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Ukrainian Zabava
New Harbourfront Centre 2005 summer festival
Multiple venues (including the CIBC Stage)
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Canada
Friday September 2 to Monday September 5, 2005
Info: 416-973-4000 or

Ukrainian Zabava presents the best of Ukrainian-Canadian culture in this festival of music, food, dance, film and more! Exploring folkloric and contemporary Ukrainian culture worldwide, Harbourfront Centre is pleased to present Ukrainian Zabava in partnership with the Ukrainian Culture Festival. All events are free admission!

Highlights include a late night cabaret with hilarious Air Farce veteran Luba Goy, and tasty food with world-renowned chef Ken Kostick as he prepares a Ukrainian/Canadian fusion meal. Kyiv Photographer Kyrylo Kysliakov presents the Canadian premiere of his critically-acclaimed exhibit Faces of the Orange Revolution, and director Oles Sanin’s Academy Award nominated film Mamay comes complete with a Q & A session with Dr. Yuri Shevchuk of Columbia University. The stellar film series also includes 2005 Palme d'Or winner The Wayfarers (Podorozhni) by director Ihor Strembitsky.

MUSIC: Ukrainian Zabava presents a unique range of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-inspired music, both traditional and contemporary! It starts with beautiful a cappella songs by the Metelysia Vocal Ensemble of Toronto, nicely followed by Michael Kostowskyj’s performance of the relaxing sound of the Bandura, the national stringed instrument of Ukraine. Then Toronto’s violin virtuoso Vasyl Popadiuk spices things up with his genre-defying group Papa Duke, which combines traditional Slavic and gypsy music with classic pop and jazz. Another musical mix comes with Washington DC’s Scythian Band (who effortlessly fuse Celtic and Ukrainian styles) while Edmonton's The Kubasonics combine clever Canadian inspired humour with talented renditions of classic Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian folk songs.

Things heat up with performances by the Youth Ensemble Prolisok and Montreal’s Carpathians Musical Ensemble, both giving inspiring performances of Ukrainian music. Vocalist Oleh Buncha also graces us with his beautiful voice, and the Pid Oblachkom Musical and Vocal Ensemble performs contemporary sounds from Ukraine. 

VISUAL ARTS: Experience the beauty and artistry of Ukraine with these new exhibits, including one curated by Darka Griffin and featuring the work of five Ukrainian-Canadian artists, all of which are designed to amaze and impress with a distinctly Ukrainian flare. In addition, Kyiv photographer Kyrylo Kysliakov presents the Canadian premiere of his New York exhibition Faces of the Orange Revolution, a collection of 36 photos documenting the 2004 demonstrations that overturned corrupt elections. As well Sandra Semchuk and James Nicholas present enemy aliens castle mountain internment camp, a photography show on display at the York Quay Gallery. Last but not least - artist Pavlo Lopata paints icons, Hryhoryj Dyczok makes pysanky (Easter Eggs) and a group of enthusiasts create contemporary beaded jewelry.

FOOD: Satisfy your appetite and learn from the pros, Ukrainian style! Chef Natalie Hladun from Natalie’s Kitchen holds demonstrations and interactive classes, preparing uniquely Ukrainian foods: Perogies (authentic and the ‘Potato and Cheddar’ variety) and Cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and mushrooms. Paska (traditional braided bread) making is taught by Future Bakery, Toronto’s oldest Ukrainian Bakery. Ukrainian borscht is again being demonstrated by Ukrainian cooking expert Mrs. Hanya Cirka, while Chef Oryst Pidzamecky of Oryan Catering will teach audiences how to make Ukrainian crepes stuffed with nalysnyc cheese and authentic Ukrainian chicken Kyiv (Kiev). For those craving more contemporary dishes, world renowned chef Ken Kostick will also prepare a Ukrainian/Canadian fusion meal, while food stylist Olga Kaminski holds classes with up-to-date food styling tips and demos. A $1 sampling fee applies to all demos.

FILM: A stellar series of films explore different facets of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian culture and history! Freedom Had a Price (1994) tells the little-known story of those Ukrainian immigrants to Canada that were declared “enemy aliens” at the outbreak of WWI, and includes a Q & A session with Professor Lubomyr Luciuk afterwards. Teach Me To Dance (1978) is a heartwarming tale about the friendship of an immigrant girl and a Canadian native, and the Ukrainian dancing that unites them. Laughter In My Soul (1983) is a profile of renowned Ukrainian-Canadian cartoonist/satirist Jacob Maydanyk, set against the historical tapestry of those first Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. Used extensively in Ukrainian-Canadian bilingual schools, this film also won the Yorkton Film Festival award in 1983. Also see the legendary “strong man” and magician Mike Swistun perform for the very last time at the age of eighty in Strongest Man in the World (1980). 

More recent films include: direct from Ukraine, Parched Land (2004) is a parable without dialogue about a man who discovers an angel in the desert and uses it for his own financial gain. Also screening is one of the most highly acclaimed films from Ukraine, Mamay (2003), which shows the love story between a Ukrainian Cossack and a Tatar woman who together defy ethnic and religious taboos. An Academy Award Nominee for best Foreign Film, Mamay will be followed with a Q & A session with Dr. Yuri Shevchuk of Columbia University, lecturer of Ukrainian Language and Culture. Between Hitler and Stalin—Ukraine in World War II (2003) is the story of the struggle which took place on the territory of Ukraine between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, with the Ukrainians fighting both sides for their freedom.

A collection of award-winning short feature and documentary films will be organized by the Ukrainian Film Club at Columbia University and the Ukrainian Culture Festival. Films will be introduced by Yuri Shevchuk (Director of the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University). All films will be shown in their original Ukrainian versions with English subtitles. Films include: The Wayfarers (Podorozhni) by director Ihor Strembitsky. This Ukrainian film sensation is this year's winner of the coveted Palme d'Or du cour metrage at the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival and is 10 minute documentary series of  portraits of people in a psychiatric hospital. Parched Land (Peresokhla zamlia) is a beautifully shot 25-minute feature film, based on a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez . A parable about a man bestowed with a divine opportunity (which he initially fails to recognize and squanders) and then when everything seems irreparably lost, recovers in a moment of spiritual clarity. (2004, Director Taras Tomenko). Tragic Love for Unfaithful Nuska (Trahichna liubov do zradlyvoyi Nusky) is a tongue-in-cheek sepia-toned melodrama of two adolescents vying for attention of the young woman-next-door who is unaware of the passions she provokes in her suitors. It is a lighthearted and moving comedy about a first love evolving against the background of a 1970s Ukrainian town, whose denizens try to escape from the absurdity and boredom of Soviet life. (2004, director Taras Tkachenko). Works by filmmakers like Sanin, Strembitsky, Tomenko and Tkachenko prompt many film critics to compare today's emerging Ukrainian cinema with that of the post-war France's captivating New Wave cinema.

For a little bit of humour see Dora Was Dysfunctional (1994) by director Andrea Odezynska. When Dora was four, her Ukrainian grandmother taught her how to tell her fate in love. Twenty years later, Dora improvises her own version of a medieval love spell, but does it deliver what she needs? This comedy romance, which was short listed at the Academy Awards, the Hampton Film Festival and the Rotterdam Film Festival. This film has screened on HBO and Showtime.

DANCE: Acclaimed Ukrainian-Canadian modern dancer and choreographer Sasha Ivanochko will perform the original solo work Is this love?  while dazzling Ukrainian dance numbers are intertwined with great Canadian homemade songs as Suzie Vinnick and the Desna Ukrainian Dance Company of Toronto share the stage and perform live!

THEATRE: Classic Canadian comedienne Luba Goy hosts a variety show with music from The Scythians, comedy by Jo-Ann Waytowich and musical theatre from performer Lada Darewych! This show will includes Waytowich’s beloved character Ivanka, from The Ivanka Chronicles.

KIDS/Families: Kids learn to make real pysanky (Easter Eggs), a fun Ukrainian tradition! Try it at home too with an egg painting kit, available at the Sculpture Court Market, amongst numerous treasures made in the Ukraine and Canada that can be found for purchase.

Ukrainian Zabava is a co-presentation of Harbourfront Centre and the Ukrainian Culture Festival, presenters of the 9th Annual Bloor West Village Ukraine Festival on Bloor Street West between Runnymede and Jane Streets (August 26-28, 2005). Last year over 300,000 people experienced Ukrainian hospitality on Bloor Street West. Both sites will offer the individual and families an opportunity to see, taste, hear and feel the traditional and current trends in Ukrainian music, food, song and dance. Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival public information at 416-410-9965 or

Summer info and festival releases for Harbourfront Centre at

Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,
Rebecca Webster, 416-973-4518,
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428,  

For additional Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival information contact Halia Hrycyna at 416-410-9965

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