Koliada and Music from the Carpathians: Ukrainian Winter Solstice and Holiday Songs


Sunday, December 15

2–3pm Where



Yara Arts Group, under the direction of Virlana Tkacz, will stage a concert-theater event, “Koliada and Music from the Carpathians.” The Koliadnyky, an ensemble of winter song singers from the Carpathians, will sing traditional winter songs and perform brilliant troista instrumental music from the villages of Kryvorivnia and Verkhovyna, Ukraine. The program will include a musical performance by special guest bandurist Julian Kytasty.

This program celebrates Koliada, a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas but is much older in origin and symbolism. Its oldest songs are preserved in villages high in the Carpathian Mountains, where the ritual is considered to be the most important event of the year. Some believe that spring and the harvest will not come to the village unless the songs are sung in every household. Its songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: “What is said, will be so.”

Ivan Zelenchuk: bereza, or lead singer, of the Koliadnyky, whose father’s handwritten notebook of winter songs helped to preserve this tradition despite persecution under Soviet rule

Mykola Zelenchuk: winter song singer and trembita (mountain long horn)

Mykola Ilyuk: master fiddler

Vasyl Tymchuk: tsymbaly (hammer dulcimer)

Ostap Kostyuk: duda (bagpipes) and various flutes

Guest performer Julian Kytasty: bandura, a traditional Ukrainian lute-like instrument

Virlana Tkacz: founding director of Yara Arts Group, a resident company at La MaMa in New York. Since 1990, she has created 35 original theater pieces that fuse fragments of poetry, songs, legends and history from the East to create imagistic productions with narrative.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Support for this performance was provided by SUMA Federal Credit Union.