Sunday, 19 January 2014

Had Fun At Malanka

Malanka has a great sentimental value for me.  Met my husband at a Malanka.  And the tradition continues, it seems, in the ways of ancient times.  Put young people together and instantly there is fun, energy, and a renewal of promise.  The New Year,  Ukrainian style!

Calgary's Plast Malanka last night was a great, fun evening.  It probably helped that the weather is chinooking, so nobody had to wear long-johns!  Evening wear and sparkle, a comfortable and attractive venue, great food and amazing entertainment - the evening had it all.

First, the young adults of Plast led the crowd into the hall with koliady коляди
(Traditional Ukrainian Christmas Carols)!  MC Zennia Martynkiw invited Sister Laura to lead the singing of Boh Predvichney Бог Предвічний followed by a Blessing.  The Petroleum Club chef's best Chicken Kyiv, supplemented with traditional Ukrainian foods including varennyky вареники  (pyrohy) and holubtsi голубці  (cabbage rolls) was delivered with excellent service.  Then Ukrainian violinist Vasyl Popadiuk - Papa Duke dazzled the crowd with a fabulous virtuoso program that hinted at ancestry, yet featured a deep soulful intertwining of international cultures - in a way only musicians can.  Brilliant ballerina Tania Chumak (of Calgary Plast) performed a piece in honor of the dignity movement in Ukraine, to the musically generous new composition sung and played by Stephania Romaniuk.  Then Vohon Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Edmonton brought three separate and interesting Ukrainian dances to the stage, wholeheartedly filling the room with smiles. And if that wasn't enough, the energy kept coming with The Real Deal's mix of R&B, funk, and rock and roll. The dance floor was still hopping when Calgary's Zhyto Band began
the kolomeika which had some fun and humorous offerings, too!  At midnight everyone at Malanka encircled the hall to sing De Zhoda v Rodyni, Where there is Peace in the Family!  Such a great feeling of community as everyone reached out to hug another person, instantly bonding community!  Zhyto kept the hall bouncing with great Ukrainian music until the wee hours - but sadly everything comes to an end.  Friendships and perhaps more might burble into the wee hours, and I'll bet social media sites will continue to buzz about Malanka 2014.

Popadiuk took a plane home to Toronto, brave Vohon dancers drove the three hours back home to Edmonton through the night, and guests disappeared in the night, some planning flights home to places like Winnipeg, Vancouver, Regina while the Plast organizers took account of the silent auction and the rave reviews.  What a great night!

ps sorry the pics are lousy, using a smart phone from a distance - gotta solve that!

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