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 (specifically the community that has its origin from Galicia) and in Ukraine, in particular, how the alphabet is called, the  pronunciation of the letters, the melody used to sing the alphabet (or the lack thereof a song), as […]

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 name “velosyped” is more widely used, but people in western Ukraine, espеcially in villages, still often say “rover.” (For more about the diaspora language, click here.) The […]

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 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/diasporic Ukrainian, which used many dialectisms, Polonisms, and archaisms. To keep track of the differences between the two lexicons, as well as to document the way my […]

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 […]