The Ohio State University at Marion

Five Nights adds sixth performance

November 13, 2018
Ukrainian-American Fedynskyj presents thought provoking historical look at Ukrainian music

“The Lost Instruments of a Forgotten Ukraine”

Five Nights on Campus will present a Five Nights “Extra” performance as part of their traditional season, welcoming Ukrainian-American, Jurij Fedynskyj to Morrill Hall Auditorium on the Marion campus, in this lively concert, lecture, and demonstration entitled, “The Lost Instruments of a Forgotten Ukraine,” Thursday, November 15th, 7:30 p.m.

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Fedynskyj repatriated to Ukraine. For the past twenty years, he has worked to resurrect the traditional kobzar tradition. The kobzari were wandering spiritual singers, who sang to the accompaniment of the kobza or bandura. For the past ten years, he has also worked to revive traditional music making of the torbanists on the Ukrainian baroque lute, called a torban. Both the kobzar and torbanist traditions were completely destroyed by the Sovietization of Ukraine around 1920-1930.

Music has always been Fedynskyj’s passion. At first, it was classical piano (he has a degree in music performance). But a few weeks in Pennsylvania at a summer camp to learn the bandura turned into a life-altering pursuit of not only the bandura, but also the kobza and the torban. He moved to Kyiv, Ukraine in 1998 to continue to study with modern masters, founded or played with various folk groups, and then decided to stay and devote himself to resurrecting the tradition of the kobzar (kobza player). Fedynskyj is touring the U.S. coast to coast this fall in just this fashion.

A kobzar was a bard, usually blind, who travelled with his kobza or bandura, singing psalms and dumy or epic poems. This was a well-established profession by the 16th century. The kobzar would map out a route of travel, visiting certain villages and cities, playing for the general public as well as leaders of the culture. The traditions of the kobzar, as well as the Ukrainian baroque lute or torban, were destroyed by the Sovietization of Ukraine around 1920-1930.

Fedynskyj has dedicated himself to the task of reviving such a loss, which has meant researching historic instruments, learning the trade of instrument making, researching the repertoire played on these instruments, and mastering the instrumental and vocal techniques to reconstruct traditional performances. Some instruments had survived only as isolated museum specimens. About 10 years ago, Fedynskyj settled in the village of Kryachkivka in the Poltava region of Ukraine, where he builds and repairs these instruments. He is interested not in the modern version of the bandura (the one that won his heart), but in the very light and compact traditional bandura, which has wooden pegs with about 20 diatonic gut strings. As part of his mission to restore traditional music, he founded the Poltava Kobzar Guild in Kryachkivka for makers and performers of these instruments. In addition, enthusiasts from around Ukraine come to the village to make and study with him at folklore camps year-round and to attend a large summer festival.

Fedynskyj’s autumn 2018 performances are sponsored through an honorarium by the Center for Slavic and East European Studies at Ohio State. Because of this honorarium, admission to this event is free and open to the public.

All Five Nights on Campus performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in Morrill Hall Auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m. All tickets are general seating. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or more information on Five Nights contact Gary Iams at: (740) 725-6253 or e-mail: You may also register for tickets online at:

The series is made possible through the support of community-minded businesses in the Marion area. 2018-19 sponsors include: UniPrint, OhioHealth, Marion Industrial Center, Inc., Stifel, iHeartMedia, Merrill Lynch, Marion Community Credit Union, Inc., Frontier, The Marion Star, Wyandot Inc., Morral Companies L.L.C., Marion Technical College, Sims Brothers Recycling, Whirlpool Marion Operations, & ArcelorMittal.