For St. Valentine’s Day the Lavina Music Recording Company launched the latest album of the authentic Ukrainian singing group Bozhychi, entitled Can’t Get Enough of Love — Love Songs.
Bozhychi have been performing vocal and instrumental music and folk dances of Ukraine’s Dnipro region, primarily the Left-Bank, for eight years. “Several times a year for the past 10 years we have been coming to villages in Chernihiv, Poltava, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts to collect and record songs,” say the group’s leaders, Illia Fetysov and Susanna Karpenko. The band’s repertoire consists of ritual, street, soldier, and other types of songs. Most of the group’s members have a higher education in music, mainly folkloric.
Why is love the theme of the album? Probably because it has always been and still is one of the most relevant. “Even the most intimate relations are not able to satisfy the desire to merge with your beloved. This desire was probably instilled by God and stretches back to those times when He divided the first human being into a man and a woman,” Fetysov explains.
The album launch was held on Feb. 13 at the Babuin Book Cafe. Guests first listened to love stories recorded during the group’s folkloric expeditions and then heard the band performing traditional extended and humorous songs about love from their new album (“Ya ptychka- nevelychka/I Am a Little Bird; “Oi, ty dube, ta i kucheriavyi/ Oh, You Oak, So Leafy; “Ta Khodyv Komar Po Luhu/ A Mosquito Was Walking in the Meadow.”
The bravest guests took part in the old Ukrainian folk dances with the assistance of the Traditional Folk Dance School, accompanied by an ancient accordion called a “vienka” and a tambourine-like drum (“Polka 23,” “Kyiv Korobochka,” “Trykolinnyi Hopak”). All the guests reveled in the unforgettable atmosphere of a folk celebration arranged by the band.
Every invited guest received a free copy of the Bozhychi CD picturesquely designed by the young painter Kateryna Kosianenko, winner of the First Prize for painting at the 100th Fall Salon in Paris.
The sound recording and mastering were done by the well- known Kyiv sound engineer Maksym Kapusta.
Among the group’s projects for 2007 is an animated music video for the song “Herasym,” a concert tour from Sumy to Zaporizhia, and a tour of the play Kolo Zhyttia (Circle of Life) to various Ukrainian cities.