Folk Ensembles

The premier Lemko folk ensemble in Poland has been the Lemkovyna folk ensemble of the village of Biljanka. It was formed by Fedor Goch and R. Sobolevskij in 1969 from local choirs and dance groups. Its repertoire is mainly Lemko folk songs and includes a folk instrument orchestra, and its performances include native Lemko folk dances. The group's director, Jaroslav Trochanovskij, is a founding member of SL. It has performed in the Lemko Region, in many Polish cities, at the Svidnyk festival in Slovakia, and in Ukraine. The group toured in the United States and Canada in 1987.142

The group encountered financial difficulties after the dissolution of Communist power in Poland. The Polish government could no longer give funding to cultural groups like Lemkovyna. The group had been rehearsing in the Trochanovskij home, but they obtained an abandoned school building which they renovated to use as a rehearsal hall. In November 199, Jaroslav Trochanovskij lost his job and it was feared that he would have to leave the Lemko Region if he could not support his family.143 Because of conflicts within the group over the Rusyn or Ukrainian identity of Lemkos, and the active opposition of Ukrainophile Lemko organizations to the existence of a "non-Ukrainian" Lemko ensemble; the group disbanded after their August 10, 1992 performance at the Lemko Vatra in Exile.144 However, the group was reorganized in time to perform at the same event on August 6-7, 1993.145 The Lemkovyna ensemble is pictured in Appendix IX.

On a 1990 sojurn to Ukraine, Lemkovyna played a concert in Boryslav (near L'viv), supposedly the place with the largest concentration of relocated Lemkos in all of Ukraine. The Friday evening, August 3 concert opened with three local Lemkos, Marija Demska (b. Dosznica/Doshnycja, Jaslo county), Mychajlo Dragan (b. Rozdilje, Gorlice county) and Kostja Prystash (b. Wapienne/Vapenne, Gorlice county) greeting the choir with flowers and words of welcome. The concert began with the song Hory nashy (Our Mountains), followed by modern Lemko songs like Tjazhko zhyty na chuzhyni (It's hard to live in exile) and traditional songs like Ej, krochkom koni, krochkom and Kazala mi mama.

Among the many selections written by director Jaroslav Trochanovskij was Molytva Volodmyrova (The Prayer of Vladimir), a hymn in honor of the Millennium of Christianity in Kievan Rus'. The songs were interspersed by performances of Lemko folk dance, such as Pastryskij tanec (Shepherd's dance), Lemko-vals (Lemko waltz), and Lemkivskij chardash (Lemko csardas). The finale was Rusenko's Na Lemkovyni. 146

The Lemko Region and the Lemko-inhabited towns in western Poland have a number of local village-based folk ensembles. One such ensemble id the Kychera" Ensemble of Legnica, which performed at the 1993 Lemko Vatra in Zhdynja147 and the Vatra in Exile in Michalow. Another, the "Oslavjany" ensemble from Mokre (Sanok county), recently marked its 20th year of existence. The "Kychera" Ensemble is shown in Appendix VIII at the 1993 Lemko Vatra.

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