Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kolomyika - dancing wildness

An enduring stereotype of the Carpathians is that its mountain inhabitants are "wild" woodcutters, closer to nature than lowlanders. Popular culture supports this through literature, art and music tied to the various Rusyn groups of the region: Hutsuls, Boikos and Lemkos.

The town of Kolomyia is a major center of Hutsul culture in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains. One of the town's claims to fame is the "kolomyika", which is both a song style and a dance. The kolomyika song is made up of two-line strophes - such as in this singing by Bohdana Bonchuk and Olena Yeremenko:

The dance is begun holding hands in a ring, circling counter clockwise. Whenever they feel like it, dancers can go into the center then out again. Or, they can form a smaller ring with arms around each others backs and circle clockwise. Notice how people do the kolomyika in Andriy Nahachewsky's 1995 video from Ruski Banyliv:

When pop singer and Eurovision winner Ruslana Lyzhychko chose to profile her Hutsul ancestry, she also made wildness the central focus. Ruslana named her 2003 album "Dyki Tantsi" (Wild Dances) and included the kolomyika in her repertoire. Her kolomyika music video portrays a film team from the city that becomes infused with wildness after arriving in the Carpathians:

No comments: