World Music Institute Presents THE ART OF THE BALLADEER & KOBZARI, 1/29

WORLD MUSIC INSTITUTE and CENTER FOR TRADITIONALMUSIC AND DANCE present, as part of the Global Salon series, THE ART OF THE BALLADEER & KOBZARI reviving oral traditions from the British Isles to Ukraine featuring COLLEEN CLEVELAND, voice JULIAN KYTASTY, bandura and voice. Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Thalia Theater at Symphony Space 2537 Broadway at 95th Street

$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends and CTMD Members • $5 Bring a Kid!
Co-presented with Center for Traditional Music and Dance

Exploring centuries-old songs from across Europe's many oral traditions, Murder, Betrayal, and the Supernatural - The Art of the Balladeer and Kobzaribrings together two remarkable artists: Colleen Cleveland, a fifth-generation traditional ballad singer from New York's north country; and Julian Kytasty, a third-generation bandura player and singer. Themes of love, religion, history, legends, tragedy, and humor come to life as Cleveland and Kytasty revive songs passed down since the Middle Ages, from Ukraine's blind epic singers to the Scots Irish ballad tradition.

With sparse or no accompaniment, these solo performances will tap into the sounds of lives gone by from many times and places. Though Cleveland and Kytasty's repertoire encompasses great geographic diversity, audiences may be surprised to find thematic similarities between Scottish and Irish ballads and the songs of Ukraine's blind epic singers.

These wandering singers, known as Kobzars, performed a wide array of epic historical and religious songs, accompanying their voices with the lute-like kobza(later replaced by the more versatile bandura). Kobzars frequently accompanied military expeditions, and some were even beheaded upon performing songs of revolution. The ballads of the British Isles cover equally diverse themes, from love and courtship to the hardships of labor to political dissent.

At once performers, historians, and conduits of cultural preservation, Cleveland and Kytasty bring their heritage to the Thalia Theater on Wednesday, January 29that 7:30 pm. Co-presented with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, this performance is the second in the World Music Institute's Global Salon series, which focuses on traditional music from around the world.



A descendant of Scottish and Irish settlers in NY's north country, Colleen Cleveland is a fifth-generation traditional ballad singer who learned most of her repertoire from her grandmother Sara Cleveland, a well known ballad singer who possessed an astonishing repertoire of over 400 traditional songs. Since the 1960s, the Cleveland family has been an important source of ballads to researchers studying the ballad tradition of the British Isles. Colleen grew up going to festivals and learning the songs in the oral tradition and after Sara's death in 1992, both Colleen and her father, Jim Cleveland, were encouraged to keep the family songs alive. Their repertoire runs the gamut from 15th-century Irish, Scots, and English ballads to local area songs, cowboy songs, Civil War and World War I songs, and many other genres. In 1994, Colleen and her dad received the Traditional Arts of Upstate New York Heritage Award for their efforts to bring these songs to the public, and in 2012, she received a New York Foundation for the Arts' prestigious fellowship for Folk and Traditional Arts. Colleen can be heard on her recording, Treasures from the Attic, and has performed at the Old Songs Festival, The New England Folk Festival, and The Champlain Valley Folk Festival, among others.


bandura and voice

Julian Kytasty is one of the world's premier bandura (Ukrainian lute-harp) players and the instrument's leading North American exponent. A multi-instrumentalist and third-generation bandurist who learned most of his early repertoire from his family, he has concertized and taught Ukrainian instrumental and choral music to thousands of students at summer music camps and workshops throughout the Americas and Europe. Julian is particularly recognized for his expertise in Ukrainian liturgical music and his historical research on the bandura and kobzar (epic song) repertoires. Recently he has opened new possibilities for the bandura as a soloist and recording artist, and through his work with the Canadian/Ukrainian world music group Paris to Kyiv, his own groundbreaking Experimental Bandura Trio, and artists as diverse as Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, Mongolian master musician Battuvshin, performance poet Bob Holman, and composer/saxophonist John Zorn. As a composer, he has created music for theater, puppet theater, modern dance, and film, earning a Blizzard award for best film score for My Mother's Village, the 2002 National Film Board of Canada documentary directed by John Paskievich. Julian is the musical director of The New York Bandura Ensemble and the founding director of Bandura Downtown, an innovative music series based in New York's East Village that provides a home to explorations of traditional and contemporary sounds and themes.


WMI's Global Salon series takes place in the 168-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, providing an informal and intimate setting for a great diversity of traditional music. Two exciting evenings of string music follow The Balladeer and Kobzari, with Richard Hagopian's Armenian oud music from the Ottoman Empire (April 13) and a celebration of lyras and fiddles from the many communities surrounding the Black Sea (May 7). Now in its second year, Global Salon features brilliant artists who not only perform, but also engage the audience with cultural histories and personal stories.


Sunday, April 13, 7:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Wednesday, May 7, 7:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Co-presented with Center for Traditional Music and Dance


Tickets for all World Music Institute events are available for purchase online, by calling (212) 545-7536, or in person at the WMI Box Office at 101 Lafayette Street, #801.

15% subscription discount tickets are available when purchasing for 4 or more concerts, before October 4th. Student and group discounts are available, as are VIP tickets for select events.

Discounts are also available for WMI Friends with memberships starting at $70. WMI Friends enjoy priority seating throughout the season.


"a widely copied and influential force in New York cultural circles."
- The New York Times

World Music Institute is a not-for-profit concert presenting organization founded in 1985 by Robert and Helene Browning and dedicated to the presentation of the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world.

WMI encourages cultural exchange between nations and ethnic groups and collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding of the world's cultural traditions. WMI works extensively with community groups and organizations including Indian, Iranian, Chinese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Hungarian, Irish, and Central Asian. This has enabled it to be at the forefront of planning and presenting the finest ensembles from these countries.

WMI presents a full season of concerts each year in New York City, and arranges national tours by visiting musicians from abroad, as well as US-based artists. WMI's accomplishments and expertise in its field are recognized by major institutions throughout the US and internationally.

WMI has brought many musical, dance and ritual traditions to the New York stage for the first time, including Laotian sung poetry, folk music of Khorason and Bushehr (Iran), songs of the Yemenite Jews, Bardic divas of Central Asia, trance ceremonies from Morocco, music from Madagascar, and Theyyams (masked dances) of Kerala, South India. Many artists have been given their U.S. or New York debuts by WMI.

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by Peter Danish