The spring of solidarity
Fifteen years ago, the Ukrainian Spring Festival of Culture would only draw Eastern scholars, students of Ukrainian philology and members of the small local Ukrainian community. With every successive edition, audiences grew more numerous as more Ukrainian people settled in Poland. This year's edition, set to begin seven months after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, marks another watershed.
"After fifteen years in existence, the festival is bracing itself for another serving of encounters with Ukrainian culture in what has become a Poznań tradition. Our journey began back when no such events were held in this city", recollect the organisers from the Poland-Ukraine Social and Cultural Association. "Annual cultural gatherings that bring together diverse communities have become our trademark", they emphasise.
And what is in store this time? One attraction, the debate Compassion, Solidarity and Closeness. Understanding the essence of Polish-Ukrainian social relations post 24 February 2022?, will be moderated by Piotr Pogorzelski. Martyna Bogaczyk, head of the Education for Democracy Foundation, Prof. Aleksandra Hnatiuk, a sociologist specialising in Polish-Ukrainian relations, Prof. Joanna Konieczna-Sałamatin and Poznań's widely-known cultural manager Andrzej Hamerski who is also a social worker tirelessly promoting Polish-Ukrainian cooperation, will discuss current Polish Ukrainian relations on 6 October at the Castle Cultural Centre. "We claim that such relations urgently need to be examined and understood. The knowledge we will gain may well help us establish and preserve close ties and anticipate the numerous threats that loom along the way," explain the organisers.
On the following day, also in the Castle Cultural Centre, the famous hip-hop artist Alyona Alyona, who has won the Anchor Award '19, the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards '21 and the Public Choice Award '21, will appear in concert. Alyona Alyona raps in her native tongue. Her debut clip Rybky went viral in Ukraine right after its release in 2018. The concert's organisers warn that "the Ukrainian rapper is absolutely unstoppable on stage!"
But this is not all. The festival will also include a performance by the Khmelnytskyi Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra celebrating the 30th anniversary of its establishment (8 October). The Poznań event will feature music by Ukrainian composers from various periods. The programme includes Concerto No. 3 Lord, by your power and an overture to the opera Alcide by Dmitry Bortnyansky, Prelude to the Memory of Taras Shevchenko by Yakiv Stepovy and Chamber Symphony No. 5 Warum by Ihor Shcherbakov. A musical meeting will also take place at the Łazęga Poznańska Atelier. Anton Korolev with friends and Ilona Mykolaishyn will perform a Short Recital of Folk Musicians.
The programme also comprises the poetry workshop What Grows in the Park and the Orchard. This Polish-Ukrainian meeting for children will have Kateryna Michalicyna present her books and invite children to create their own poetry in a language they know. At the festival, Michalicyna will also talk about her latest poetry tome Głosy. W obliczu wojny (Voices. In the Face of War) translated into Polish by Jakub Pszoniak. Written as part of the Ukrainian Poetry Library, the book is based on the belief that "literature does not exist in isolation - it deeply resonates with the world that bears the mark of wartime tragedy".
"... I fear that our lives are again changing course
instead of picking up a book, I get the restraints,
surgical equipment, the painfully known
haemostatics, dressings, antibiotics, and buckwheat groats...", writes Michalicyna in the poem The Volunteer. Let these words start a conversation with the poet on how the war is changing our lives, which were quite badly damaged anyway from the pandemic", says Ryszard Kupidura, Vice-President of the Poland-Ukraine Association persuading the public to attend the event.
The Ukrainian Spring will also bring a bit of drama in a play based on the Ukrainian folk tale The Goat that Lied performed by actors of the First Ukrainian Theatre for Children and Adolescents in Lviv, directed by Ihor Zadnipriany. "How come a certain Goat violated every law, tradition, and custom we knew and broke into Little Fox's cabin? And why nobody can drive him out, no matter how hard they try? For answers to these and other intriguing questions, you must see our show. During the play, we will examine what is behind this unheard-of offense using hitherto unseen methods. What methods? We will bring together all forest dwellers and have them take part in a real TV show in which the culprit gives an interview. We will also rhyme and rap. And so will you. Now that's something you can't possibly miss!", says the show's notice.
translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski
15th Ukrainian Spring Cultural Festival
Łazęga Poznańska, Zamek (Castle) Cultural Centre
For more, see: poznajsasiada.org and Ukraińska Wiosna on FB
© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2022