A Ukrainian Christmas music playlist from Euromaidan Press

christmas2

 

Culture, Ukraine

In Ukraine, the Christmas season starts from the lemold-rite Christmas on 7 January. It is a time full with music – in the Ukrainian tradition, teams of carolers start visiting their neighbors on Christmas Eve, 6 January, singing songs glorifying the birth of Christ intermingled with pagan motives reaching prehistoric times.  On 14 January, the Old New Year or St.Basil’s, bountiful shchedrivka songs (the most famous of which you can hear in Carol of the Bells) are added to the holiday mix, and yet other carols appear in the repertoire on 19 January, when Julian-calendar Christian churches mark Epiphany.

To this day, the tradition of Christmas caroling lasting up to 40 days in some regions of Ukraine opens a door into a reality connecting past generations with those of today, heavens with the earth, and in which the mundane gives way to festivity for old and young. Here we offer a (by no means exhaustive) selection of our favorite Ukrainian Christmas music, all based on the Ukrainian caroling tradition. Some songs preserve the authentic tradition, some modernize it beyond recognition. All of them are guaranteed to add an unconventional touch to your Christmas celebrations. So turn on the youtube playlist and let the magic begin!

1. Pikkardiyska Tertsiya: Dobryi vechir tobi, pane hospodariu

The #1 carol of the Ukrainian Christmas season, Dobryi vechir tobi is known by young and old. Perhaps its popularity can be explained by its lyrics, which are perfect for an opening greeting of carolers, who bring good tidings to the homemaster: he will be visited by three holidays, Christmas, St.Basil’s (or Old New Year), and Vodokhreshcha, or Epiphany. All the earth should rejoice, and prepare for the upcoming feast with tablecloths of tapestries and cakes of spring wheat: the Son of God is born. Here performed by the acapella Lviv band Pikkardiyska Tertsiya, this rendition of Ukraine’s most well-known carol has become a national favorite. Pikkardiyska Tertsiya’s Plyve Kacha was adopted by the Euromaidan revolution as a farewell song to protesters shot by the riot police. It is now associated as a song of sorrow for Ukraine’s fallen warriors in Donbas.

Click to expand Dobryi vechir tobi lyrics with translation
Dobryi vechir tobi, pane hospodariu
Good evening to you, good host
Raduisia! Oi raduisia, zemle,
Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
Rejoice! Oh rejoice earth,
The Son of God is born!
Zasteliaite stoly ta vse kylymamy,
Lay tapestries on your tables,
Tai kladit kalachi z yaroi pshenytsi
And place cakes from spring wheat
Bo pryidut do tebe try praznyky v hosti:
Because three holidays will come visit you
Oi shcho pershyi praznyk – Rozhdestvo Khrystove,
And the first holiday is the birth of Christ
A druhyi vzhe praznyk – Sviatoho Vasylia,
And the second holiday is St.Basil’s day
A tretii vzhe praznyk – Sviate Vodokhreshcha.
And the third holiday is Holy Epiphany

2. Pelageya: Rozhdestvenskaya

The Ukrainian carol Dobryi vechir tobi is famous outside Ukraine. In this video, Pelageya Khanova, the Russian folk singer and frontwoman of the eponymous band Pelageya, made a mystic rendition of the song in russified Ukrainian, titling it “Rozhdestvenskaya,” or “Christmas song.” Christmas carols, while widely practiced in Ukraine, are less observed in Belarus, and are relatively rare in Russia, except for regions neighboring Ukraine.

Click to expand Rozhdestvenskaya lyrics with translation
A v Ierusalime
In Jerusalem
Rano zazvonili.
They started ringing the bells early
Raduysya, oy, raduysya Zemle!
Rejoice, oh rejoice, earth!
Razveselyy Bozhiy Syn,
The most joyous Son of God,
Bozhiy narodylsya!
Son of God was born!
A pridut ka k tebe
And so you will be visited
Tri prazdnichka v gosti
By three holidays.
Raduysya. Oy raduysya Zemle!
Rejoice, oh rejoice, earth!
Razveselyy Bozhiy Syn
The most joyous Son of God,
Bozhiy syn narodilsya!
Son of God was born!
 
A yak pervyy prazdnik
And the first holiday
Svyatoe Rozhdestvo
Is the Holy Nativity.
Raduysya, oy raduysya zemle
Rejoice, oh rejoice, earth!
Razveselyy Bozhiy Syn
The most joyous Son of God,
Bozhiy syn narodilsya!
Son of God was born!

 

A yak drugiy prazdnik
And the second holiday
Svyatogo Vasilya.
Is of St.Basil.
Raduysya, oy raduysya zemle
Rejoice, oh rejoice, earth!
Razveselyy Bozhiy Syn
The most joyous Son of God,
Bozhiy syn narodilsya!
Son of God was born!
 
A yak tretiy prazdnik
And the third holiday
Svyatoe Kreshchen’ye.
Is the Holy Epiphany.
Raduysya, oy raduysya zemle
Rejoice, oh rejoice, earth!
Razveselyy Bozhiy Syn
The most joyous Son of God,
Bozhiy syn narodilsya!
Son of God was born!
Sobralisya v gosti srazu tri radosti
Three cheers together will come to visit you
Raduysya, oy raduysya zemle
Rejoice, oh rejoice, earth!
Razveselyy Bozhiy Syn
The most joyous Son of God,
Bozhiy syn narodilsya!
Son of God was born!
A za nepoladki
And for these problems [initial Ukrainian version, ‘za tsi koliadki,’ for these carols]
Prosim shokoladki!
We ask for chocolates!

3. Ruslana: Dobryi vechir tobi

Our third song is yet another version of the Ukrainian folk classic, this time by Ukrainian pop singer Ruslana, who won the 2004 Eurovision with her Wild Dances. Ruslana also became known as the voice of the Euromaidan protests of 2013-2014, leading the recitations of the Ukrainian anthem from the stage through the winter nights, and afterward founded the Ukrainian Image Agency. Ruslana added a sentimental touch to both the lyrics and music:

Click to expand Dobryi vechir tobi lyrics with translation
Dobryi vechir tobi, pane hospodariu, raduisia!
Good evening to you, good host, rejoice!
Oi raduisia zemle, Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
Rejoice, oh earth, the Son of God is born!
 
Oi u Vyfleiemi stalasia novyna, raduisia!
Oh there are news coming from Bethlehem, rejoice!
Oi raduisia zemle, Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
Rejoice, oh earth, the Son of God is born!
 
Tam Diva Mariia porodyla syna, raduisia!
There Virgin Mary gave birth to a son, rejoice!
Oi raduisia zemle, Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
Rejoice, oh earth, the Son of God is born!
 
Z vishchuniv prorokiv u vikakh pradavnikh, raduisia!
From the oracular prophets in ancient times, rejoice!
Oi raduisia zemle, Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
Rejoice, oh earth, the Son of God is born!
 
Vin nese spasinnia tym sertsiam, shcho viriat, raduisia!
He carries salvation to those hearts that believe, rejoice!
Oi raduisia zemle, Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
Rejoice, oh earth, the Son of God is born!
 
Syn Bozhyi narodyvsia!
The Son of God is born!

4. Menestreli: Koliada (Narodyvsia Boh na saniakh)

Narodyvsia Boh na saniakh (“God was born on a sleigh”) is a poem of one of Ukraine’s best poets, Bohdan Ihor-Antonych. Antonych lived and died in a western Ukraine under Polish control. He grew up in the Lemko area of Ukraine, where old, pagan deities lingered among the pine forests and haunted a superficially Christianised world. In the poem, Antonych paints a picture of how Jesus would be born in his native land, during the winter where sleighs are the primary transport. The vocal sextet Menestreli (1997-2003) made a crystal clear performance of the poem set to music by composer Vasyl Zhdankin. Antonych’s poetry, referred to as the “fusion of literary talent and a pagan, rebellious spirit,” recently received an English translation by Stephen Komarnyckyj in the book Night Music printed by Kalyna language Press. This translation of Koliada is also by Stephen Komarnyckyj.

Click to expand Koliada (Narodyvsia Boh na saniakh) lyrics with translation
Narodyvsia Boh na saniakh
God was born on a sleigh
V lemkivskim mistechku Dukli.
In Dukli, a Lemko town,
Pryishly lemky u krysaniakh
The Lemkos came in their hats
I prynesly misiats kruhlyi.
Bearing the round moon.
 
 
Teshut tesli z sribla sany,
The carpenters hew a sleigh from silver,
Stelytsia snizhysta put.
The snowy path spreads before them,
Na tykh saniakh v syn neznanu
In this sleigh they will bear
Dytia Bozhe povezut.
God’s child to depths of blue unknown.
 
V nich u snihovi zavii,
Night, and blizzards swirling
Krutiatsia navkolo sny.
Around the rooftop.
U doloni u Marii,
Mary holds in her palm
Misiats zolotyi horyt.
The moon’s gold walnut.
 
 
Skhodyt sontse u krysani,
The sun wears his hat as he goes
Spyt slavianskeie Dytia.
The sleigh passes, the lady weeps,
Idut sany, plache Pani,
And life is blanketed with snows
Snihom stelytsia zhyttia.
As the Slavic child sleeps.

5. Ptakha – Izprezhdi Vika

This carol, translated as “Earlier Times,” is one of the most striking in the Ukrainian modern repertoire. It is considered to go back to prehistoric times and represent the Ukrainians’ earliest cosmogonic ideas. Ukrainian ethnographer Ksenofont Sosenko, who reconstructed the Ukrainian pre-Christian Chrismas traditions, sees this as confirmation of the hypothesis that before the eastern Slavs were Christianized, the winter solstice was a time for celebrating the birth of the world. The carol speaks of the world being created out of sand from the floor of the great prehistoric sea. Initially, two doves were the ones diving under its waters, but the later Christianization of the Slavs led to the introduction of the figure of St.Peter. You can listen to an authentic recording of the carol here and read more about Ukrainian prehistoric Christmas traditions here. This rendition by Ptakha, a progressive electrofolk girlband, combined the traditional Ukrainian bandura, synths and samples with counterpoint vocals to create a cosmic sound for this captivating song.

Click to expand Izprezhdi Vika lyrics with translation
Oi, iak zhe bulo izprezhdi vika
Oi, dayi Bo[h].
Oh, how it was before all time
Oh, God, let it be [refrain repeats after each line]
Oi, yak ne bulo neba i zemli
Oh, when there was no sky and earth
A tilky bulo synieie more
When there was only the blue sea
Na tomu mori horily ohni
Lights were burning on that sea
Kolo tykh ohniv sydily sviati.
And the holy ones were sitting near the lights
Radiat radonku, koho v more poslat.
Holding a council as to whom to send into the sea
Oi, poidy, Petro, po more na dno
Oh, go; Peter, to the bottom of the sea
Ta dostan Petro zhovtoho piska
And retrieve, Peter, some yellow sand
Ta posiiemo po vsomu svitu,
Let us sow it all over the world
Shchob urodylos nebo i zemlia
So that the sky and earth would be born
Nebo zoriamy, zemlia kvitamy
The sky – with stars, the earth – with flowers

6. Bozhychi: Shcho z Kyieva tai do Rusalyma

The Ukrainian vocal ensemble Bozhychi performs Ukrainian traditional music in the authentic tradition, the same way as it is sung in Ukrainian villages and settlements, where it is disappearing at an alarming rate. The ensemble is active in conducting its own ethnographic expeditions, as well as popularizing traditional culture among Ukraine’s youth. Bozhychi released an album of traditional Ukrainian carols eponymous to the carol we’re featuring here, Shcho z Kyieva tai do Rusalyma (“From Kyiv to Jerusalem”), which is a touching illustration of the simple people’s faith, where holy figures including God Himself come and mingle among humans.

Click to expand Shcho z Kyieva tai do Rusalyma lyrics with translation
Shcho z Kyieva ta y do Rusalyma Alylui
From Kyiv to Jerusalem, Allelujah
Shcho z Kyieva ta y do Rusalyma Hospody pomylui
From Kyiv to Jerusalem, Lord have mercy
Tudy ishlo azh try chernychenky Alylui
There were walking three nuns, Allelujah
Tudy ishlo azh try chernychenky Hospody pomylui
There were walking three nuns, Lord have mercy
pervaia yishla-Susa Khrysta nesla Alylui
The first one carried Jesus Christ, Allelujah
pervaia yishla-Susa Khrysta nesla Hospody pomylui
The first one carried Jesus Christ, Lord have mercy
druhaia yishla -Mykolaia nesla Alylui
The second one carried St.Nicholas, Allelujah
druhaia yishla -Mykolaia nesla Hospody pomylui
The second one carried St.Nicholas, Lord have mercy
tretiaia yishla shche y Mariiu nesla Alylui
The third one carried St.Mary, Allelujah
tretiaia yishla shche y Mariiu nesla Hospody pomylui
The third one carried St.Mary, Lord have mercy
Nad Susom Khrystom try svichi palaiut Alylui
Above Jesus Christ three candles are burning bright, Allelujah
Nad Susom Khrystom try svichi palaiut Hospody pomylui
Above Jesus Christ three candles are burning bright, Lord have mercy
Nad Mykolaiem knyhy chytaiut Alylui
Above St.Nicholas [holy] books are being read, Allelujah
Nad Mykolaiem knyhy chytaiut Hospody pomylui
Above St.Nicholas [holy] books are being read, Lord have mercy
Nad Mariieiu roza roztsvilasia Alylui
Above St. Mercy a rose has bloomed, Allelujah
Nad Mariieiu roza roztsvilasia Hospody pomylui
Above St. Mercy a rose has bloomed, Lord have mercy
Shcho z toi rozy ta y vyletiv ptakh Alylui
From that rose, a bird flew out, Allelujuah
Shcho z toi rozy ta y vyletiv ptakh Hospody pomylui
From that rose, a bird flew out, Lord have mercy
Shcho toi ptakh tai siv na nebesakh Alylui
And that bird sat on the heavens, Allelujah
Shcho toi ptakh tai siv na nebesakh Hospody pomylui
And that bird sat on the heavens, Lord have mercy

7. Taras Chubai: Nyni Rozhdestvo

Our seventh song, Nyni Rozhdestvo (“Now is the nativity”),  is from the project Nashe Rizdvo (“Our Christmas”) by singer Taras Chubai, Plach Yeremiyi and Skriabin bands, Yuliya Lord and Andriy Pidluzhnyi, particularly – from a 2008 performance at the Nashe Rizdvo festival. Like the poem by Antonych, it imagines Biblical events taking place in a Ukrainian reality by giving a widespread church carol a national makeover, where representatives of Ukrainian ethnographic regions greet the birth of Christ: the guys living in Poltava, Podil, Volyn, as well as representatives of sub-ethnic groups: Lemkos, Boikos, Hutsuls.

Click to expand Nyni Rozhdestvo lyrics with translation
Nyni rozhdestvo Bozhoho Dytiaty,
Now is the nativity of God’s Child,
Brattia-ukraintsi ydut Yoho vitaty.
The brothers-Ukrainians are coming to greet him.
 
Pryspiv:
Chorus:
Tutky lemky spivaiut, podoliaky yim hraiut,
Here the Lemkos are singing, and the guy from Podolia is playing,
Volyniak shchos mirkuie, boiko lehko tantsiuie,
The guy from Volyn is thinking about something, and the Boiko is lightly dancing,
Poltavets pliasaie, hutsul trembitaie
The guy from Poltava is dancing, and the Hutsul is playing the trembita [Alpine horn].
Trara, trara, trara, ra-ra-ra.
Trara, trara, trara, ra-ra-ra.

 

Chuty dovkola liubi zharty, smikhy,
Dear jokes and laughter are heard all around,
Isus malenkyi v ruchky bie z utikhy.
Little Jesus is clapping His hands from pleasure.
 
Pryspiv.
Chorus.
 
Isuse malenkyi, bavsia razom z namy,
Little Jesus, make merriness with us,
I z Ivaskamy ta y i Mykhaskamy.
With the Joe’s and the Mike’s.
 
Pryspiv.
Chorus.

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8.B&B project: Shchedryk

B&B is an acronym for the Bandura & Button Accordion Project, a young duet which performs world-known classics on the two Ukrainian traditional musical instruments. The project took off fast as their first cover of Metallica’s Nothing else matters gathered 500,000 views in only a week. Here the couple performs their instrumental take on the world- famous Ukrainian folksong that became universally known as Carol of the Bells.

9. Drevo: Pane Hospodariu

Without any exaggeration, Drevo is a legendary vocal ensemble. Formed in 1979, it for the first time showed to Ukraine and the world that Ukrainian traditional music has an artistic value as it is, without any adaptation. It is Drevo that set the example for other Ukrainian musical collectives, among them Bozhychi who we mentioned earlier, to explore and perform traditional music in the authentic tradition. This carol, Pane Hospodariu (“Mr.Homeowner”), is from the album Rai Rozvyvsia (“Paradise has blossomed”) about Christian motives in Ukrainian traditional music. It’s notable for the word “rozvyvsia,” which is best translated as blossomed but refers to the unexpected reanimation of something dead, such as a dry tree that suddenly started sprouting green leaves. In the carol, paradise starts blossoming right in the middle of the homeowner’s house, now that Christ is born.

Click to expand Pane Hospodariu lyrics with translation
Pane-hospodariu, na tvoiemu dvori
Mister homeowner, in your yard
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
 
Na tvoiemu dvori tserkvu zbuduvaly.
In your yard a church was built,
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
 
Zbuduvaly tserkvu z troma prestolamy.
A church was built with three altars.
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
 
Na pervom prestoli – Rozhdestvo Khrystovo!
On the first altar is the Nativity of Christ!
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
 
Na druhom prestoli – Vasylii Velykyi!
On the second altar is St.Basil!
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
 
Na tretom prestoli – Sviateie Khreshchennia!
On the third altar is the Holy Epiphany!
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
 
Rozhdestvo Khrystovo radost nam pryneslo.
The birth of Christ has brought us happiness
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
Vasylii Velykyi – “Z Novym Rokom!” – skazhe.
Basil the Great will tell us “Happy New Year!”
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!
Sviateie Khreshchennia vodu nam osviatyt.
Holy Epiphany will sanctify water for us.
Rai rozvyvsia, rai rozvyvsia,
Paradise has blossomed, paradise has blossomed
Hospod zveselyvsia,
The Lord has rejoiced,
Shcho y na svit Syn Bozhyi rodyvsia!
Because the Son of God was born into the world!

10. Salutaris: Spyh Isuse Spyh

Translated as “Sleep, Jesus sleep,” Spyh Isuse Spyh is a Ukrainian carol-lullaby for the little newborn Jesus. Here it is performed in the Ukrainian language by the Belarusian chamber choir Salutaris, adding a calm and contemplative tone to Christmas celebrations.

Click to expand Spyh Isuse Spyh lyrics with translation
Spy, Isuse, spy, spatonky khody!
Sleep, Jesus, sleep! Come to sleep!
Ya Tebe mu kolysaty,
I will rock you to sleep,
Pisonkamy prysypliaty:
Sing you to sleep,
Spy, Isuse, spy.
Hushaby, dearest, hushaby.
 
Spy, Leliiko, spy, holovku sklony.
Sleep, my flower, sleep, bow down your head,
Tu na ruchenky Marii,
You are on the hands of Mary,
Bach Vona Tebe leliie:
See how she caresses you,
Liuli, serdenko, liuli.
Hushaby, dearest, hushaby.
 
Spy, Isuse, spy, Sertse vitvory,
Sleep, Jesus, sleep, open up your heart.
Nai pry Nomu spochyvaiu
Let me rest aside it
Tu na zemly i tam v raiu
Here on the earth and there in heaven.
Liuli, serdenko, liuli!
Hushaby, dearest, hushaby.
Nai pry Nomu spochyvaiu
Let me rest aside it
Tu na zemly i tam v raiu
Here on the earth and there in heaven.
Liuli, serdenko, liuli!
Hushaby, dearest, hushaby.
Spy, Isuse, spy.
Sleep, Jesus, sleep.

11. Shpylyasti Kobzari: Jingle bells (Ukrainian version)

This year’s prize for the cutest  Jingle Bells cover goes to the Ukrainian band Shpylyasti kobzari! The band filmed this music video in order to find a new home for six homeless puppies; the Ukrainian lyrics and idea belong to Ukrainian poetess Oksana Borovets of the Bandura Style project which promotes the traditional Ukrainian music instrument – bandura (resembling a harp).

Click to expand Jingle Bells (Ukrainian version) lyrics with translation
Sribno-bilyi snih
Silvery-white snow
Vystele porih.
Will carpet your doorstep.
Klyche u svity
The serpentine of roads
Serpantyn dorih.
Invites to wander the world.
Za viknamy imla
Haze is outside the window
I v poshukakh tepla
And searching for warmth
Po vulytsi zasnizhenii
On the snowy street
Ide-brede zyma.
Winter is wandering about.
 
Pryspiv:
Chorus:
Tsilyi den dzen-dzelen
All the day, ding-ding-ding
Dzvonyky dzveniat.
Bells are ringing.
Yalynkovi likhtari
Christmas tree lights
Kazkovo merekhtiat. Khei!
Are sparkling like in a fairy tale. Hey!
Tsilyi den dzen-dzelen
All the day, ding-ding-ding
Dili-don-din-din.
Dili-don-din-din.
Zirka siaie i lunaie
The star is shining and all around
Tsei rizdvianyi dzvin.
Resounds this Christmas jingle.
 
Mykolai ide.
St.Nicholas is coming.
Khor yanholiv vede.
Leading a chorus of angels.
Viter-snihovii
The snowstorm wind
U dymar hude.
Is blowing down the chimney.
My zychymo usim
We wish to everyone
Doroslym i malym
Young and old
U tsiu charivnu svitlu nich
In this magical luminous night
Znaity svii teplyi dim.
To find their warm house.
 
Pryspiv.
Chorus.
 
Podarunkiv mikh:
A sack of presents:
Lasoshchi ta smikh.
Sweets and laughter.
Shchastia i dobra
There will be plenty of
Vystachyt na vsikh.
Happiness and kindness for all.
Dyvysia, na vikni
Look, on the window glass
Dereva kryzhani –
There are icy trees –
Tse Novyi Rik letyt do nas
This is the New Year flying to us
Na bilomu koni.
On a white horse.
Pryspiv.
Chorus

12. Burdon: Czhy doma-doma / Tam na richtsi na Iordani

The Ukrainian folk-band Burdon from Lviv is known for their acoustic arrangements of Eastern European music from the Balkans to the Carpathians that, while departing from the authentic tradition, preserve its sincerity  and authentic spirit. This song Czhy doma-doma / Tam na richtsi na Iordani (“Is he at home / There on the river Jordan) comes from their 2006 Christmas album Vam kolyadochka (“A carol for you”) and is a combination of two carols: a Christmas carol with the traditional wishes of goodwill to the host and a hint that the carolers wouldn’t oppose a treat, and an Epiphany carol.

Click to expand Czhy doma-doma / Tam na richtsi na Iordani lyrics with translation
Chy doma doma nash pan khaziain
Is our Mr. homemaster at home
Boh yemu
God gave him
Dai yemu, Bozhe,
Give to him, o God,
shchastia-zdorovia
Happiness and health
V yeho domu
In his house.
 
V pana Ivana umnaia zhena
Mr. Ivan has a smart wife
Boh yemu
God gave him
Dai yemu, Bozhe,
Give to him, o God,
shchastia-zdorovia
Happiness and health
V yeho domu
In his house.
 
Za stolom sydyt, try charky derzhyt
Sitting at the table, holding three goblets
Boh yemu
God gave him
Dai yemu, Bozhe,
Give to him, o God,
shchastia-zdorovia
Happiness and health
V yeho domu
In his house.
 
Ditok zrostyty, nas pryhostyty
To grow his children, and give us a treat
Boh yemu
God gave him
Dai yemu, Bozhe,
Give to him, o God,
shchastia-zdorovia
Happiness and health
V yeho domu
In his house.
 
 
Tam na richtsi Yordani
There on the river Jordan
 
Tam na richtsi na Yordani
There on the river Jordan
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir
Good evening
Dobrym liudiam
For the good people
Na zdorovia
To their health
 
A tam maty ryzy prala
There the mother [Mary] was washing [Jesus’s] robes
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
Ta y poprala, povishala
And she washed them and hung them
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
Na yalyni na kalyni
On the spruce-guelder rose
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
Pryletily yanholiata
The little angels flew down
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
Vzialy ryzy na kryliata
Took the robes on their wings
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
Ta y ponesly na nebesy
And carried to the skies
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
A nebesy otvorylys
And the skies opened up
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…
My khreshcheni poklonylys
We christened people bowed down
Shchedryi vechir
Bountiful evening
Dobryi vechir…
Good evening…

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  • IdeaMaidan

    This topic touches on the research work I have been doing recently in preparing a new website on Ukrainian music. A lot of my research is centered on the “Avtentyka Revival Movement”—I borrow this term from the Ukrainian-American scholar/musician Maria Sonevytsky—and Drevo by all accounts was definitely the pioneering ensemble in this movement, in many ways the model, as you note, of all the ensembles that followed thereafter. And this is no small-scale movement, either—these groups have proliferated so extensively in Ukraine, particularly in the last two decades, to the point where they are now almost difficult to keep track of.

    There does seem to be some discrepancy as to when Drevo actually began, though. Most sites specify 1979, as you do, as the year the group started. However, the official Drevo site itself notes that the inaugural moment for the group dates way back to 1958, when the composer/folklorist Volodymyr Matviyenko first began traveling to the village of Kryachkivka in Poltavshchyna to listen to the distinctive polyphonic vocal traditions the village was famous for.

    Even more confusingly, the Drevo site then mentions 2010 as their 50th anniversary year, which would in fact posit 1960 as the group’s starting date.

    My guess is that what is being marked off by these dates are different stages of the group’s development.1979 seems to be the year that Yevgen Yefremov, who apparently was a student of Matviyenko at the Kyiv Conservatory, took over leadership of the group and formed a performing ensemble that then became particularly active, and perhaps much better known at that point.
    This version of Drevo, incidentally, happened to include the great
    violinist Serhiy Okhrimchuk.

    My own focus is actually not so much on the “ Avtentyka Revival Movement” in and of itself, but rather on the decisive influence that I believe this movement has had on much of the best music that has come out of Ukraine in recent years.

    Okhrimchuk would probably be the most conspicuous example of this I would point to, not only in that most of what he has done is excellent, but also because he has been pretty much ubiquitious on the Ukrainian music scene in the last few decades. Indeed, the man has been involved in so many wildly diverse projects over the last few decades that I’ve come to feel his career has in a sense served as the secret connecting thread linking together nearly the whole of the Ukrainian music making world: Follow this one thread, that is to say, and you will find yourself becoming acquainted with a large part of what has been most worthwhile in the Ukrainian music world in recent years.

    Among a great many other things—Toporkestra, Mashala Doza, Chorea Kazatska led by Taras Kompanichenko, various formations of Oleh Skrypka’s touring band, the Electroacoustic’s Ensemble formed by composer Alla Zagaykevych—one of the most significant recent things Okhrimchuk has been involved in is Susanna Karpenko’s ongoing project “Patterned Songs”.

    Karpenko—who was involved I believe with another “avtentyka ensemble”, Hurtopravtsi (which has also included Taras Kompanichenko as well as multiple members of the band TaRuta), and now is a leading member of Bozhychi along with her husband Illya Fetysov—is another figure of first importance in the Ukrainian music-making world, in my opinion.

    I am impressed by virtually everything Karpenko has done, but I find her “Patterned Songs” project to be especially deserving of commendation. In some respects, I think it can be considered a sort of apotheosis of the whole “Avtentyka Revival Movement”.

    Another musician closely associated with “Patterned Songs” is the master of wind instruments Maksim Bereżniuk, who although a much younger man, would seem to be in the running to eventually succeed Okhrimchuk as a primary “connecting thread” figure in the Ukrainian music-making world.

    Some other figures who likewise bear the influence of the “Avtentyka Revival Movement”, but from a different angle, stem from what I call the “Avant Populist” wing—Maryana Sadovska (who has also worked with Drevo) has long been a seminal figure here; more recent artists include Dakha Brakha, Dakh Daughters, Folknery, etc.

    In any event, anyone with any information that would straighten out the discrepancy regarding the year of Drevo’s founding, I’d appreciate it if you would pass it on. The “Avtentyka Revival Movement” as a whole is in my view an extremely crucial aspect of Ukraine’s recent cultural history, and therefore it would be a good thing to be able to establish an accurate account of its precise formation narrative.

  • Rascalndear

    Recommend adding Mansound’s Shchedryk (a capella) to your list. :)