something to listen to when news become too much

I didn’t know what a Kobza looked like. It sounded like a harp sometimes, at other times like a guitar. It’s music haunting, soulful, melancholy‚Ķ A friend had copied me a CD, and on the cover had only written Julian Kytasty – Black Sea Winds.

I listened to it a few hundred times? When I finally looked up the instrument and the tradition. To find out it is a magical instrument of a Ukrainian musical tradition of a few hundred years. The Kobzari traditionally being bands of mostly blind musicians (if you had a blind kid, they would be useless around the house, so letting them join the music bands allowed them to make a living). Another strand in the rich tapestry of Ukrainian culture, which was wiped out mostly in the thirties in the Soviet times. What the famine didn’t destroy was consciously eradicated, specifically by targeting artists such as the Kobzari, to try to destroy traces of a separate Ukrainian culture.

Kytasty’s was born in the US to a family of Ukranian refugees. He revived a tradition that was almost dead. Molding memories into music we can listen to today. Dive in, click through the track, put on some tea and listen when the news of the war becomes too much.

And if you see the convoys of refugees, remind yourself what they’re leaving behind, and what they will be forced to recreate.

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