For the twelfth year in a row, the Ukrainian festival Chervona Ruta has opened the stage for the new talents performing Ukrainian music of different genres. The number of this year’s participants has set the record, bringing together 850 young musicians and performers. New to this year’s festival is the collaboration of performers from all regions of Ukraine.
Ukraine has an extensive history of authentic musical traditions and songs that have been preserved trough centuries and passed from generation to generation. They reflect customs and cultural features that have been existent in differing regions of Ukraine. “We have a lot of bands at our festival that represent their own regions, because back in the day, each region celebrated weddings or harvesting in a different way and now we’re preserving them [customs and traditions]” said Oksana Ostrozuk, co-organizer of the festival.
Participation in the Chervona Ruta festival gave featured Ukrainian folk bands the opportunity to be heard by a variety of age groups: adults, teenagers, and adolescents. Such audience is very important in the process of preservation because they retain the visuals and songs of the performances, carrying in them aspects of their Ukrainian culture and heritage forever. “We’ve decided to gather the folk bands and have them represent their regions, especially here in Kyiv. It gives the opportunity for Kyiv’s youth to see the customs and traditions from all over Ukraine,” said Oksana Storozhuk.
In order to demonstrate the regional songs and traditions, the band members spent quality time gathering information, songs, and music folklore in the villages and towns by talking with the elders and tape-recording the old songs. “We get all of this from our great-grandmothers. Sometimes we would go and write down their songs and sometimes they would teach us some old dances,” said Frosyna Storozh, the director of folk band Vytoky from Odesa Oblast, Zagnitkiv village.
National folklore also comes with national costumes that are often passed on from grandmothers to their granddaughters and grandsons. “Everything has been used from the treasure-chests of our grandmothers. Some of the attire is 100-150 years old. It’s called “sarafan;” it required about eight meters of textiles to make it and the entire ensemble was constructed by hand,” said Frosyna Storozh.
Authentic Ukrainian folklore is demonstrated during two days of the Chervona Ruta festival, reflecting the cultural evolution and preservation of the vast variety of Ukrainian regions that have survived through centuries. It explains the significance of “what used to be” and the “important events” of Ukrainian life such as weddings and harvesting. "With the daily hard work of the young performers, we’re able to see the fun and entertaining aspects of our own cultures. When there was no TV and no radio it was the type of entertainment that our children had,” said Nataliya Shymsha, the director of folk band Tshimboryky.