Stiles in the Carpathians

Stiles, or perelazy in Ukrainian, are structures that provide people with a way to easily pass over a fence while at the same time preventing farm animals from passing through. Stiles are found in the countryside around the world and come in all kinds of forms.
In the Carpathians, they are typically made of wood, and even in just one village I came across several different types.
Perelazy from the beautiful Hustul village of Kryvorivnia

Perelazy have even found their way into Ukrainian folklore: there are dozens of folk songs that feature perelazy in their texts.
Ой не світи, місяченьку та й на той перелаз  (Oh, moon, don't shine on that perelaz)
In fact, you can even karaoke sing about perelazy! Перелаз, мій перелаз (Perelaz, my perelaz)

1980s Soviet Posters for Cultural Events

My parents in Chicago have some neat posters from the late Soviet period  announcing various artistic and cultural events in Kyiv.

Poster from 1987 Performance of Kupala rituals at the Folk Architecture Museum in Kyiv
Organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Міністерство культури української РСР Українське товариство охорони пам'яток історії та культури Музей народної архітектури та побуту УРСР

*** Poster from 1989 Academic conference marking the 90th birthday anniversary of Vasyl Sedliar at the Rylsky Institute of Art Studies, Folklore and Ethnology

Спілка художників України Київська організація спілки художників України Інститут мистецтвознавства фольклору та етнографії ім. М. Т. рильського АН УРСР (нині Мистецтва,фольклористики та етнології інститут ім. М. Рильського)

Poster fom 1981 Exhibition of graphics by Heorhiy Ivanovych Narbuta
at the National Art Museum of Ukraine in Kyiv

Державний музей українського образотворчого мистецтва УРСР  Київ…

Warszawska Orkiestra Sentymentalna: Reawakening Polish Prewar Urban Music

Late last year I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the atmosphere of Lviv's interwar music scene at a live performance of a young band from Warsaw, which plays famous tunes from Poland's 1920-1930s musical heritage.

Warszawska Orkiestra Sentymentalna (Warsaw Sentimental Orchestra) comprises a group of young musicians united by their passion for urban folklore. They play familiar and forgotten dance melodies as well as more sentimental tunes for singing and listening. Their repertoir includes songs from prewar theaters, courtyard ballads and couplets from interwar Warsaw and Lviv. The also play compositions by modern artists inspired by urban folklore and traditional Polish melodies, and enliven dance parties with their lively polkas and foxtrots, sultry tangos, and romantic waltzes.
The orchestra reaches to the roots of the Polish prewar music scene and continues the tradition of revue performaces, maintaining the timeless charm of these songs while adding their own co…

'Krajka. W domu': Forgotten Music from Polish-Ukrainian Borderland

A folk band from Przemysl — Krajka, together with Ukrainian musicians — released a new album dedicated to the lands that lie along the current Polish-Ukrainian border.

"The album contains traditional music from the Polish-Ukrainian borderland, from the regions of Kholm, Lubaczow, Przemysl, to the Carpathian mountains and valleys. These lands were once replete with the splendor and richness of culture, traditions, and ethnos. Today this music is largely unknown and forgotten. It has been reconstructed using recordings gathered during field expeditions and from available materials — to save it from oblivion and bring back its ancient luster."

"The album 'Krajka. W domu' contains songs exclusively from the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. This territory, on which from time immemorial reigned a balance of diverse cultural components, was brutally destroyed by the war and postwar deportations. The expulsion of Ukrainians, Boykos, and Lemkos is above all a purely human, i…

Sangre de Muerdago: Interpreting Melodies Once Lost and Found Again

The Galician (Spain) folk band Sangre de Muerdago released a new EP "Os Segredos da Raposa Vermella" 
(The Secrets of the Red Fox)

"Before humans started building with concrete and steel, much earlier before machines reigned, and the steam locomotive was invented. There was a little red fox that wandered through the woods of the Iberian northwest, in a land where its people were known as the Galaicos.

This red fox liked to listen to the melodies of the leaves and the stones, to the songs of the streams and flowers, and she sung and sung and whistled as she wandered through the forests looking for food and adventures.

Until one day she knew so many songs, more songs than any other red fox in those woods. Even more songs than the ravens themselves.

Afraid of forgetting those beautiful melodies, she decided to start writing a little book with her favourite songs. The book had a cover of moss and paper of birch bark, and on its pages she wrote and drew.

Many centuries later, thes…

'Wychód' Ghost Sign in Lviv

"Wychód" - Polish archaism meaning "exit" ("Wyjście" in modern usage) Found in a corridor of a building that from the 1820s housed a hotel and restaurant-winery The hand points in the direction of the front entrance, from an inner courtyard
Another theory is that the sign reads "wychodek" and points to an outhouse. However, I'm not entirely convinced as there is a line coming down just right of the letter "D" and the hand would not be centered if there were still two more letters at the end of the word.

German-Language Benchmark in Lviv

I came across a curious German-language benchmark in one of Lviv's courtyards. Unlike the other pre-WWI benchmarks that I have seen in Lviv, which are small simple plaques in Polish, this one is much larger, in German, and even includes a relief of a hand pointing to the leveling mark.
The sign reads:  XXX Zolle über den Wasserstand  (30 Feet Above Sea Level)
And while this one was from the Austrian-era (the building where it is found dates from 1911), it was not part of the first leveling system created in Lviv (1880-1888), which was used to construct Lviv's first sewer system. More on Lviv's benchmarks can be found here.
Example of Polish-language benchmark from original network Z.W. = Znak Wysokosci (Height Marker)