Voices from Russia

Saturday, 20 December 2014

20 December 2014. Some More of My Favourite Things… More Music from the Hills

00 Kollarovci. Slovakia. 20.12.14

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Here’s some contemporary stuff… note the same Magyar influences that you found in the more “folky” music. Kollárovci (The Kollárs) is a Slovak ensemble that performs folk-flavoured songs in the Podhale dialect, a mixture of Polish and Slovak. The last clip is a longish set of Christmas Koledy from the region. I don’t claim that this is the greatest stuff on the planet… but I do like it (so, there!), so, it’s one of my favourite things… enjoy…

BMD

20 December 2014. Some of My Favourite Things… Ján Ambróz… Music from Prešov Kraj

00 Jan Ambroz. Slovakia. 20.12.14

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Ján Ambróz, from Prešov Kraj, is, of all things, both a lawyer and a folk-singer. I kid you not! The first selection is the familiar O kto, kto Nikolaja… done in a secular folklore style with cymbalon, fiddle, and stand-up bass bull fiddle. It’s coming straight at ya from the Carpathian foothills… enjoy!

BMD

Friday, 19 December 2014

19 December 2014. It’s St Nicholas Day… The First Day of the Holidays

00 st nicholas 01. 19.12.14

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00 st nicholas 03. 19.12.14

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00 st nicholas 02. 19.12.14

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Today is the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays run from St Nicholas Day until Epiphany on 19 January, via New Year on 1 January and Christmas on 7 January. It’s my Nicky’s angel day…

BMD

Thursday, 18 December 2014

18 December 2014. Yesterday was the “Angel Day” for All the Barbaras Out There

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.

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01k Angel Day

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Yesterday was the “angel day” (Name Day) for all the Barbaras in the world (I guess that includes me, too!). OOPS! I had a note to myself on my machine, but I had “writer’s block” big-time yesterday. I just couldn’t come up with anything. It happens sometimes… you just sit back, let it run its course, and things DO return to normal. I’ve gotten over it and I seem to be as full of P&V as always! It’s interesting… my angel day is 17 December and Nicky’s is 19 December (St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra)… there’s only two days difference. However, our birthdays are six months apart (mine is 8 April and Nicky’s is 16 October).

Raise a glass and cheer for all the Barbaras in the world. We emulate our heavenly exemplar, who’s the patron saint of miners and hard work… ponder that. Two years ago, I wrote:

St Barbara is venerated widely amongst our traditional parishes. Almost every old-school Russian Orthodox parish in America and Canada has an icon or stained glass window of her. That’s because she’s “the patroness of COAL MINERS and all who toil in the bowels of the Earth”. Many of our working-class forebears asked for, and received, her intercession and protection from harm. Have you noticed how, in certain quarters, she’s ignored and no longer honoured with liturgies on her day? Are some of us ashamed of the coal dust and sweat on their dede’s back? Are others so disdainful of the founders of our parishes that they deliberately turn a blind eye to Baba’s sacrifices? On top of that, do the half-converted Anglo new arrivals even consider these hard-scrabble “Polacks” and “Hunkies” worthy of respect (without the efforts of these solid working-class folk, there’d be no Church for these upper-middle “searchers” to come to)?

Three years ago, I wrote:

It’s why we have to continue the fight today. Our Orthodox forebears fought the good fight… it’s why our generation was blessed with prosperity. At present, the GOP and the teabaggers are trying to smash everything that our Orthodox grandparents won through a hard and arduous struggle. Don’t forget their legacy… it’s our past! Ask for St Barbara’s intercessions… she’ll point to our grandparents and say to us, “Do likewise”. That’s what we should do… it’s how we can honour not only their legacy, but Christ’s mandate to us to build a fair and just society. God wills it!

I haven’t changed my mind. Cheers to all of you!

Бог благословит!

BMD

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