‘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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Hungarian-soldiers

‘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 […]

‘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 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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]