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
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
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,
or Ignace 604-853-6982
6303 - 187A Street
Surrey, B, C, V3S 7M9
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