A Ukrainian Summer: where to go, what to do...

Traditions of Ivan Kupalo flourish in New York City

NEW YORK - Yara Arts Group and Nova Nomada will present "Ivana-Kupala: Pagan Slavic Midsummer Night Festivities" in New York this June and July. Preparations will start in mid-June with workshops in Ukrainian folk-singing with Maryana Sadovska. The participants will discover their own folk voice and learn ancient Kupalo songs. They do not have to be able to read Ukrainian or music to participate.

On June 23 an indoor event, "Midsummer Night Music and Images," will feature Ms. Sadovska, Yara and Nova Nomada artists. On July 7 "Old Midsummer Night will witness another "Kupalo Freakout" - an outdoor event with traditional rituals and songs, as well as a healthy dose of anarchy and ethno-avant-garde art.

Reviewing the event last year Kristina Lucenko wrote: "The community garden on Sixth Street and Avenue B was the perfect environment, with its crowded, lush plots of flowers and vegetables spilling over onto narrow crooked paths."

Members of Yara were tucked into the garden's many hidden corners: some read from Hohol's short stories, while others sang traditional Kupalo melodies and did water incantation. "I've always loved the mystery of Kupalo," said Virlana Tkacz, the organizer of the event. "These rituals connect us to a past that is almost forgotten. But what a visceral connection - what drama - fire and water! And for an instant an ancient ritual is alive in us."

The Yara Arts Group invites the public to help create these celebrations. Sing, dance, generate ideas and organize these events; volunteer your talent and time. Contact: Yara Arts Group, 306 E.11th St. #3B, New York, NY 10003; telephone, (212) 475-6474; website, www.brama.com/yara/.

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Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, May 6, 2001, No. 18, Vol. LXIX

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