The former Soviet republic, now the nation of Ukraine, may be very much on your mind this week, as it is on mine. Ukrainians form Canada’s eleventh largest ethnic group and represent the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia.
I wanted to share this clip from the National Academic Ukrainian Folk Choir, “My Thoughts” (Думи Moї), arrangement by A. Avdiyevskoho on a poem by poet, writer, artist, public and political figure, folklorist and ethnographer Taras Shevchenko. Its title, text and sombre tone are captured somewhat by:
“O my thoughts, my heartfelt thoughts I am troubled for you…”
The musical setting is typical of a choral texture familiar throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union for its remarkably low bass notes.
You will no doubt be struck by the arresting painting selected to accompany the music, which is unfortunately unattributed. Ukraine, like many former Soviet republics languished long under Russian domination – most notoriously the 1922-1933 Holodomor or ‘death by hunger’ under Joseph Stalin, but in a much longer history as well. Taras Shevchenko lived from 1814-1861, but was politically convicted of advocating for the independence of Ukraine and exiled to various military and penal institutions from 1847-57. He died in St Petersburg in 1861.
Stay as safe and happy as you can! If you haven’t been for a while visit the Georgetown Choral Society website, Facebook Page and YouTube Channel – where you can subscribe to stay connected.
‘See’ you next week,