‘Zhuravli’: The Galician Funeral Song

I recently discovered that one of my favorite Sich Riflemen (a Ukrainian unit within the Austro-Hungarian Army during WWI) songs, “Chuyesh, brate miy” AKA “Vydysh, brate miy” (Do you hear, my brother), was written in Kraków. It turns out that the song was based on a poem called “Zhuravli” (Cranes) written by […]

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A Piano with Russian Bullet Holes: On War, Family, Displacement, the Power of Music, Sich Riflemen Songs, and Russia’s Attack on Ukrainian Culture

“Did they not know that the Ukrainian people sing their beautiful songs, composed over the centuries by national heroes, not only in joy but also in sorrow, misfortune, and grief, during work and at rest, in peaceful times and in times of war? Had they heard the Sich Riflemen song […]

‘Oy u luzi chervona kalyna’: Origins of the Sich Riflemen song

“Oy u luzi chervona kalyna” (Ой у лузі червона калина) is one of the most well-known Ukrainian folk songs, and it has experienced renewed popularity due to the full-scale Russian invasion. The lyrics are over 100 years old, yet they can just as easily be applied to the events of […]

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‘Ked’ my pryshla karta’: An Austro-Hungarian Recruit Song

“Ked’ my pryshla karta” (Кедь ми прийшла карта) is a folk ballad from the Lemko region (Lemkovyna or Lemkivshchyna), a mountainous territory that stretches along the present-day borders of Ukraine, Poland, and Slovakia. The area that today belongs to Poland and Ukraine was a part of Galicia until WWI, while […]

A Look at 1920s Galicia: Photographs of Daily Life in the Countryside

Below is a collection of photographs that depict daily life in the Galician countryside in the 1920s. The photographs were found on eBay by German collector Wolfgang Wiggers, who subsequently published them on his Flickr page. At the time the photographs were taken, Galicia was part of interwar Poland. All […]

How to Teach a Bear to Play the Flute: The Fairy-Tale World of Oleksa Bakhmatiuk

By Oleksandr Simchuk for Amnesia Master tilemaker Oleksa Bakhmatiuk (1820-1882) is the most famous representative of the Kosiv school of ceramics and perhaps the most successful Ukrainian artist of the nineteenth century. A lion playing with a wheel, a bear on the flute warming up a violinist, street artists dancing […]

‘Czerwony Pas’ & ‘Verkhovyno’: The Story of a Polish and Ukrainian ‘Folk’ Song

Today, both the Poles and Ukrainians have a beloved song about the Hutsul Carpathian highlanders, sung in their own languages to a similar melody. How did this come to be? The Polish Story Karpaccy Górale We must first look back at the first half of the nineteenth century. This is […]

Ukrainian Societies in Galicia: Boyan

Name: BoyanType: Choral and musical societyGoal: To support the development of Ukrainian musical culture and choral singing; to offer music education and music printingFirst society founded: In Lviv by Ruska Besida, in particular by Anatol VakhnianynYears active: 1891 until WWII In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several societies […]

Frank Seiden: A Galician Jewish Jack-of-all-Trades in Turn-of-the-Century New York

By Daniel Carkner Frank Seiden is an enigmatic figure of the early Jewish entertainment world in the United States. Born in Galicia in 1860, he arrived in New York’s Lower East side in 1877 and eventually became known as a street performer, magician, and vaudeville actor. By 1900 he became […]

The Casino de Paris: A Separate Multicultural Galician World

Below is a translation of Daryna and Volodymyr Olshansky’s “The History of One Theater,” published Feb. 2, 2021, on Zbruc “In the center on the left side of Lesia Kurbasa Street in Lviv there is a building that you cannot pass by without noticing — the eye will first linger […]

The Broderzingers: Galicia’s Itinerant Yiddish Folk Troupes

The Broderzingers The Broderzingers (“singers of Brody”) were itinerant troupes of folksingers who performed in taverns and inns initially in Galicia, and later in Bukovina, Transcarpathia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Emerging in the early nineteenth century, these performers were among the first to perform Yiddish-language songs outside of Purim […]