How Ukrainians reinterpret their own folklore


How Ukrainians reinterpret their own folklore

The last 5 weeks have forced Ukrainians to rethink everything: their lives, their identity, their heritage. Music is an integral part of this heritage. We are proud of our culture and this is one of the many differences that exist between us and the russian occupiers. And now that the whole world is looking at us, we need to constantly talk about who we are and why we are extraordinary.

Ukrainian music is something very special. Special as a phenomenon, as an approach, as a technique. The outlines of the peculiarities of Ukrainian folk music appeared a long time ago. The origin of our music is proved by material evidence – objects from rattles and flutes from Chernihiv region, about XX thousand years old to frescoes in Sophia of Kyiv with images of various wind, percussion and string instruments. (tell me that Lenin also left these frescoes there) Music has accompanied the lives of Ukrainians for thousands of years. Songs, dancing, poetry were an important part of rituals, work processes. (Like wedding songs, Christmas carols) This can be traced in the motifs and plots of early Ukrainian musical folklore.

Later, Ukrainian folk music began to have a more specific style. For example, the songs of the Prydnyprov’ya were distinguished by melodic ornamentation, vocalization of vowels. Pre-Carpathian and Carpathian songs differed in the use of Hutsul and Lemko dialects, as well as intonation close to the natural order, descending glissando at the end of phrases, singing with exclamations, recitative, interaction of vocal and instrumental principles. There were also a number of unique instruments that were used only in Ukrainian music – trembitas, ocarinas and bagpipes. It is important to understand such features, because this is the only way to draw parallels with modern music.

The heritage needs to be rethought. And when it is qualitatively rethought, there are symbols, specific values. That is why, for example, Ukrainians so often see and create art and murals with Shevchenko in modern clothes, and even the most fashionable hipsters post his quotes on social media. His image constantly appears when we need to remember and defend our own integrity once again, because Shevchenko is a holistic image that has not just remained in the past, but continues to inspire Ukrainians every day.

Precisely because we are able to rethink our culture, Dahabraha is cool. In art we have something to rely on historically and we know exactly how not to stand in the past, but to move forward. Using techniques and motifs of Ukrainian folk music and combining them with modern beats, creating a colorful fusion – that we do very well. And this is what we have to show the world.

The list of incredible Ukrainian performers can be very, very long. Today we share a small selection of current Ukrainian music. In some tracks there are folk motifs, which were written about above, and some are much more experimental. We want our music to be known as diverse, bold and unique. Same as ourselves.

Iia Seleznova