Rover: Bicycle Galician-Style

In the Ukrainian diaspora we call a bicycle a “rover” – the word which was commonly used in western Ukraine before the war. Now in Ukraine the word “velosyped” is most widely used, but people in western Ukraine, espеcially in villages, still often say “rover.” (See my diaspora language dictionary here.) The first […]

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The Ballad and Orchestra of St. Nicholas

Ballada o Św. Mikołaju is beautiful song about the sad fate of the Lemkos (a Carpathian ethnic sub-group), who were forcibly resettled from their ancestral homeland in 1944-46 to the Soviet Union, and in 1947 under Operation Vistula to western and northern Poland. Remnants of their homes, churches, and cemeteries still remain in […]

The Vanishing Galician Accent and How it Lingers in the Diaspora

The lexicon (which I wrote about here) and accent of the diaspora community in North America (specifically the community that descended from the third wave of immigration (1940s-50s), many of which came from Galicia) differs somewhat from the lexicon and accent heard today in western Ukraine. In the diaspora this […]

The Lexicon of the Third-Wave Ukrainian Diaspora

Or, The Vanishing Galician Lexicon and How It Lingers in the Diaspora When I moved to Ukraine, I had to learn a whole new Ukrainian vocabulary. It turned out that I had grown up speaking a Galician/diasporan Ukrainian, which used many dialectisms, Polonisms, and archaisms. To keep track of the differences […]

1980s Soviet Posters for Cultural Events

My parents in Chicago have some neat posters from the late Soviet period announcing various artistic and cultural events in Kyiv. Poster from 1987 Performance of Kupala rituals at the Folk Architecture Museum in Kyiv Organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Міністерство культури української […]

Reawakening Polish Prewar Urban Music

Late last year I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the atmosphere of Lviv’s interwar music scene at a live performance of a young band from Warsaw, which plays famous tunes from Poland’s 1920-1930s musical heritage. Warszawska Orkiestra Sentymentalna (Warsaw Sentimental Orchestra) comprises a group of young musicians united […]

‘Krajka. W domu’: Forgotten Music from Polish-Ukrainian Borderland

A folk band from Przemyśl — Krajka, together with Ukrainian musicians — released a new album dedicated to the lands that lie along the current Polish-Ukrainian border. “The album contains traditional music from the Polish-Ukrainian borderland, from the regions of Kholm, Lubaczow, Przemyśl, to the Carpathian mountains and valleys. These lands were once […]

Sangre de Muerdago: Interpreting Melodies Once Lost and Found Again

Two regions in the world are named Galicia—the one in east-central Europe that I have dedicated my blog to, and one in Spain’s northwest. Like the eastern Galicia, the one on the Iberian peninsula has a special musical, cultural, and linguistic heritage. Based out of this region is the group […]

DakhaBrakha: Ethno-Chaos Band

DakhaBrakha is an “ethno-chaos” band from Kyiv, created in 2014. They have gained a following around the world, have toured extensively, and have even performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert and as well as on KEXP. “Having experimented with Ukrainian folk music, the band has added rhythms of the surrounding […]

Burdon Folk Band

Burdon, formed in 2002 in Lviv, is a great example of a band that preserves and promotes folk music, allowing a new generation of people to enjoy and cherish the music of their ancestors. “We’re using acoustic folk instruments for the best reproduction of atmosphere of old dances which didn’t […]

Warsaw Village Band: Preserving the Folk Music Culture of Poland

“Presenting six young people who have created their own version of Polish folk punk! This band has found a welcome in the homes of elderly village musicians who see their traditions disappearing before the onslaught of urban life. They have taken these youngsters under their wing and have taught them […]