Ukrainian Vocal Ensemble

(pictures of Yevshan)

About the Ensemble...

Established in 1996, Yevshan has had the privilege of performing in many religious celebrations, weddings, festivals and concerts in Connecticut and Massachusetts and in venues as distant as Washington, DC and Rochester, New York. We have performed at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the OPSAIL 2000 tall ship festival in New London, and in joint concerts and collaborations with Chorale Connecticut, the Yale Russian Chorus, the Yale Slavic Chorus and the Zolotyj Promin Ukrainian Folk Dance Ensemble of Hartford. We are proud to perform in benefit concerts for the Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund and for other community events and charitable causes.

We have focused much of our effort on learning the masterworks of composers such as Dmytro Bortniansky, Artem Vedel and Mykola Leontovych. We are also deeply committed to the cultivation of epic songs and ballads from the Zaporozhian kozak era - between the 16th and 18th centuries when Europe's first frontier democracy was established along the rapids of the Dnipro (Dnieper) River. The kozaks were Eastern Europe's equivalent of the Native American Plains Indians who waged a protracted war against foreign invaders to protect their villages and their identity. The songs of the kozaks were preserved by blind minstrels called "kobzari" who played the powerfully evocative instrument known as the "kobza" or "bandura", a kind of handcrafted artisan folk harp. Tragically, many of these epic bards were executed during Stalin's campaign of genocide against the Ukrainian people in the 1930s. Several members of Yevshan are accomplished bandura players who are striving to preserve this tradition and to present the beauty of their instrument to a wider audience.

In recent years, Yevshan has been able to build its repertoire thanks to new works provided by contemporary composers and choirmasters such as Laryssa Buchonska and the award-winning Khreshchatyk Choir of Kyiv, the Dnipropetrovsk Cathedral Choir, Roman Hurko, bandurist Julian Kytasty and Dr. Marika Kuzma of the Berkeley Chamber Chorus at the University of California.

Yevshan hopes to explore the cross-currents between Ukrainian music and the folk and sacred music of other East European communities. In our concerts and studies, we hope to establish common ground between the musical heritage of Ukraine and the heritage of other peoples around the world. Audience feedback and musical contributions, especially archival material or original compositions from family or congregational collections - are welcome and deeply appreciated.

Yevshan is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered with the US Government under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Charitable contributions to Yevshan are fully tax-deductible, and can be mailed to Christina Kowinko, 115 Glenn Drive, Stratford, CT, 06614.

Other recordings by Yevshan:

Yevshan in Concert (folk music) 2001
Christmas Album (2003)
Icons of Faith (2005)
Earth Rejoice! (2009)