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Festival of Folk Music to take you to Krayina Mriy, Land of Dreams

 

 

The Festival of Folklore Music Krayina Mriy is an annual event, which brings together folk and ethno rock musicians, craftsmen and applied art artists. Tetyana POPELYSHEVA went to Spivoche Pole where the three-day festival of ethnic-oriented music and art was held in mid-July, to investigate.

 

I had a vision Цor was it for real?

I heard tell of the land of dreams

Where mysteries unfold

In an enchanted and enchanting grove.

Oleh Skrypka

 

Krayina Mriy translates as The Land of Dreams. Life without dreams is like an ocean without water, says Oleh Skrypka, the initiator and organizer of the Ethno Festival Krayina Mriy and frontman of the Ukrainian rock-group Vopli Vodoplyasova. He wanted his dreams of a folk music festival to come true Ч and they did.

This year the Festival welcomed musicians from Ukraine and from foreign countries who performed at a place on one of the Kyiv green hills called Spivoche Pole, or The Singing Field. For three days, July 8 through 10, Spivoche Pole was indeed a singing place. There were seven stages erected at the venue, each stage given to all kinds of folk, ethno rock and traditional music. They were the days of music magic. The very special atmosphere of the festival was enhanced by craftsmen and blacksmiths, who showed their skills and offered their wares to the eager and festively dressed, mostly young crowds among who there were many who were wearing traditional Ukrainian clothes, a sight rather unusual for Kyiv.

On Obryadova Stsena (Ritual Stage), Crimean and Bulgarian folk groups staged shows that demonstrated the traditional rituals of the places these groups came from. Kobzarska Stsena (Kobzar Stage) was given to the best Ukrainian kobzars (folk bards who perform epic songs while playing the musical instrument kobza) Taras Kompanichenko, Vadym Shevchuk and Mykhailo Khay, who proved that the ancient art of kobzars was still alive.

Among the performers at the festival were the Hungarian group Esztenas, which represents musical traditions of the ethnic minority chango who live in north-eastern Romania; the Russian group Volnytsya, and the Georgian folk group Basiani. The Ukrainian hip-hop band Tartak and ethno-jazz band Gutsul Kalipso performed on the central stage. A medley of Anglo-Saxon rock, British traditional music and Celtic tunes was presented by the French trio Red Carnell. In their music echoes of melodies of various countries and regions with elements of rock and Celtic traditional music could be discerned. A charismatic, 25-year-old singer, Sevara Nazarkhan, from Uzbekistan, who recently won the first prize at the BBC World Music Awards in Best Asian Singer nomination, was at her best, singing melodious tunes and performing an exotic dance. She is often called УUzbek MadonnaФ and I did think there was something in her singing technique that reminded me of the western pop diva. But in spite of her charms she failed to get the audience ecstatic the way Oleh Skrypka and his band Vopli Vodoplyasova did during their highly energetic act.

Children who came to Spivoche Pole with their parents had much fun too Ч they were invited to paint little ceramic bells, toy clay houses, pysanky (Easter eggs), and tiny peasant houses made of cardboard, complete with straw roofs. Children were taught skills of making traditional toys using straw, clay and threads.

At various places of the Alley of Masters, the curious, of whom there were a lot, could witness the intricate process of weaving and forging, and even try their hands at carving wood and making pottery. Craftsmen came from many parts of Ukraine. Among the handicraft marvels I saw was a marvellous piece of white on white embroidery made by an embroiderer from Poltava. Ivan Pankov, a master potter from Lutsk, displayed his wares, answering questions of and giving tips to the curious.

President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko and his family, were among the guests of the festival. His daughters Khristinka and Sofiyka and his son Taras were seen wearing traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts. The President talked to carvers, weavers and other craftsmen and said that he enjoyed such festivals. He bought several applied and decorative art items for his collection.

Those on the gourmet side could taste spicy Indian dishes, German traditional food and a lot of traditional Ukrainian dishes as well. On the last day of the festival, or rather the last night, impressive fireworks regaled the crowds after Oleh Skrypka and Nina Matviyenko, a remarkable Ukrainian singer famous for her rendering of folk songs, performed their numbers which closed the festival. The three days and nights, highly charged with music, art and young vigour, gave me enough vibrant energy to last for quite some time.

 

Photographs by Oleksiy ONISHCHUK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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