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KRYACHKIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) 

Deep in rural Ukraine, a man from North Carolina has returned to his roots, moving to a village with a population of 500 in a bid to rekindle an almost lost tradition of Ukrainian folk music

Yuriy Fedynsky, 43, born into the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States, moved to the country of his ancestors and set about resurrecting an almost lost tradition of lyrical ballads known as “dumas”.

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky plays a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza next to his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky plays a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza next to his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

The songs were popular in Ukraine from the 15th century, but the tradition almost died out under Soviet repression in the 1930s. The flame was kept alive in rural areas.

Fedynsky lives in Kryachkivka, a village in Poltava region 145 km (90 miles) east of Kiev believed to have once been the home of a group of blind musicians who traveled the country barefoot.

 

 

They sang to the accompaniment of the bandura, a string instrument reminiscent of the harp, and the kobza, an instrument similar to a modern day lute.

“To revive a tradition you have to find elements of the lost tradition,” said Fedynsky. He described this as difficult, with no kobza players alive and no surviving instruments to work from.

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky prays with his family and students before lunch in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky prays with his family and students before lunch in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

“So to revive a tradition, it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of research. You have to go to the museums, you have to make blueprints, you have to learn how to make instruments.

“You have to learn how to make good instruments and then you can start playing or at least learning to play,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko; editing by Andrew Roche)

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torbal at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torbal at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

An unfinished Ukrainian folk music instrument called a kobza is seen inside a workshop of musician Yuriy Fedynsky in the village of Kryachkivka
An unfinished Ukrainian folk music instrument called a kobza is seen inside a workshop of musician Yuriy Fedynsky in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky and his wife Mariia sing a song during a rehearsal with locals in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky and his wife Mariia sing a song during a rehearsal with locals in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky walks with a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza in the backyard of his house in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky walks with a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza in the backyard of his house in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky explains to a student how to make a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torban at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky explains to a student how to make a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torban at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torban at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torban at his workshop in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Musician Yuriy Fedynsky plays a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza during rehearsal with his students in the village of Kryachkivka
Musician Yuriy Fedynsky plays a Ukrainian folk instrument called a kobza during rehearsal with his students in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

A student of musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torban at a workshop in the village of Kryachkivka
A student of musician Yuriy Fedynsky makes a Ukrainian folk instrument called a torban at a workshop in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

Unfinished Ukrainian folk music instruments are seen inside a workshop of musician Yuriy Fedynsky in the village of Kryachkivka
Unfinished Ukrainian folk music instruments are seen inside a workshop of musician Yuriy Fedynsky in the village of Kryachkivka, Ukraine August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

 

 

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