Out in the west end at Royal York station, you’ll often find TTC busker Yarko Antonevych calmly plucking away at a strange lute-like instrument. The scene so charming and anachronistic that it’s no wonder commuters are instantly drawn to him. “What is that you’re playing?” they’ll ask, and it has become such a common question that Yarko has the bandura‘s history hard-wired into his brain for anyone who cares to know.
Humble Yarko says he is but a bandurist and not a kobzar, or a traveling Ukrainian minstrel who would historically entertain and teach those around him. But if you ask me, with his natural storytelling capability and eagerness to share what he knows, there is no description that better fits him than that of a modern-day kobzar.
For me, being a TTC bandurist is a way of continuing the tradition and legacy of these kobzari. They played in marketplaces; the TTC is my marketplace. I’m introducing the instrument to people who wouldn’t normally hear about it. I’ve been a TTC busker on and off since 1987. It’s a nice way to round out my income, too.
A kobzar is more spiritual, more of a teacher to other people. A bandurist is someone who plays the bandura. Kobzar is a term that I wouldn’t be able to use on myself. Someone else would have to call me that, and I have been called that by certain people.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has cancelled his visit to Vancouver to attend the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on Sunday evening, CBC News has learned.
The announcement comes as a surprise because Russia is the next host of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, and Medvedev had planned to attend.
Russia has also fared poorly in the medal count at the Vancouver Olympics, holding fifth place behind Canada as of Thursday morning with 13 medals — less than half of their predicted results.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge called out Medvedev for his country’s repeated doping violations in cross-country skiing and biathlon.
The suspicions surrounding the Russians, who have had eight biathletes and cross-country skiers banned for doping since the end of the 2009 World Cup season, were raised repeatedly during Rogge’s media conference in Vancouver on Feb. 9.
The next Winter Olympics is shaping up as a Cold War-style battle between Canada and Russia after a blistering editorial in Pravda labeled us as a nation of cowardly, incompetent war criminals.
The editorial, entitled Vancouver: Mutton Dressed as Lamb, goes straight for the eyes from the outset. “Vancouver is not fit to hold the Winter Olympics,” it declares in the opening paragraph.
And that was before Canada whipped Russia in the hockey quarter finals. Today, the site was less expansive.
“The Red Machine Runs into a Maple Tree,” was Pravda’s headline. Other newspaper banners across Russia included “Nightmare in Vancouver” and “Down and Out.”
Reading back on Pravda’s screed, the schadenfreude will be thick for Canadian supporters. The website’s main athletic complaint is about a short-notice drug test issued to Russian skier Natalya Korosteleva. It neglects to mention that VANOC organizers have no input into the drug-testing regime of any particular sporting body.
It also impugns us for the decision to give the gold medal in men’s figure skating to American Evan Lysacek over Russian Evgeni Plushenko – as if we had some say in that, either.
“Even more diligent critics of Vancouver 2010 have been astonished by the editorial,” the Times of Londonwrote today.
Last night, Russian hockey stars were being … well … Russian about their loss.
Supporters of a Ukrainian museum in Edmonton say they desperately need a new and bigger building, and they want answers from Ottawa about whether it will help cover expenses.
The province, the city and individuals have all chipped in after a 10-year fundraising campaign by the Ukrainian Canadian Archives Museum of Alberta. But the museum is still waiting for final approval and cash from Ottawa.
“People maybe get a little bit disappointed about the lack of progress so it’s hard to get people enthusiastic about something that’s stagnated,” said museum board member Paul Teterenko
Museum officials say they never thought it would take this long, and neither did Conservative MP Peter Goldring, a long-time supporter of the project.
“(We were) just about ready to see ink on paper. What happened? I don’t know. I really don’t know,” he said.
Museum officials hope recently-appointed Minister of Public Works Rona Ambrose, an Edmonton MP, will help push the project along.
Teterenko says a bigger museum will bring in Ukrainian artifacts from Europe.