31 December 2006

Bandura Evening

In the U.S. for the holidays, we were nonetheless treated to a fascinating piece of Ukrainian culture at a friend's holiday party. Two of the top Bandurists from Ukraine, Taras Lazurkevych and Oleh Sozansky performed a few Christmas carols to raise funds for their project described on a leaflet as:
"...the renaissance and development of the Kharkiv (Poltavska) bandura which has been almost forgotten in Ukraine. With the help of you kind koliada donation, it will be possible to complete a much needed bandura workshop in Lviv, Ukraine."
The brief performance was organized by Oleh Mahlay, artistic director and conductor, of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus (www.bandura.org). From his introductory words I learned that the bandura is an instrument unique to Ukraine. I was also interested to learn about a little-known Kobzar (Bandurist player) convention in 1934 where Kobzars assembled from all over Ukraine only to be arrested and murdered. The facts are only starting to surface about this horrible tragedy. Wikipedia mentions the event:
"In recent years significant evidence has come to light that an ethnographic conference for bandurists, specifically for blind kobzars and lirnyks, was organised in Kharkiv in December of 1934 which was attended by approximately 300 blind musicians who were subsequently arrested and murdered."
If anyone has any leads regarding this conference I'd like to explore it further. If anyone would like to help build the bandura workship in Lviv, please contact Oleh Mahlay at (www.bandura.org).


oleh mahlay said...

Petro -

Thanks for posting this. Glad you enjoyed the evening and wish you and your family all the best in the New Year.


Pawlina said...

Check with the editor of a book called Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Ukrainian Stories (Fitzhenry & Whiteside June 2006).

The "convention" and subsequent murder of the kozbari that Stalin ordered is mentioned in the books' preamble, so she would have the original source.

You can reach her through the book's blog.

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