Cossack’s songs of Dnipropetrovsk Region

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Inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

© Wagner, 2015

Cossack songs are sung by communities of the Dnipropetrovsk region which tell stories about the tragedy of war but also the personal relationships of Cossack soldiers. Singers practise the tradition in three different groups: Krynycya, Boguslavochka and Pershocvit. The songs are sung for pleasure and so practitioners can have a connection to the past – their ancestors and their community’s history. Many of the singers, both men and women, are aged in their 70s and 80s and have been involved in the practice for most of their lives. The groups operate around two main performers: the first who has knowledge of all the song lyrics starts the singing, then the second begins (in an upper voice), followed by the rest of the group (with middle and lower voices). If male singers are not present in the group, women impersonate them by deepening their voices. The singers normally meet regularly and while not requiring an audience, may sometimes give a concert. It is a tradition that is transmitted within families where younger members learn from those more experienced, but its continuity is now in question due to an aging bearer population and the sparsity of other knowledge sources for new generations to learn from.

Singing group 'Pershotsvit' (primrose) from Kocherezhky village against the background of inscription '30 Years of group 'Pershotsvit'
The old participants of group 'Pershotsvit' (from left to right): Praskeviia Gorodynska (b. 1931), Nadia Parshuk (b. 1931) and Maria Pylchonok (b. 1931)
Safeguarding of ensemble practice in performance of element 'Cossack songs of Dnipropetrovsk region': younger inhabitants of Kocherezhky village perform old-time Cossack song 'O, from over the mountains, from over the mountains falcon flied' with the eldest participants of group 'Pershotsvit'
Singing group 'Boguslavochka' from Boguslav village and their pupils
The eldest participants of group 'Boslavochka' (from left to right:) Kateryna Nagorna (b. 1934), Ganna Loza (b. 1933), Galyna Khorolska (b. 1935) and Ganna Kovaliova (b. 1932)
Safeguarding of ensemble practice in the performance of element 'Cossack songs of Dnipropetrovsk region': the younger inhabitants of Boguslav village learn the Cossack songs from old women from the group 'Boguslavochka'
Tradition of the Cossack songs performance: principal performers (performer beginning a song and performer singing upper voice) sit knee by knee slightly bending to each other (picture of two old women in the center); when singing, the performers 'withdraw into themselves'
Singing group 'Krynycia' from Pidgorodne town
The founders of group 'Krynycia' (from left to right:) Raisa Polyviana (b. 1938), Maria Kornuta (b. 1934) and Maria Zaugolna (b. 1938)
Safeguarding of ensemble practice in the performance of element 'Cossack songs of Dnipropetrovsk region': Valentyna Kolisnyk (b. 1940), a performer of upper voice ('vyvodyty') from group 'Krynycia', trains Kateryna Karapysh (b. 1954) in the performance of 'vyvodyty'