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.