On Tuesday, April 26th, 2022, the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center and the School of Music hosted the event “For Ukraine: An Artistic Tribute.” This event showcased several performances and exhibits across campus related to the arts, culture, and music of Ukraine.
Those present were able to visit exhibits on display at both the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures and the Music and Performing Arts Library. At Spurlock, the folk arts and crafts of Ukraine were highlighted: among the presented artifacts were decorative eggs (pysanky), embroidery, painted wooden pieces, and a plucked string folk instrument (bandura).
A second exhibit of cultural artifacts housed inside the Music and Performing Arts Library (MPAL) included a myriad of items to consider, containing a generous offering of embroidery patterns, children’s tales, instruments, psysanky, decorative wooden bowls, and textiles. Among the displayed were also books published on Ukraine, including Adriana Helbig’s Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration and Andriy Nahachewsky’s Ukrainian Dance: A Cross-Cultural Approach, all nestled amongst copious scores, compact discs, and vinyl records containing Ukrainian songs and dances.
Continuing upstairs, the MPAL exhibit featured historical songs and an array of Ukrainian instruments, including a single reed aerophone (rizhok), a pan pipe (kuvytsia), and percussion instruments (rubel, kachalka, and treshchotka).
Across campus, musicology graduate students Michael Broussard and Sarah Kwilecki played a selection of Ukrainian Melodies on the Altgeld Chimes. Inside the School of Music, the University of Illinois Balkan Music Ensemble, Balkanalia, also performed a variety of Ukrainian pieces, featuring Elena Negruta as a vocal soloist. Interspersed throughout the performance were poems recited by Slavic Languages & Literatures Professor Valeria Sobol and members of the Ukrainian Students Association.
Following this portion of the evening, the University of Illinois Hip-Hop Collective presented a program entitled “Rapping with Ukraine,” which included an original arrangement of a Ukrainian folk song and a Ukrainian beat freestyle alongside the Floor Lovers Illinois Dancers.
The evening concluded with a postlude offered by Balkanalia highlighting other pieces from the group’s repertoire and featuring School of Music student Dimitri Glaros as a soloist on viola and saz.
This event was co-sponsored by the Center for African Studies, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, the Center for Global Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the European Union Center, the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program, and the Illinois Global Institute.
You may view photos from the event in the video slideshow below.