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• Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their generous financial support, without which this project could not have been achieved:
Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko,
Buduchnist Credit Union,
Ukrainian Canadian Congress,
League of Ukrainian Canadians,
Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League,
and a personal donation from Ms. Vicki Karpiak
• We gratefully acknowledge the support of Fr. C. Mykytiuk, OSBM, and the parish of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine for letting our choir hold rehearsals and record this disc at the church.
Graphic design by Volodymyr Katrushenko with motif by Oksana Andrushchenko
Recorded and mastered by FAT DOG
MADE IN CANADA
CHORAL HARVEST— is a collection of Ukrainian choral favourites performed for you by AKORD—the Ukrainian Men's Choir of Ottawa. Choosing musical pieces from the fields, steppes and mountainous Carpathian regions of Ukraine and bringing them to audiences across Canada is the passion of this male choir. The songs collected here range from spiritual and historical evocations of Ukraine’s heroic Cossack past, through poems by the iconic Taras Shevchenko set to music, to the light-hearted kolomyika dance rhythms of the Carpathians. Indeed, this collection reflects the very ethos of AKORD, which symbolizes both the richness of Ukrainian choral tradition and the melodious quality of the choir. Choral Harvest features four works by the twentieth-century Ukrainian composer Yevhen Kozak, who was a formative influence on AKORD’s conductor, L'viv Conservatory graduate Olya Katrushenko. This is AKORD’s second compact disc, following the Choir's successful debut “Three Feasts of Christmas” in 2006. The Choir’s active annual program includes traditional concerts, celebrations of religious occasions and a variety of music festivals. In a notable special event, Canada’s Governor-General invited AKORD to entertain the President of Ukraine at a state dinner in 2008. Tying together a capella harmonies in four parts, the men of AKORD hope that you will enjoy this sheaf of songs as much as we enjoyed preparing it for your listening pleasure.
THREE FEASTS OF CHRISTMAS—the Ukrainian celebration of Christmas lasts several weeks and has a unique way of incorporating New Year festivities and Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. Our disc, Three Feasts of Christmas, presents songs feting Christ's birth and baptism, as well as New Year hymns related to prosperity and the cycles of nature. These latter themes pre-date the official acceptance of Christianity in Ukraine (988 AD). However, in Christian context they acquire new celebratory significance: the generous bounty of nature seen as a gift from God.
Ukrainian Christmas music can be divided into two distinct groups. Koliady are sung in church alongside traditional liturgical texts and hymns. Koliady are a form of popular theology, frequently developing biblical themes associated with the Incarnation. Shchedrivky, on the other hand, are rarely sung in a liturgical setting, given their secular themes of bounty and prosperity. The first koliada is sung on Christmas Eve with the appearance of the first star in the evening sky. Shchedrivky are only sung from the eve of the New Year and may occasionally mention Saint Basil the Great, whose feast falls on New Year's Day.
Ukrainian carols frequently build on the Byzantine Christian awe at the event of God descending into our midst. They then reveal a more typically Western accent by focusing on the circumstances of Jesus' human existence. This combination of Eastern and Western approaches makes these carols uniquely Ukrainian. It should be noted that of all the Churches of the Byzantine tradition, only the Ukrainian Churches, Orthodox and Eastern Catholic, permit the use of such metric chorales in church.
THREE FEASTS OF CHRISTMAS
Guest soloist, Iryna Smishna, soprano, (6, 8) studied music from a young age and sang in various choirs in Vorkuta, Russia. After moving to Ukraine, she sang with a blues group, “Taste of Blues,” in Zaporizhzhya, which was renowned for its original jazz performances of Ukrainian songs. Since 2003, Iryna has directed the choir of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ottawa.