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Ukrainian Traditions on the Folklife Today Podcast

Three people play musical instruments: a man on the left plays an overtone flute; a woman in the middle plays fiddle; a man on the right plays accordion.

Ukranian folk music performed by Gerdan as part of the Homegrown Concert series by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Thursday, May 22, 2014. Photo by Patricia Mroczyk-Kershaw

We’re back with another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! Events here at the AFC, including the retirement of our chief, Betsy Peterson, the hiring of a new archive director, Michael Pahn, and then the hiring of Nicki Saylor as our new chief, have kept us so busy that we haven’t released an episode in a while. In the meantime, world events marched on. The latest Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred just days before our most recent previous episode was released, and we’ve been thinking since then of our Ukrainian friends and colleagues. So we decided to do an episode of the Folklife Today podcast focusing on Ukrainian materials and traditions in the Archive. Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher.

As usual, I’ll present links to relevant blog posts, videos, and audio selections in this post.  But first:

Get your podcast here!

Although I was around to help script the episode, the recording dates fell while I was on leave in Europe, so the episode was ably hosted by John Fenn and Michelle Stefano, and our colleague Thea Austen was their guest. They explored Ukrainian materials in the archive. Interview segments included a discussion of Ukrainian embroidery and dance, between Geraldine Johnson and Taissa Decyk; and an interview I did earlier this year with Julian Kytasty, about his family bandura band, who immigrated to the United States as refugees in the late 1940s. Michelle also discusses the Rylʹsʹkyĭ Institute Ukrainian cylinder collection, which documents musicians – and roughly 400 individual songs – from a wide range of places in Ukraine from 1908 through the 1930s. And, we present a song from Julian Kytasty and a set of dance music from Ukrainian band Gerdan.

A Zoom interview between two men labeled Steve Winick and Julian Kytasty.

My interview with Julian Kytasty covered a range of topics; in the podcast we focused on his family’s story of immigrating to the Unites States in the late 1940s after years in refugee camps after World War II.

As is often the case, much of the material in the podcast is discussed elsewhere on the blog, and other resources are available on the Library’s website. So for the complete audio of concerts and interviews of which we played clips, and detailed information on collections we talked about, see the links below.

You can find Michelle’s discussion of the Taissa Decyk interview, with links to the interview audio, at this post.

You can find Julian Kytasty’s entire concert, plus my complete interview with Julian, at this link.

You can find the complete Gerdan concert, with an introduction by Solomia Gorokhivska, at this link.

You can visit the finding aid to the Rylʹsʹkyĭ Institute Ukrainian cylinder collection at this link.

And you can explore our Ukraine finding aid at this link.

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for listening!

In case you need that podcast link again…here it is!

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