Sunday, September 27, 2009

Has anyone seen my pyrohy?

What's yum in Ukrainian?
6'2", eyes of blue, has anyone seen my pyrohy? It's impossible to find those tasty pillows of stuffed dough in the east end so Mario and I made sure we got to the Toronto Ukrainian Festival last weekend to get our fill. It's the largest Ukrainian festival in North America, big enough to close Bloor Street for three days between Runnymede and Jane. With standing room only for eating, we lost quite a few of our slippery treats and had to keep going back to Natalie's Kitchen for more. It's taken nearly a week to recover from the carb overload but it was so worth it.
Music was a big part of the festival this year, with headliner and Euro favorite Haydamaky whirling traditional Ukrainian tunes, myths and instruments with reggae, ska and punk in a musical blender to produce what they call Cossack rock. Bare-chested accordian playing could be dangerous if done by anyone other than Ivan Leno; he manages to make it soulful.
Dynamic lead singer and sopilka-player Oleksandr Yarmola was born in Chernobyl in 1966 and likes to use music as a medium for political change (the band's name comes from Haydamachyna, an 18th century peasant rebellion against foreign oppression). Check out Haydamaky's performance--and other festival highlights like opening act Zrada Cultural Academy from Winnipeg--on Uke Tube.
Great food, incredible music, amber jewellery and FC Dynamo Kyiv soccer fan scarves...the festival just gets better and better. The next one is only 358 days away. That should give us time to recover!

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