Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Traditional Ukrainian bandura music

I've been interested in Ukrainian folk music and culture for some years now, inspired by the Black Metal bands Drudkh and Hate Forest, both of whom have used samples and references of their traditional culture in their music. Trawling the net, I tracked down a number of albums of Ukrainian folk music, among the best of which are two albums of bandura music by Taras Kompanichenko and the late Mykola Budnik. The music is incredibly evocative and atmospheric, the spindly sound of the bandura at times strangely akin to that of the African kora.

I have also collected from various compilations two songs (dumas) performed by another bandurist Igor Rachok, the first of which was used (without the brief spoken intro) by Drudkh as the outro to their 3rd album "The Swan Road". I would love to track down some more of Rachok's recordings, as I find the slightly more lo-fi quality adds whole realms of atmosphere to the music; I imagine him sat by a fire in some ancient rural wayside inn, spinning tales of long ago to sombre-looking old men.

For a detailed look at Ukrainian folk traditions (not just music, but dress, architecture, crafts etc.) have a trawl around this slightly cumbersome website:

which includes some informative essays on:

plus another essay on kobza and lyre-playing tradition in the Polissya region:

Right, on to the music...

Mykola Budnyk -- Heigh, on the Black Sea

01. About Mazepa and Paliy
02. About Marusya Bogusiavka
03. About Sava Chaly
04. About Suprun
05. About Khvedor Bezrodmy
06. The Falcon Fraternized
07. A Snowstorm
08. I Will Go Through the Meadow
09. There's No Truth in this World
10. About Oleksiy Popovych


Taras Kompanichenko -- Kobza and Lyre-Playing Tradition

01. A Dance
02. About Bondarivna
03. Snowstorm
04. Hey on the Sea, on the Black Sea
05. The Lament of the Earth
06. The Captive Girl
07. To Christ on the Cross
08. Don't You Hoot, the Owl
09. Oleksiy - a Man of God (To Aleksiy)
10. The Samara Brothers
11. Saint George the Snake Fighter (To George)


Igor Rachok -- Dumas

1. About Extermination of Sich (aka "Song of Sich Destruction")
2. As Our Glorious Cossacks Were Advancing



Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Came here via a Google search for Igor Rachok. This all looks fantastic...hope your mediafire account gets unblocked soon.

balbulus said...

Cheers for the comment. Yeah, it sucks that my account got blocked. Give me your email address, and I'll email you the Igor Rachok tracks if you want.