Concert “Volhynia Wedding – a world that is no more”

Centralna Biblioteka Rolnicza im. Michała Oczapowskiego

“Volhynia Wedding – a world that is no more”

Polish-Ukrainian relations in Volhynia is a difficult and painful subject. That being said, we would like to go back in time to the multicultural Volhynia from before World War II. While reconstructing a Polish-Ukrainian wedding from 1930s for “Volhynia” the movie it has been confirmed that there are vast resources of music, lyrics, dances and traditions to be found in that historical region (which straddles Poland, Ukraine and Belarus between Chełm, Tomaszow Lubelski, Kovel and Lutsk). Before World War II Polish and Ukrainian traditions and languages coexisted, coupled by Catholic and Orthodox rites. The Bug river that divided this region also brought the local people together. Some traditions differed, others were identical due to close cohabitation and mutual dialogue. The Volhynia Wedding performance is how we imagine the multicultural pre-War Volhynia – a world which does not exist anymore. It provides an insight into the rich tradition, music, dance, customs and rituals of one of the borderlands in these parts of Europe.

The concert features:

Ewa Grochowska with Singers’ Ensemble:

Maniucha Bikont, Joanna Gancarczyk, Olga Kozieł, Agnieszka Szokaluk

Babskiy Kozatchok:

Irina Klymenko, Marianna Marhel, Igor Perevertnuk, Volodymyr Shtchybra

Dziczka Ensemble:

Tetiana Sopilka, Justyna Czerwinska, Maria Puzyna, Ewa Winiarska, Agata Wróbel

Wedding Band:

Janusz Prusinowski, Mateusz Kowalski, Piotr Piszczatowski

The artists play the roles of family and guests to an old-time Polish – Ukrainian wedding in the region of Volhynia. They „sing around” the key moments of the feast: arrival of the groom, blessings, rite of the korovai bread, unveiling and capping ceremony, the bride’s moving in with the groom. Ritual and love songs, feast songs and toasts are an important element of this musical gathering. There will also be local bands and dances, such as svat, krutak, pohoda and popular tunes played at weddings: krakoviak, karapeta, kozatchok, polka, oberek and mazurka.

Babskiy Kozatchok ensemble from Kiev, Ukraine, is bringing songs from the vicinity of Volodymyr and Kiverciv, which have been preserved until this day in the country. What makes it even more interesting is that part of the repertoire presented by the ensemble has survived in the memory of the men. The ensemble, however all female, is going to feature performances by two guest singers and researchers from Polesia region, Poland.

Dziczka Ensemble based its repertoire on the archived audio records from Volhynia, West Polesia and Podolia, as well as phonographic records gathered by Yuri Tzehmistruk in the „National Songs of Volhynia 1936-37” and great Polish ethnographer Oskar Kolberg in Volume 36: Volhynia.

The Wedding Band (Kapela Weselna) brings back to life the archived records from 1970s and the region of Kovel (by Oleksyi Oshurkevitz) and the vicinity of Horokchov (by Irina Fedun), as well as the famous recordings by Mykchalo Haja from the village of Velyka Glusha. The musicians have reached down to the tunes by fiddlers from Roztochia, such as Josef Radey, who played at Volhynian weddings. The wedding band is made up after the Lubashev fashion: first and second fiddle and drum.

Ewa Grochowska’s Sngers Ensemble performs wedding rites from the Polish region of Lublin, whose musical form reflects the one of central Volhynia. The singers recreate archived records and folk lore of the pre-War weddings from that area and the songs they learned from the former generation. It has been both a research and a vocal project for them.


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