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Nine people in colorful clothes
Hudaki Village Band. The band's concert video premieres August 2 right here on the Folklife Today blog. Photo Courtesy of the Artists.

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Hudaki Village Band’s Carpathian Music from Ukraine

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We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with a video concert by the Hudaki Village Band from the Carpathian region of Ukraine. In 2023, Homegrown is presenting a combination of live concerts here at the Library of Congress and video premieres of prerecorded concerts from around the world. The prerecorded concerts premiere here on the blog, and videos of the live concerts will be placed here a few weeks after they happen. Subscribe to the blog for more great concerts all season!  This is one of our prerecorded video concerts, shot on video in Ukraine and presented here for the first time! As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore!

The Hudaki Village Band is made up of nine master musicians from the Ukrainian Carpathians. In the Maramures region, a mountainous area of Southwest Ukraine on the border with Romania and Hungary, village musicians are called hudaki. Archaic Slavic vocal traditions, Romanian melodies, Jewish rhythms and Romany temperament blend together in a local cross culture that has evolved over centuries of living side by side.

Nine people play music on a stage
Hudaki Village Band Live at Womex in 2021. Photo by Eric van Nieuwland. Courtesy of the band.

The members of Hudaki Village Band are Kateryna Yarynych (vocal), Olha Senynets (vocal, ütögardon), Vitaliy Kovach (vocal, guitar), Mykhailo Shutko (vocal, violin), Volodymyr Tishler (double bass), Serhiy Kovach (accordion, plonka), Volodymyr Korolenko (cymbalom), Vasyl Rushchak (drums, percussion), Yuri Bukovynets (clarinet, taragot, flutes). In 20 years of performing at hundreds of festivals and concert halls across Europe, the band has learned to make their traditional music accessible to the uninitiated.  They have played the most prestigious festivals in Hungary, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, and elsewhere. Now you can enjoy them too–right in the player below!

In the interview, band member Yuri Bukovynets filled me in on the musical traditions of their region of Ukraine, as well as the history of the Hudaki Village Band. We spoke about the importance of several ethnic groups to the music of the region, including Hungarian, Romanian, Romany, and Jewish musicians along with their Ukrainian countrymen. We spoke about what it was like for native and naturalized Ukrainians to learn to play this music. (Yuri himself is an immigrant to Ukraine.) He also explained some of the group’s more unusual instruments, such as the ütögardon, the plonka, and the taragot. Of course, we talked quite a bit about the current war in Ukraine, about how people are bearing up un the strain, and especially about how music can help in the war effort, both by boosting morale within Ukraine and by spreading the word about the war to people in other countries. See our wide-ranging conversation in the player below!

After the premiere, you’ll be able to find both these videos with more bibliographic information at this link on the Library of Congress website. You’ll also find them on the Library of Congress YouTube Channel.

Collection Connections

If you enjoyed the concert and interview, check out the Collection Connections below. You’ll find links to archival collections, guides, and other materials related to Ukrainian and Carpathian music and culture.

Connect with Hudaki Village Band

Collections Guide: New for 2023!


Selected Videos

Until Next Time…

Thanks for watching, listening, and reading! The American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series brings music, dance, and spoken arts from across the country, and some from further afield, to the Library of Congress. For several years, we’ve been presenting the concerts here on the blog with related interviews and links, in the series Homegrown Plus. (Find the whole series here!) For information on current concerts, and videos of past concerts, visit the Folklife Concerts page at Concerts from the Library of Congress.

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