The Hutsuls as Depicted by Teodor Axentowicz

Teodor Axentowicz (1859-1938), a renowned Polish-Armenian painter and the first elected rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, was born in Braşov, Hungary (now Romania). His father’s family had Armenian roots and owned a small property in Ceniów, near Brody. Axentowicz grew up in Lviv and after finishing […]

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‘Only in Lviv’: How One Song Became the Anthem for a Nation

By Juliette Bretan ‘Where else do people feel as good as here? Only in Lviv! Where else they lull you to sleep and wake you up with a song? Only in Lviv!’ (‘Tylko We Lwowie’, 1939) In the region straddling the border between Poland and Ukraine, there is a single […]

The Eastern Fair in Lviv: Art Deco Posters

The Eastern Fair The Eastern Fair (Targi Wschodnie in Polish) was a major trade fair in interwar Poland. It was established in 1921 in Lwów (today Lviv), after the end of the Polish-Soviet War, which redrew the Polish-Soviet border and incorporated Galicia into the Second Polish Republic. The aim of […]

Mozart in Lviv: Grasping for Greatness, Discovering Love

By Chris Wilkinson There is an odd symmetry to the fact that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life and music is most often identified with Vienna and Austria, while his son, Franz Xaver Mozart’s musical career took place in the obscurity of Galicia and Lviv. The son headed off to the most […]

Solomiya Krushelnytska: The Galician Who Rescued Puccini’s Madame Butterfly

By Chris Wilkinson It was a voice destined to be heard by millions, a siren’s call that was heard across the world. In opera houses from Odesa to Ottawa, Naples to New York she performed before adoring crowds entranced by the strains of her sonorous vocals. She filled the halls […]

My Best Dictionary: Ukrainian Diaspora Children’s Dictionary

A few years ago when I was was in Chicago, I found this Ukrainian (English and French) children’s dictionary at home. It was published in Canada—though I’m not sure what year. The book includes a lot of examples of words that are used in the diaspora, but which are no […]

The Ukrainian Alphabet and the Soft Sign

There are several differences in the Ukrainian alphabets used in the diaspora and in Ukraine, in particular, what we call the alphabet, the way we pronounce the letters, the melody we use when singing the alphabet (or the lack thereof a song), as well as the difference I only recently […]

Ukrainian Diaspora Vinyl Records

Music is a wonderful way to be in touch with one’s heritage, and so it’s no wonder that Ukrainian music flourished in the diaspora, producing many notable bands who have kept the communities in touch with their cultural heritage. Indeed, it was these recordings of Ukrainian folk songs that really […]

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 […]

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 […]