Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

WINTER SONGS ON MARS Celebrates Koliada At La MaMa


WINTER SONGS ON MARS Celebrates Koliada At La MaMa

On December 21, La MaMa will present Yara Arts Group in "Winter Songs on Mars," a world music theater event celebrating Koliada, a winter ritual of the Carpathian Mountains. There will be two performances: at 7:00 PM and a special show for schools and children at Noon in La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theater, 66 East 4th Street. The program, directed by Virlana Tkacz, will include the traditional Hutsul koliada and an 18th century Ukrainian Nativity play, as well as winter songs from around our planet. The musical director of the show is bandurist Julian Kytasty. Performers will include actors of Yara Arts Group and members of Nova Opera from Kyiv.

Featured musicians will include the Koliadnyky, who will sing traditional winter songs and perform brilliant troista instrumental music from the Carpathians. The Koliada ritual coincides with Christmas but is much older in origin and symbolism. Its oldest songs are preserved in villages high in the mountains. The evening will feature a variety of unique instruments played by the Koliadnyky. The trembita is a Carpathian mountain horn made of a hollowed pine tree that has been struck by lightning and wrapped in birch bark. The fiddle is played in the Carpathian style. The musicians also play the duda, a bag pipe made from a goat, the tsymbaly, a hammer dulcimer, and a variety of hand-made Carpathian flutes including the tylynka. Yara Arts Group has produced a CD, "Koliada: Winter Songs and Music from the Carpathians." For a sample with photographs visit

Director of this music theater event, Virlana Tkacz, is founding director of Yara Arts Group, a resident company at La MaMa in New York. Since 1990, she has created 35 original theater pieces that fuse fragments of poetry, songs, legends and history from the East to create imagistic productions with narrative. Her recent production "1917-2017: Tychyna, Zhadan & the Dogs" was awarded Best Music and Best Musical Production by New York Innovative Theatre Awards.

The musical director is Julian Kytasty, who combines a mastery of traditional styles with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. He plays the bandura, a traditional Ukrainian instrument. He has worked with Yara since 1998. The set is by Watoku Ueno, Waldemart Klyzuko and Zhenia Kopiov. Lights are by Jeff Nash and costumes are by Keiko Obremski. Featured artists in the production include: Yara's Marina Celander, Darien Fiorino, Chris Ignacio, Akiko Kiuchi, Tatyana Kot, Max Lozynskyj and the musicians of Nova Opera.

Nova Opera is a group of young Ukrainian artists that searches for new directions. It was founded in 2014 by stage director Vlad Troitskiy. In 2015, Ukrainian composers Roman Grygoriv and Illia Razumeiko, joined the project and created 8 new productions. Nova Opera has presented 50 performances worldwide in New York, Rotterdam, Gdansk and Vienna, making it an important representative of Ukrainian modern music theatre. In 2018, opera-requiem IYOV was listed in the TOP-10 modern musical-theatrical performances by Music Theatre Now.

For more info, see: Tickets are $25, $20 students & seniors (plus $1 facility fee) and $10 with La MaMa membership. Box office is 212-352-3101,

Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You