Showing posts from May, 2015

Antique Wooden Shutters in Mukachevo

In Mukachevo I found several examples of antique wooden shutters and quite a few with the manufacturer's mark. They date from before WWII.

Made by Slovakian-based company: Szabó, Csonka a spol. és Társa  Lučenec.

Made by Vienna-based company: Woltär & Molnár. Wien. VI. LINKE WIENZEILE 40.

I found an ad for the company Woltär & Molnár in a publication dated from 1927 called
A Construction Guide: A Manual for Construction Business and Its Related Fields

Antique Metal Shutters in Mukachevo

In Mukachevo I found a few antique metal shutters made by the company DUKO, which was based in Prague-Vinohrady. As they are Czech made, they likely date from the interwar period.

Another grouping of DUKO shutters

I also found a roller shutter made by the Budapest-based copmany Paschka. There still remains one of these in Lviv.  This one likely dates to before WWI.

Interwar Fire Hydrants and Manhole Cover in Mukachevo

Traces of Mukachevo's Czechoslovakian past can still be found in the city. (During the interwar period, Mukachevo along with the rest of Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) was part of Czechoslovakia.)

"In 1883, Antonín Kunz (1859–1910) founded a company in Hranice [Czech Republic] for the repair and production of small farm machinery and then specialized in the production of windpumps and other pumps. The company became the largest factory for water pumps in Austria-Hungary. At the end of the 19th century, it also produced complete communal water systems (by 1912 it had done so for 1,056 towns and municipalities, as well as factories and large landowners)" (from Wikipedia).

Here's an advertisement for Antonín Kunz's company “První moravská továrna na vodovody a pumpy, Antonín Kunz v Hranicích” (The First Moravian Water Pipe and Pump Factory), which built Mukachevo’s water supply system and installed its fire hydrants in 1935.

Although the headquarters of Kunz's comp…

The Living Fire: Documentary about Dying Tradition of Shepherding

A documentary film was recently released about the dying tradition of shepherding in the Carpathian Mountains. The film, called The Living Fire (Жива Ватра), was directed by my acquaintance Ostap Kostyuk

"ЖИВА ВАТРА" (The Living Fire) Ukraine, 2014, 77’
"A four-year-long project documenting three generations of Ukrainian Carpathian shepherds in their struggle to keep the age-old trade alive in the face of contemporary changes."
"It is a film about pitiless daily labor that knows no weekends, a harmonious world that we’ve lost in our search for comfort, and the childhood that is left behind when one takes on the role of an adult…"

Check out the film's website: And the English-language Facebook group:

The Living Fire took the special jury prize in the international feature documentary category at the 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America's…

Chornobyl Songs Project: Living Culture from a Lost World

Last month, Smithsonian Folkways released an album of ancient songs from the Chornobyl region, songs all but forgotten due to the nuclear disaster that wiped out the nearby villages.

Fortunately, some of these songs have been preserved thanks to ethnomusicologist Yevhen Yefremov and Ensemble Hilka: "Under the musical direction of Yevhen Yefremov, an ethnomusicologist and singer whose field expeditions into Kyivan Polissia (“the Chornobyl Zone”) began in the 1970s and have continued to the present day, Ensemble Hilka presents the sketch of a ritual year as a song cycle that may have been performed in a typical Polissian village for centuries leading up to the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in 1986."

The project is called "Chornobyl Songs Project: Living Culture from a Lost World." More information can be found on the Smithsonian Folkways website.

In Studio: Ensemble Hilka article from 2011:
"It’s the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, during which t…

Ukrainian Songs in the Third Wave Diaspora Community

In the diaspora I grew up singing certain Ukrainian folk songs, which I thought every Ukrainian in Ukraine knew, so I was surprised to find out that it wasn't true. I grew up in a community made mostly of descendants of Galician immigrants and was a member of the scouting organization Plast — two facts which largely influenced the musical culture I was exposed to. Many of the popular songs in this diaspora community are Galician, Hutsul, and especially Lemko, as well as kozak, Sichovi Striltsi, UPA, and Plast songs, and of course songs composed by Volodymyr Ivasiuk (which are just as popular in Ukraine as in the diaspora). Some of the songs we sing seem to have been somewhat forgotten in Ukraine for one reason or another — maybe partly because we were more free to sing our folk and patriotic songs in the diaspora than Ukrainians were under the Soviet Union.
Many of these songs were popularized by the Ukrainian-American singer Kvitka Cisyk, herself a member of Plast. Her music are…