Exploring centuries-old songs from across Europe's many oral traditions, Murder, Betrayal, and the Supernatural - The Art of the Balladeer and Kobzari
brings 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 29th
at 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.