the political effect that these genres had on their society. The idea that through music significant social change is possible gave greater purpose to the performance of such musical styles. The discovery of these musical genres later became the key to their own realization of a specifically Ukrainian musical style. Haydamaky’s hope is to forge an inherently Ukrainian popular music style which looks back on its own heritage and traditions as a source for inspiration.
With the addition of sopilka-vocalist Olexandr Yarmola and accordionist Ivan Lenko, both well-known and respected in folk circles the band increasingly incorporated elements of Ukrainian folk music into their compositions.
Since the early 1990s Aktus had engaged in constant touring of Europe. Unlike most popular Ukrainian music groups who propagate Soviet style estrada or copies of Western and American styles Aktus sought to introduce elements of Ukrainian folk music through a cross-cultural mix including reggae and ska.
As of early 2003 the group was discovered in Kyiv (Kiev) by EMI International Records out of London England and was immediately signed contractually to their label. At that time the band realized it was time to establish an even firmer tie to their own culture and changed their name to Haydamaky in honor of the historical Haydamaky rebellion/revolution which took place in Ukraine in the 18th century. This rebellion was a reaction of Ukrainian peasants and serfs against repressive foreign occupation.
The band’s second album is Boguslav. This time the group searched even deeper into Ukrainian folk music for material ideas and textures. The ensemble invited violinist Vasyl Hekker perhaps the foremost authority on authentic Ukrainian folk violin style to collaborate on the project. Also bandurist-guitarist Jurij Fedynskyj of New York (USA) relocated to Kyiv to join the ensemble. Since the recording of the first album and till now Haydamaky collaborated with almost every well known Ukrainian folk music musician of older generations.
The music of Haydamaky is inspired by ethnic musics from various regions of Ukraine such as Polissya Bukovyna and Zakarpathia which includes the Gypsy and Jewish tradition along with pure Ukrainian. Other influences include the punk music of the early Pogues and by the reggae of such bands like Burning Spear and Black Uhuru.
The Haydamaky at present are:
Olexandr Jarmola – vocal sopilka
Ivan Leno – accordion zimbaly keyboards
Ruslan Trochinskyj – trombone
Olexandr Dem-anenko – guitars mandolin
Wolodymyr Sherstiuk – bass drymba
Ruslan Ovras – drums percussion
Eugen Goryslawskyj – trumpet
Wlad Grymalskyj – sound engineer live dub mixing
Natalka Sebina – vocals
Maria Firsowa – vocals
Jurij Fedynskyj – bandura
Wasyl Gecker – violin
No More Peace (2013)
Ukrainian spring music festival Flugery Lvova will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. Flugery Lvova will take place April 29-May 1, 2017 at the patio of Lviv City Council in western Ukraine. The festival features a wide range of musical genres, including world music, jazz, blues, rock, ska, reggae, electronic and experimental music. The international festival will present acts from Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Ireland.
The 2017 program includes:
Saturday, April 29th
Propala Hramota (Ukraine)
Lemko Bluegrass Band (Ukraine)
Bria Blessing with Schockolad accompanied by the chamber orchestra (Ukraine-Poland)
Familia Perkalaba (Ukraine)
Sunday, April 30th
Waking up with “Krykhitka” band (Ukraine)
Yurodny world-music band (Ireland)
GrozovSka Band (Ukraine)
Gutsul Calipso (Ukraine)
Monday, May 1st
Siostry Lotry (Poland)
Tik Tu (Ukraine)
Meridian 68 is a beautifully-crafted production by Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana. The ensemble is well-known for its fusion of Ukrainian and Polish folk music traditions with jazz, electronic music and global music.
On Meridian 68 Dagadana goes back to folk roots. Dagadana collected traditional songs from many regions of Poland, including Kurpie and Wielkopolska, along with Ukrainian and Lemko (an ethnic group found in Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia) folk music. Additionally, there is a song in Chinese recorded in collaboration with Chinese band North Lab, featuring Hassibagen from Mongolia and Aiys Song from China.
All the members of Dagadana are virtuoso instrumentalists and vocalists. The band recreates the traditional material and gives it new life with superb vocal and instrumental arrangements that add jazz techniques, electronic atmospheres and world music elements such as percussion and Mongolian musical instruments.
Dagadana named its fourth album Meridian 68 as a tribute to its experience in Beijing. The 68th Meridian is precisely halfway between Czestochowa (southern Poland) and Beijing, the places where the band recorded the songs.
The lineup on Meridian 68 includes Daga Gregorowicz on vocals and electronics; Dana Vynnytska on vocals and keyboards; Mikołaj Pospieszalski on vocals, double bass, electric bass, and violin; and Bartosz Mikołaj Nazaruk on drums and percussion.
Guests include Aiys Song on cello; Hassibagen on vocals and morin khuur (horsehead fiddle); regular collaborator Frank Parker Jr. on percussion; Marcin Pospieszalski on violin; Szczepan Pospieszalski on trumpet and cornet; and Lidia Pospieszalska on frame drum.
The CD version of Meridian 68 comes in a stunning hard cover book with extensive liner notes including lyrics, credits and illustrations by Ukrainian artist Olya Kravchenko.
Meridian 68 is an outstanding album of contemporary Polish and Ukrainian folk music made by one of the finest world music bands in Eastern Europe.
Rising world music act DakhaBrakha is set to perform two shows at Pace University’s Michael Schimmel Center. The Ukranian band will present two completely different programs on Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21.
On the first night, (May 20) the group will present music from DhakaBrakha’s critically acclaimed recorded catalog, including their 2014 CD, Na Mezhi and their more recent digital release Light, as well as new music not previously performed in New York City.
Band members include of drummer and vocalist Olena Tsybulska; keyboardist, percussionist and vocalist Iryna Kovalenko; cellist and vocalist Nina Garenetska; and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Marko Halanevych.
DakhaBrakha, which means “give and take” in old Ukrainian, combines soulful folk and ritual songs with Balkan, African, Brazilian, experimental jazz, pop and R&B, performed with vocals, accordion, bass drum, keyboard, mouth harp and cello to create hypnotic textures.
The second evening (May 21) DakhaBrakha will provide the live musical score to a screening of the legendary 1930 Ukrainian silent film masterpiece, Earth. Directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Earth-which captures a moment in time when traditional rural life in Ukraine was about to undergo massive upheaval as a result of overwhelming political forces-was named one of the top 10 greatest films of all time by the International Film Critics Symposium.
“Two Nights with DakhaBrakha”
DakhaBrakha in Concert
Fri May 20, 2016 at 7:30pm
Film Screening of “Earth” with new live score performed by DakhaBrakha (NY debut)