Friday, December 12, 2014

The Koliada

Ostap Kostyuk is a singer from a village in the Carpathian Mountains. I sketched him in watercolor last night during a performance at Bard College in New York. 
He and his group recreated the Koliada, an ancient mid-winter ritual still practiced in their villages of Kryvorivnia and Verkhovyna, high in the mountains of western Ukraine. 

In the tradition, musicians enter every household of the village, ringing bells, blowing long mountain horns, and playing a hammer dulcimer. The Koliadnyky sing a separate song to every member of the household, both living and recently deceased. If the songs are not sung properly, the spring and the harvest will not arrive.


eD said...

great work as always and I hope everyone sung properly ... but where is Jeanette's painting from the station?

scruffy said...

...if the songs are not sung properly the spring and the harvest will not arrive.

But no pressure. :)

Cynthia Nicole said...

He looks like a character out of your books.
And what a wonderful community ritual!

James Gurney said...

eD, thanks for asking. She got busy, and said she'll have it for you tomorrow.

Scruffy, ha, you're right, that would be bad. Eternal winter and starvation is the price of artistic failure.

Cynthia, yes, I imagined what it must have been like to be a kid in a little hut in the mountains visiting by this group of musicians. Awe inspiring. Here's a video to give you a taste of the music:

Caleb Suko said...

You captured him will James. I've been to Verkhovyna several times. It's one of my favorite places in Ukraine. Believe it or not the tradition of Koliada is still practiced all over Ukraine. Even here in Odessa in the city some people do it. Although here it mainly takes the form of a few youths who knock on your door, throw a handful of grain into your entry when you open the door and then they sing a traditional Ukrainian song.