Kobzaring The New World

Jurij Fedynskyj presents the original torban, kobza, and bandura to North America

The Lost Instruments of a Forgotten Ukraine



Presentation of the traditional Ukrainian torban, kobza and bandura

(nearly forgotten musical instruments, rarely, if ever, seen or heard in North America)


Lecture on the history and development of these once beloved national instruments


Demonstration of traditional repertoire performed on the torban, kobza, and bandura



coming soon to visit

Toronto, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Regina, Saskatoon,

Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, and any stops in between!

For the first time in 100 years, the original bandura, kobza, and torban will be heard!

          Most people of Ukrainian descent, at some point or another, have had the chance to hear Ukraine's beloved national instrument, the bandura. Many people agree that the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, orginally from Poltava, was considered to be the leader of diaspora culture, after its relocation to North America after World War Two. Over the past several decades we've also had the chance to hear many virtuoso, solo bandurists not just from the diaspora, but more recently from Ukraine itself. We've had the chance to hear several varieties of the bandura including the Kharkivska, as intitially developed by Hnat Khotkevych, and then later by the Honcharenko brothers, of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus. Most of us began playing the bandura on the Soviet produced "Chernihivka", even today a preferred instrument of most bandurists.
          The banduras which most of us have heard in modern times, are generally considered "traditional folk instuments". But, what most don't realize, is that this idea is largely a myth. The fully chromatic bandura, complete with modulating mechanisms and sixty steel, high tension strings is a modern instrument, designed to play not traditional, folk music, but rather modern arrangements and compositions, even though usually based on traditional folk melodies. The truly traditional, folk instrument known as the bandura has been forgotten for around one hundred years. As a result of modern progress, noisy streets, and of course, as usually the case, Soviet cultural repression; Ukrainians in the twentieth, and now twenty first centuries have been deprived of knowledge of the original bandura. That instrument was in fact very light and compact, had wooden pegs with about 20 diatonic, gut strings, and was tuned to a specific traditional tuning. Not only was the traditional bandura lost, but also several related instruments, once known and loved by Ukrainians, namely the kobza, and torban. They were almost completely erased from the national conscious.
          But, as a result of recent research, we now have the chance to discover our "ethnic" or "traditional" national instruments for the first time, this fall. I myself, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, have spent the past fifteen years in Ukraine, researching the original bandura, kobza, and torban. From studying authentic construction, to researching archaic repertoire, to mastering traditional playing manner and technique, the initial stages of reconstruction have taken place. Now it's time to share that wealth of musical culture to the North American diaspora. From this September to October, I'll be "kobzaring" in a similar fashion as the traditional, blind kobzars would have. I'll be traveling to the main diaspora hubs in Canada, such as Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver etc. There will be some fixed dates at museums and cultural centers, but mostly my schedule will be open to wandering region to region, and house to house. The kobzars were not concert artists as most bandurists today are. They had their own unique philosophy of how to spread their word, to those who needed to hear it. I will be presenting these three musical and cultural treasures through lecture and demonstration. I'll also share my experiences in living in Ukraine as a culutral pioneer, working with ensembles such as Haydamaky, Karpatiyany, Khoreya Kozatska, and Drevo; as well as creating the Poltava Kobzar Guild, and festival "Drevo Rodu Kobzarskoho." This fall we'll have the chance to experience "Kobzaring in the New World".


Player, Maker, Teacher

 For the past fifteen years, Jurij Fedynskyj has  worked to resurrect these original and unique, Ukrainian instruments, by researching their construction from a handful of surviving instruments in Ukrainian museums, and mastering the techniques required to make and play new instruments. He is one of several makers who create exclusive and professional examples of these instruments presently, and the only player who regularly performs traditional repertoire on all three. He teaches making and playing in a small Ukrainian village in the Poltava region.