"Ukrainian Dulcimer Ensemble"






Gladys Andreas - Tsymbaly, Fiddle, Mandolin.

Ianace Kylezycki - Tsymbaly, Accordion.

Helen Ward - Tsymbaly, Accordion.

Peter Ward - Fiddle, Harmonica.

Andrew Wepruk - Guitar & Vocal.

History of the Tsymbaly (Hammered Dulcimer)

Dulcimers originated in the Middle East, probably during the first millennium A.D, The instrument was brought to Europe from the Middle East: during the Crusades and Similar instruments have spread around the world. The name "dulcimer" is derived From Latin meaning "sweet sound", Hammered dulcimers were popular in England During the reign of James 1, when the Bible was translated into English as the King James Bible. The dulcimer was mentioned in the Book of Daniel 3:5 among other Instruments "...the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer and All kinds of music..."

Old World Ukrainian tsymbaly forerunner of the piano, a trapezoid shaped musical String instrument can be struck with two small hammers, padded sticks (varying in. Length 4 1/2 to 6 inches) or can be plucked. The size can vary in length and width As well ac the number as clusters of gut or wire strings~ each cluster can have from 2 to 6 strings and with varying gauge. There are two bridges and each cluster of Strings pass alternately over one bridge and under the other, these handmade Instruments vary in size. The sound - board can be made for various type of wood Producing different counts. Piano or zither tuning pins may be used however zither pins that are smaller are preferred.

The Tsymbaly is a stringed-percussion instrument with similarities to the Hungarian Cimbalum, European psaltery, Arab santyr, Chinese yangchyn, and Iris timpan. Early European art reliefs depict many dulcimer/psaltery-like instruments.

The tsymbaly were popularized in Eastern European areas in the fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries, and were avidly played in the Carpathian Mountains, Early Ukrainian immigrants to Canada (many from the mountains) brought musical Traditions, including the tsymbaly, with them, traditionally the tsymbaly were played Solo, accompanied by a violin, or in a group of the December 31, 2004 instruments, Featuring tsymbaly, violin, and a flute-like instrument called a sopilka, or drums in Various combinations). Today, in Western Canada tsymbaly are often featured in Bands with combinations of electric guitars, synthesizers, violins, accordions, and Drums, Thus, tsymbaly, though featured in a new way, manage to retain their Traditional popularity at functions such ac weddings.

Tsymbaly playing at the West Coast

The Bandura is the National Instrument of Ukraine followed by the Tsymbaly. When Ukrainian immigration began to Canada the tsymbaly was one bf the precious Belongings that were brought over if space allowed for it.

Overall the Ukrainian community across Canada has a love for the every loving Mellow, soothing sounding tsymbaly, those who grew up being exposed to the Sounds of the instrument seem to have a longing to learn to play. It is not difficult To learn however the base of the instrument is on the right side as opposed to the Piano and most other with the base being on the left side. If one has learnt the Piano - when you play the tsymbaly you have to reverse your thinking~ Women Didnít pursue the instrument mostly played by men until the late 1980's.

One goal of the Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association (TYC) New Westminster Branch Was to ensure that the tradition bf the tsymbaly was continued. The organization Purchased a number of instruments and were fortunate that George Swereda, Abbotsford an accomplished musician of 60 years was available as an instructor. Adults and children attended classes and learnt to play this traditional Ukrainian Instrument, Gladys Andreas formerly of Edmonton, Alberta commenced lessons January 1990 and introduced the tsymbaly to her 5-year-ald grandson Cory Russell On February 1991, they continued taking lessons until November 1992.

Gladys instructed children, Leah Good ridge, Julia Marlow, Justin Prokosh and Cory Russell, ranging in age from 7 to 9 years from February 1993. They performed to Enthusiastic audiences in the lower mainland 1991 to 1996 and at the Seattle Folk life Festival 1993 to 1996 Erin Kremko was a member a the ensemble until June 1995 When she left to peruse music on the piano. Mark Prokosh accompanied the group On guitar. In the spring of 1996 the "Valley Tsymbaly Ensemble" was one of British Columbiaís first group to record the tsymbaly (hammered dulcimer) with Youngsters. The album was of traditional Ukrainian Wedding Melodies, Old Time Waltzes and Polkas~ Gladys their instructor needed to take some time 6ut and ac a Result the young ensemble retired from tsymbaly however continuing in the musical Field at their school and with other instruments. Julia and Cory continue to play at Family functions.

Helen Ward formerly of Ituna, Saskatchewan and Peter Ward of Winnipegoios, Manitoba had been attending came tsymbaly classes in 1992 by listening only. It Was Peterís ambition to learn the tsymbaly but he was still working? Having an Instrument at home and while Peter was at work, Helen learnt to play "Oyh Ped-Hi- em Hi-em" (Near the Woodlands) She enjoyed the sound and to her amazement was able to learn other songs as well.

Evelyn Shindruk, formerly o~ Shoal Lake, Manitoba attended a tsymbaly workshop on November i8fh, 1994 in Surrey. She plays the accordion and learnt to play the tsymbaly, Evelyn left the group to pursue other musical interests.

The Seattle Folk life Festival committee continued to invite the Ensemble by sending applications to Gladys requesting completion of the forms to perform at the May 1998 Festival. However there was no group to perform, She had been asked an numerous occasions to form an adult group of Tsymbaly players. On her was to Arizona for a winter holiday with her husband Albert, Gladys took the invitation application - completing the form with the names of new members that had not yet met.

Upon her return from Arizona in February 1998 a jam session was called with Ken Radomsky - saxophone, Nikon Trabish - clarinet, Susan Meier - accordion, Helen Ward - tsymbaly, Peter Ward - fiddle and Gladys a tsymbaly and fiddle, It was incredible how these self-taught musicians had never met and yet their music sounded ac if they had been playing for years. Every one was very pleased.

In early March, Gladys received confirmation that the Festival committee accepted the Valley Tsymbaly Ensemble and they were to play on May 23'd, at the Bagley Wright Theatre and at the Bagley Wright Lawn. This was an incentive to form an adult group. A jam session was scheduled with a new comer, Ignace Kulczycki (kul- zi-kee), formerly of Winnipeg, now living in Abbotsford. His original ambition was to play a piano but it was a heavy instrument that could not be transported and maybe he could learn to play the fiddle. He had heard the children performing at fundraising banquet and dances at the Ukrainian Orthodox Center in Surrey on many occasions and was amazed how wonderful the sound of these instruments the youngsters were able to share with all. Hic thoughts were that being of Ukrainian decent and his over far the music ac well as the instrument, perhaps he too could learn. He had purchased an instrument in 1995 and the day he brought this instrument home, the first song that he learnt was "Matea Sena Koleshala" (translated a mother rocking her son to sleep) As he was practicing he received a phone call that hic mother had passed away in Winnipeg. Upon his return he was unable to continue learning for a number of years.

On March 18th, 1998 Ignace, Everyn on tsymbaly, Metro Koropatnisky on guitar and Gladys had a practice at the home of Helen and Peter Ward, Burnaby. Harvey Zelter, Vancouver who had been playing with the children also came to the session. No one could read a note but they had grown up with Ukrainian Music and it was amazing how everyone connected. On May 23rd the Ensemble entertained to several hundred at the Seattle Folk life festival, They received a warm welcome and were Pleased with what they were able to share since they all played by ear. the group continued to perform at various locations in the lower mainland. Some members traveled and have performed at the Pysanka Festival in Vegreville, Alberta, Canadaís National Ukrainian Festival, Dauphin and at Folklorama in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was decided that the name should be changed when the group was producing an album, They did not want: to take away from the childrenís group, The Ukrainian. Dulcimer Ensemble recorded their first album in December 1999 - titled "Retirement Ukrainian-Style" a mix of traditional Ukrainian Melodies.

Kathy Banko a former Swan River Valley, Manitoba resident now living in Surrey has always enjoyed the sound of Ukrainian music and especially the tsymbaly, While on holidays attending the Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin she decided she would make a purchase. Kathy purchased an instrument In Winnipeg and joined the group In the fall of 1999.

Metro moved to Armstrong, B.C. in the fall of 2001. Andrew Wepruk, formerly of Sundown, Manitoba and Fort Francis, Ontario now living in Surrey joined the group in the fall of 2002 and plays the guitar.

The group continues to perform at Seniorís homes in Mission, Abbotsford, George Derby Centre Burnaby, Chopping Malls Langley, Richmond, Surrey, and White Rock, Heritage Festivals Burnaby, Langley, Surrey, Vancouver, Wedding Anniversaries, Fundraisers Childrenís Fund, Festival of Trees, Hyack Festival New Westminster and numerous local functions in Cloverdale and Langley; Annual parades in Fort Langley, Aldergrove and Langley; Richmond Tall Ships 2002 and at the Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver. They have performed annually at the B, C~ Ukrainian Cultural Festival being one of the favorite attractions, The 10th annual Festival will be held on May 7th, 2005 at the Clarke Theatre in Mission.

The Ukrainian Dulcimer Ensemble recorded their second album "Traditional Music Memories" in July 2003. Guest artists were Ernie Storoschuk on fiddle and Darrell Swanson on base guitar.

Official release date was at the 1st Multicultural Exhibit on Saturday September 20, 2003. Opening ceremonies 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.

Tapes and CD's are available by calling Gladys 604-576-7970,

Helen 604-437-4072

or Ignace 604-853-6982

Gladys Andreas

6303 - 187A Street

Surrey, B, C, V3S 7M9

e-mail: aa7979@shaw.ca



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