Tag Archives: history

O’ Kanata: The best song ever!

It has taken me awhile to turn my face toward limitless heritage of my country. In retrospective, when I engaged in conversations with my friends about Canada’s culture, the first thought pop up in my mind was a unique culture of the First Nations. As far as I can perceive it, the issue of the First Nations is the only one that is not being widely publicized in any mainstream media; it’s hardly being covered in blogs as well.

Probably I should devote more time to writing on this exuberant topic because few people have an idea of how deeply touching the art of the aboriginal people is.

Meantime, we have no choice but admit that history of aboriginal peoples in Canada is unique and extremely compelling for both a typical academic and a man of the street – – they all would definitely find something that is near to their heart.

Before we go any further, let us enjoy an aboriginal version of Oh, Canada, Canada’s National Anthem. O’ Kanata is the best song ever!

Inuktitut

ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ!
ᓇᖕᒥᓂ ᓄᓇᕗᑦ!
ᐱᖁᔭᑏ ᓇᓚᑦᑎᐊᖅᐸᕗᑦ.
ᐊᖏᒡᓕᕙᓪᓕᐊᔪᑎ,
ᓴᙱᔪᓗᑎᓪᓗ.
ᓇᖏᖅᐳᒍ, ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ,
ᒥᐊᓂᕆᑉᓗᑎᑎ.
ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ! ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊ!
ᓇᖏᖅᐳᒍ ᒥᐊᑎᓂᕆᑉᓗᑎ,
ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ, ᓴᓚᒋᔭᐅᖁᓇ!

Official English

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

In case you loved the singing, you are always welcome to visit a native place of the song — a site from where I shamelessly  borrowed the song. Cheers.

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My Art, Skomorokh

Today we are about to leave Georgia and move to Russia, the country rich with the oldest ancestry of art.

The topic for today is a Russian joker — a skomorokh.

The skomorokhs (Sing. скоморох in Russian, скоморохъ in Old East Slavic, скоморaхъ in Church Slavonic) were medieval East Slavic harlequins, i.e. actors, who could also sing, dance, play musical instruments and compose most of the scores for their oral/musical and dramatic performances. The etymology of the word is not completely clear.[1] There are hypotheses that the word is derived from the Greek σκώμμαρχος (cf. σκῶμμα, “joke”); from the Italian scaramuccia (“joker”, cf. English scaramouch); from the Arabic masẋara; and many others.

[…]

The skomorokhs performed in the streets and city squares engaging with the spectators to draw them into their play. Usually the main character of the skomorokh performance was a fun-loving saucy muzhik (мужик) of comic simplicity. In the 16th–17th century the skomorokhs would sometimes combine their efforts and perform in a vataga (ватага, or big crowd) numbering 70 to 100 people. The skomorokhs were often persecuted by the Russian Orthodox Church and civilian authorities.

My art, Skomorokh, Russian joker

It’s true that skomorokhs were actors who played on different musical instruments — such as guslirozhok, or balalaika — in ancient Russia. In my incused piece of art, as a case in point, I portrayed skomorokh with balalaika.

Chewing over the topic of ancient Russian performers, it’s really hard to avoid a comparison of skomorokhs with yurodivy, who were a sorta Russian preachers in medieval Russia.  The similarity between the two is the essence of their job: both skomorohs and yurodivy were quick at telling an inconvenient truth about the current affairs in Russia.

The yurodivy (Russian: юродивый, yurodivy) is the Russian version of Foolishness in Christ (Russian: юродство, yurodstvo or jurodstvo), a peculiar form of Eastern Orthodox asceticism. The yurodivy is a Holy Fool, one who acts intentionally foolish in the eyes of men. The term implies behaviour “which is caused neither by mistake nor by feeble-mindedness, but is deliberate, irritating, even provacative.

[…]

Some characteristics that were commonly seen in holy fools were going around half-naked, being homeless, speaking in riddles, being believed to be clairvoyant and a prophet, and occasionally being disruptive and challenging to the point of seeming immoral (though always to make a point).

In their seemingly obvious resemblance, however, skomorokhs and yurodivy had distinct dissimilarities between them. One of the most vivid distinctions is that skomorokhs could be decapitated for their performances; yet, yurodivy were untouchable — and for good reason, they were perceived as the voice of the Lord.

emphasis mine

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My Art, Tamar of Georgia

My piece of art but I depart
♥♥♥

Welcome to my virtual art gallery which will probably consist of … a couple of pieces I punched in my previous life. Years have flied since I kissed the hobby goodbye. Yet, when people see my “masterpieces” they always ask me to extrude something for them, on crying of whom I always react with a polite form of denial. People keep asking; I keep turning everything into a joke…

Well, today we are going to learn about Tamar of Georgia, a Queen of Georgia centuries ago.

Tamar (Georgian: თამარი, also transliterated as T’amar or Thamar) (c. 1160 – 18 January 1213), of the Bagrationi dynasty, was Queen Regnant of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. Tamar presided over the “Golden age” of the medieval Georgian monarchy. Her position as the first woman to rule Georgia in her own right was emphasized by the title mep’e (“king”), commonly afforded to Tamar in the medieval Georgian sources.

My Art, Tamar of Georgia

I was inspired to create this piece by one of the Georgian masters who taught me Art mixed with Georgian philosophy and peppered with its history. It was great time. I learned lots of stuff which I keep chewing over and over again, throughout the years. Eventually I departed from the life of an artist; the daily routine of worldly life won the battle over my soul — I was pardoned/punished? by kicked out from The Celestial Empire straight down to Earth, where I have happily been dwelling ever since.

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And the people eventually gone

Simcha Rabba, Simcha Rabba, Aviv Hee’gee’ah, Pesach Bah!
♦♦♦
[rough translation]
There’s a Great Joy, There’s a Great Joy
Spring has come, Passover has come!
♦♦♦

Many people all over the world are blessed of holding both Jewish and Christian holidays within one week. Today we meet Passover, the most important, in my opinion, day for all Jewish people.

The word Pesach [HEB], comes from a Hebrew word PaSaCH which means PASSED OVER which is a literal translation of Passover.

I am sure that the history of Passover is widely publicized in tones of media sources. Being exposed to those stories in the media on almost on a yearly basis, I have found that they are pretty lengthy and indigestible, in a sense. Thus I came to my own short interpretation of the holiday.

To make a long story short, Jews were living in Egypt and cried out to the local Pharaoh that he would let the people go, as it described in the following song.

Needless to say that Moses‘s appeals to the Pharaoh weren’t heard — the ruler despised the Jewish longing for freedom. Then Jews had nothing to do but complain to God about the injustice. Being a Jewish God, the God sent 10 plagues to Egypt, on the spur of the moment.

Having tested nine plagues out of set of the ten, Pharaoh hadn’t been convinced of the reason why he should have allowed Jews to go. At that point both Jews and God were sick and tired of the Pharaoh’s stupid obduracy — the Pharaoh wasn’t aware that God were with Jews. So, when all nine plagues failed to bring to reason that pour Pharaoh, God had reluctantly to come down to killing all firstborns in Egypt. It’s important to mention that playing on the side of the Jews, God revealed to them a catch of the last plague — the tenth one.

This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. (Exodus 11:4-6)

God told Moses that in order to all Jewish firstborns to survive the Jews had to mark lamb’s blood on their doorposts so that Angel of Death would PASS OVER that home. Jews did what God told them and, subsequently, escaped the blind rage of God in His 10the plague; the Pharaoh was a moron and got what he paid for.

Not sooner had the Pharaoh changed his mind and let that people go before he tasted the tenth plague.

Eventually the people gone… That’s basically the story of Passover.

The joy of the holiday comes from the fact that Passover was a crucial event in Jewish history; it was a day of birth a Jewish nation. In my view, Passover is one of few Jewish holidays when both religious and secular Jews draw round the table.

Bonus: Listen to the two-part podcast chewing over the exodus of Jews from Egypt.

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