Volya: Bringing Belarus to Seattle, through Folk Songs and Traditions
Marina Karptsova is a Tour Specialist in MIR’s Custom Group Travel department. Born in Turkmenistan and raised in Ukraine, she’s been an important part of MIR’s Seattle office for more than seven years.
I’d like to introduce you to my talented sister-in-law, Volya Dzemka – photographer, filmmaker and singer. She is a tireless champion of Belarusian musical traditions, and loves to sing the old songs herself.
Volya is a native Belarusian. She was born and raised in the capital city of Minsk, but spent her childhood summers with her grandparents in a small southwestern Belarusian village. It was in this village that she heard Belarusian folk songs for the first time and fell in love with their beauty and richness.
Now, years later and a continent away, Volya is the lead singer in a Belarusian folk group that she organized, VOLYA, based in Seattle, Washington. The singers proudly wear hand-made traditional folk costumes that were donated to Volya by Belarusian villagers.
Here the group performs the winter solstice song, “Kaza,” at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle. In archaic Belarusian, they are singing:
“Oh oh goat, oh oh Gray, where have you been and what have you heard?”
“Oh, I have been to the dark forest and the cherry orchards.”
(click on photo for larger version)
She is currently editing her footage into a documentary about Belarusian folk songs.
Delve into the deep traditions of Belarus, including dining with a rural family in the Belarusian countryside, on our small group tour, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, or on a custom & private trip, tailored to your interest and pace.
(Top photo: VOLYA. Photo credit: Volya Dzemka)
PUBLISHED: April 27, 2015