There is something about Ukrainian folk music that stirs my soul. I love singing it, listening to it and teaching it.

Whether it’s introducing a new song to an adult choir or a middle school classroom, I am energized by the music.

I grew up with my Tato always singing. He and my uncle often got together and sang folk songs . From koliady to patriotic songs and of course love songs, hours flew by quickly!

I have been blessed to visit Ukraine several times in the past few years . I have found such pleasure and comfort in the music that I heard and also sang.

In Chernivtsi I have made several friends and connected with the theatre group “Holos”. Their passion for song is evident in their performances . They tug at your heart and emotions when you watch them. For me, THAT is music . It’s that connection you make with your audience .Ukrainian folk songs to me are tools to communicate with people .

So many songs have stories! Even those who do not understand Ukrainian can feel an emotional tug to a Ukrainian folk song – if it is performed with the honest passion the words emit. Themes of love, comedy, war, family- these are popular in folk music. Seasonal songs about spring, fall/harvest, summer solstice and of course Christmas and the New Year- why there is so much richness within our Ukrainian folk music! I have only a scratched the surface!

Don’t get me wrong – there are beautiful lyrics from poets that have been set to music and I do enjoy many of them . My heart and passion rests with the people and their folk music and this is why I continue the sing and teach these songs. Simply put – I love to hear and tell stories of the people through the songs written by the people.

Lesia Pohoreski
Tour Host, Vocal Tour of Ukraine (Aug 11-25, 2017)