Bangles and beads earworm

I finally tracked down this fragment of a tune that was running through my head, as “Baubles Bangles and Beads” from the movie Kismet.

Baubles, bangles
Hear how they jing, jinga-linga
Baubles, bangles, bright shiny beads
Sparkles, spangles
Her heart will sing, singa-linga
Wearing baubles, bangles and beads
She’ll glitter and gleam so
Make somebody dream so
That someday I may
Buy her a ring, ringa-linga
I’ve heard that’s where it leads
Wearing baubles, bangles and beads
This has been made into a film a half a dozen times – it’s some double romance set in Baghdad, since it depends on some kind of sorcery for the plot development – and there are also several iconic recordings of the tune.
Unfortunately it was the most annoying one that was running through my mind, the one with the jinga-linga-linga chorus, this has got to be pure supermarket music.
Here is the trailer for the 1955 version, with Ann Blyth as the daughter of a beggar who comes into a fortune:
Here’s the entire tune sung by Ann Blyth as she goes to the market for a new outfit and changes into it behind a bolt of the same color fabric.
For the GenX crowd, here’s the Sinatra big band (?) version:
Peggy Lee does the female equivalent of the Sinatra recording.
There are a few others, a jazz version by Bill Evans, a jazz (I think) version by Sarah Vaughn.  The melody itself was from Alexander Borodin’s “String Quartet in D”, the second theme of the second movement, which you can hear starting about 8:50.
And saving the best for last, the bossa nova version by Sinatra and Tom Jobim, the composer of Brazil and Waters of March. (See also: “The second greatest Brazilian song“)
[Hmm, the videos don’t seem to be imbedding tonight — that’s the disadvantage of free blogware, sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn

Wu Fei plays guzheng (Chinese zither), Abigail Washburn plays clawhammer banjo. Both are blue links, for a change. Washburn’s article does not mention the album, Wu Fei’s does.


Is this a toy? You decide.

It has the reeds of a harmonica, or an accordion.

It can cost as little as $10, or several thousand dollars.

All female jazz band plays Route 66:

No idea what this is…Chinese gypsy?  “Libertango“.

“Libertango” seems to be something of a standard for this instrument. Everyone does it.

Okay, if you liked Ena Yoshida (above) here is a different performance of “Libertango”.

Want to buy one? Here are thirteen of them compared, playing the same tune (including a “Clavietta”, “Vibrandoneon”, and claviola), so you can hear the difference. [YouTube].

And what about teh menz, you may ask?

Melodica Men play Bohemian Rhapsody:

I don’t know which is better, the fake mustache or the grimacing, but they would be pretty good even without the comedy.

This guy is kind of fun, and shows you what the instrument is capable of.




Reed organ playlist

Since Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is apparently a Thing for reed organ, or maybe some kind of insider joke, I may as well start a list for reed organ/folding organ/preacher’s organ/parlor organ. But is it Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565″ or the lesser known Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in  Minor BWV 538″, also called “Dorian” for its absence of a key signature…

The reed organ was quite popular around 1900, but gradually became supplanted by the pipe organ in churches, and the piano in homes.

Mark Twain had a piano for his daughters, but his roots were with the older music of the reed organ.

So what did they all play? Let’s get the Bach out of the way first.

Here is “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” ( no idea which one), played on a reed organ by a Canadian guy, Rodney Jantzi, who repairs them. (Yes, I have been binge-watching reed organ repair videos on YouTube, and am up to part 6, they are fascinating, even better than Barbour’s car engine disassemblies.)

And of course we must have a woman, here is Diane Bish playing it on the world’s largest outdoor organ (although it is a pipe organ, not a reed organ).

And just to go off on a tangent, here she is playing the oldest playable organ in the world, on a mountaintop in Switzerland. The bellows to play the thing are larger than she is. But again, this is a pipe organ, not a reed organ.

So here are some reed organ standards, historical stuff, or just stuff people like to play on them: (links to scores in green)

Places on the internet to find free music

General organ and harmonium methods

  • Reed organ album  by Archer, Frederic, 1889. “Part II of the ‘Complete method for the American reed organ’. Without registration.” (Internet Archive)
  • A complete method for the American reed organ, by Archer, Frederic, 1889. (Internet Archive)
  • Easy and Brilliant Compositions for Parlor Organ, by Battmann, Jacques-Louis 1878 (Internet archive, Clarino Marche” and 3 others)
  • 72 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium, Op.60, (No. 13-24) by Battmann, Jacques-Louis (Internet Archive)
  • Repertorium für Orgel, Harmonium oder Pedalflügel by Gottschalg, Alexander Wilhelm, 1875 (Internet Archive cover, pdf)
  • Chapel hymnal : hymns and songs by Noss, Theo. B;  1899. (Internet archive – secular songs in the back.)
  • White’s School for the reed organ : containing a full and comprehensive method of instruction : also scales, studies, exercises, voluntaries, songs, marches, waltzes, polkas, opera melodies, hymns, tunes, etc., by White, C. A. (Charles Albert), 1875 (Internet Archive) (another on Internet Archive)
  • Reed organ player; Sunday music for organ or piano, a collection of pieces for all occasions by Lewis, Walter (Internet Archive)

A few from ebay, once you know something exists, you might be able to find it online:

  • whitney's improved parlor organ cropWhitney’s Improved Easy Method Parlor Organ, Lyon & Healy, Chicago, Illinois,  1886. 100-page music lesson book
  • Selected Compositions, Harmonium, Organ, American Organ Church Voluntaries, edited and arranged by J.S. Anderson. Vintage Piano/Organ Sheet Music
  • Messe Solennelle Aquatre Voix Soli & Choeurs, G. Rossini, Music Libretto, c1870. Solennelle, Aquatre Voix, Composee et dediee Madame La Comtesse Pillet-Will, Par G. Rossini, Partition pour Chant Avec Accompagnement de Piano et Orgue-Harmonium. Propiete des Editeurs Enregistre aux Archives del Union; Mayence Chez Les Fils De B. Schott 20067. Gioachino Antonio Rossini (29 February 1792 – 13 November 1868) was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he also wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, and some sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his popularity. RARE LIBRETTO C1870s, MUSIC FOR PIANO AND HARMONIUM ORGAN
  • National Guide to Reed Organ Playing, by W F Sudds, pub by Oliver Ditson Co., Boston, 1882.

…and afterwards maybe watch The Inspector General (1949) – Danny Kaye


Bonus: video of 1910 Estey Model JJ demo in museum (“Amazing Grace”).

Josephine James

Josephine James (1934 – September 9, 2019?) was an American gospel singer and songwriter.  Although she made a huge number of recordings under her own name, she is probably best known for her duets with her brother, the pastor and broadcaster Cleophus Robinson (1932 – 1998).

Early life

Josephine James was born in born in Camden, Mississippi, the seventh of nine children.  Her parents were Coleman and Lillie Robinson. When she was 12 years old they moved to Canton, Mississippi.

In 1947 she moved to Chicago and started the quintet Five Queens of Zion. Her brother Cleophus moved to Chicago briefly in 1948 and sang with the Roberta Martin Singers, whose members included Mahalia Jackson. It was during this time that Josephine sang with her brother.
In the 1950’s she joined the Lawndale Interracial Baptist Church on Chicago’s west side, with Rev. C. S. Hampton as pastor. She married Lorenzo James (d. 1996?)  and they had five children.

A musical family

Her mother Lillie was a gospel singer in the church choir.  An aunt and an uncle in Memphis, Rev. L. A. Hamblin, were also singers, and her brother Cleophus stayed with them for a while.

Her nephew, Rev Cleophus Robinson Jr., (Cleophus Robinson, 19572014), was the son of her brother Cleophus Robinson Jackson. He was a singer who recorded several solo albums:

    • ‘Keep On Stepping’ at the age of 17, on a Nashboro label subsidiary and
    • ‘Consolation’ (Savoy, 1980),
    • ‘Back Again’ (Malaco, 1993) and
    • ‘What You Need’ (Malaco, 1995).

He died Dec. 23, 2014, aged 57.

Josephine James, “Live In St. Louis” with her brother in 1997.

The most famous musician in her family was her brother, Mississippi pastor and broadcastor Cleophus Robinson. In 1949, Cleophus recorded four sides for Miracle Records — two were released as the 78 “Miracle 142”, which  contained “Now Lord” and a very slow “I Love the Name Jesus” — but it did not sell well. In 1953, Cleophus was brought to the attention of Don Robey, who owned the labels Duke and Peacock labels that were producing rhythm ‘n’ blues and gospel hits, and Robinson recorded ten tracks over three years with the Spirit of Memphis Quartet. Again, the recordings did not sell well. Listen here to “Shout, shout” on Peacock Records with the wonderful Napoleon Brown on piano who he worked with for many years.

In 1956, Cleophus Robinson convinced Robey to record him and Josephine in a live, spontaneous church setting, and the result was the hit “Pray For Me”, attributed to “Rev. Cleophus Robinson and his sister Josephine James”.

By 1957, Josephine ‘s brother had moved from Memphis to St. Louis, and married Bertha L. Thomas of Mobile, Alabama in 1956 (Bertha Lou Robinson, 19372006).  He become a popular figure on the radio program Hour Of Faith on radio station KATZ. The “Pray For Me” album was released by the Peacock recording label in 1962, and Peacock also recorded solos by Bertha Robinson in 1963. Roebuck Staples of the Staple Singers had just signed to Riverside, and Josephine’s brother Cleophus Robinson now signed a contract with Battle, a subsidiary of jazz label Riverside run by Orrin Keepnews.  You can listen to her at “Bertha Robinson live in 1997”: Bertha Robinson Live/Well Well Well!

Bertha Robinson and her husband Rev. Cleophus Robinson sing together on “Live in St. Louis” in 1997, a year before his death.  This is a really nice video recording done in front of a small church group:


  • “I Know I’m In Love” (1964) Josephine James
  • Stand By Me“- Josephine James
  • Keep Toiling On” (Original)(1964) Josephine James – Side one: He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs, I don’t know what I’d do without the Lord, I know I’m in love
  • I Don’t Know What I’d Do Without The Lord” (1964) Josephine James
  • Jordan River
  • So Much To Talk About“- Sister Josephine James
  • Keep On Toiling” Sister Josephine James, track 3 from the 1969 album entitled “When Jesus Comes”. Written by Thomas A. Dorsey
  • How I Got Over” Sister Josephine James, track 5 from the 1969 album entitled “When Jesus Comes”. Written by Clara Ward
  • Thank You Lord“- Josephine James, From her 1960’s Savoy album GOD IS ALL.
  • Josephine James Live/When The Gates Swing Open! 2016.
  • “Sweet Home” (1961) Cleophus Robinson & Josephine James
  • GOSPSOUL: Rev. Cleophus Robinson & Sister Josephine James – Sweet Home – 1962
  • I Tried God“, Rev Cleophus Robinson & The Robinson Family, Live In St. Louis, 1997
  • I Know What The Lord Can Do” (1961) Cleophus Robinson & Josephine James
  • I Can See So Much (Live)“- Cleophus Robinson & Josephine James, Rev Cleophus Robinson & The Robinson Family Album Live In St. Louis Licensed to YouTube by [Merlin] The Malaco Music Group (on behalf of Malaco Records); UMPG Publishing, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., and 3 Music Rights Societies
  • Rev Cleophus Robinson Live/ All My Help, Rev Cleophus Robinson & The Robinson Family, Live In St. Louis
  • Lord send meTrack A-2 on “Four Women in Christ” (1974) compiled by ABC, a collection of recordings on Peacock/Songbird label. Featured artists include Josephine James, Bertha Robinson, Jessie Mae Renfro, and Rhonda Davis.


Women playing bandura

It’s Monday and time to get some stuff done. (Do the days of the week just blend together now?)

Guess what has been unleashed in the internets…women playing bandura!  Two days ago, when I wrote the bandura post, you would be hard-pressed to find even one.  Now they are coming out of the woodwork. So here’s a little soundtrack for your chores.

Alina Pash feat. «Ой, сивая та і зозуленька» (Oh, gray and cuckoo)

B&B Project plays cover versions of Germain group Rammstein on bandura and accordion.

Another by B&B project, Storm (Presto) from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Summer”

Performer unknown, the work is “Концертний етюд” (Concert etude).

Марини Круть (Marina Krut) plays a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

The torban (Торбан), an instrument related to bandura, its precursor I suppose. Maria Viksnina plays an Irish jig, “Брызги росы”(sprig of dew)

Okay, not bandura, but an Israeli group, Habibti Ensemble – Baghdad | Live at Zappa Jerusalem.  A long instrumental at the beginning, typical of Arab music, before the vocals kick in…the violin is very nice, and imagine this part being played in the manner of medieval Swedish tradition substituted with a wooden flute.

“During summer nights, Baghdad is raising, sleeping on the rooftops Delicate sounds of night, heavy breaths, quiet whispers Between the rooftops, snake streets, twist and sigh Into the twilight, gate where the nights turn into days.

“في ليالي الصيف، تعلو بغداد لتنام على السطوح ضوضاء الليل، الأنفاس الثقيلة والهمسات الهادئة بين سطوح المنازل، شوارع ثعبانيّة متعرّجة، تتنهّد نحو الشفق، بوّابة الليالي إلى الأيام

“בלילות הקיץ בגדד עולה לישון על הגגות רחשי הליל נשימות כבדות לחישות שקטות בין גגות בתים רחובות נחש מתפתלים נאנחים אל הדמדומים, שער הלילות אל הימים”

Kind of nice for sukkot, which is technically over, but if you already have the sukkah set up to eat in the back yard, are you really ready to give it up yet?

New Songs of Paradise

Charles Albert Tindley was pastor of one of the largest churches in Philadelphia, a songwriter, and the creator of the American gospel music genre.  He was the first hymn writer to have a hymn copyrighted.  He wrote some 47 songs, including the 1903 “I shall overcome” which became the 1960’s civil rights anthem “We shall overcome”. One of his best-known hymns was “Leave It There.”  In 1916 he published a hymn collection titled New Songs Of Paradise.

Here is reed organ collector, Artis Wodehouse (red link), playing two of his hymns in an abandoned church in New York.

The songs are “I Am a Pilgrim of Sorrow” and “You Ask Me Where I Get the Joys”.

Charles Tindley.

Yes, they are in the public domain.

“Stand by me” is probably his most popular tune.  It was popularized by Elvis, his fans will tell you what a great voice he had for gospel and how his gospel work is so often overlooked. Here are a few on YouTube:

New Songs of Paradise, 1916:

Soul echoes. No. 2 : a collection of songs for religious meetings /
edited and compiled by Bishop J.S. Caldwell [and others], 1909. (No. 2 was an expanded edition)

Other stuff

Okay a few dudes, because COVID:

Peter Tylor in his living room (?) playing “Leave it there” on a Dominion reed pump organ during COVID.  Yeah I know this is supposed to be about the women, but I am really on a reed organ kick.

  • “The storm is passing over” by a New York Marymount virtual choir for Class of 2020, recorded from their homes.
Boston Children’s Chorus: “To conclude our 19/20 season, BCC’s singers offer Charles Albert Tindley’s anthem of hope and resilience, ‘The Storm is Passing Over.'” Really little kids, some outside with their parents.
Here is a group in Italy, again performed from homes, this seems to be a hugely popular COVID hymn:
Though the night is dark, and I am far from home. Thanks be to God, the morning light appears.The storm is passing over...the storm is passing over…
I do hope my devoted readers are staying out of the bars, there will be plenty of time for that once a COVID vaccine is available.
To help out with that, here are a few compilations of temperance songs from this list of scanned hymnals available from the Internet Archive:
  • Anti-Saloon Campaign Song: Author: Elisha A. Hoffman; Publisher: Elisha A. Hoffman, Cabey, IL.; Date: Date: 1910.
  • Bells of Victory: A Collection of Music for Temperance Meetings – Author: Elisha A. Hoffman, John Harrison; Publisher: O. Ditson Date: 1888
  • Crystal Notes: A choice collection of new temperance hymns and songs for red, white and blue ribbon clubs, gospel meetings and every phase of the temple Date:1878
  • Great Joy!: A new and favorite collection of hymns and music, for gospel meetings, prayer, temperance, and camp meetings, and for Sunday schools; Author: Warren W. Bentley; Publisher: George D. Newhill & Co. Cincinnati, OH.; Date: 1881
  • Songs Of The New Crusade: A collection of twentieth century temperance songs. Author: Elisha A. Hoffman; Publisher: Chicage: Hope; Date: 1916

[The list of Bilhorn hymn collections that was here has been moved to Peter Bilhorn under the “Available from the Internet Archive” heading.]

Blind poet Fanny Crosby composed over 8,000 hymns.

And were there women composers in those times gone by?  Yes, indeed.

Bonus temperance union song: Away away with rum by gum







Kobza was a Ukrainian psychedelic folk band established in the 60’s by a group of students from the Kyiv School of Music.  It was named after the Ukranian kobza, a traditional pear-shaped stringed instrument related to the lute.

Kobza has sometimes served as an official representative of the state at Ukrainian cultural events.

The initial members of the group were bandura players Konstantin Novitsky and Vladimir Kushpet, and flutist Georgy Garbar. The banduras were an innovation: the electric bandura. The director was student Alexander Zuev, who later became a composer.

The kobza

Soldiers listening to traveling kobzar.

The kobza first entered Ukrainian history as an instrument played by wandering blind musicians called kobzars.

The instrument was taken up by Cossack soldiers, then later by traveling philosopher bards, who became embroiled in political intrigues.



In the 16th and 17th centuries, additional treble strings, and even bass strings were added to the body of the instrument, thus were born the archlute, chitarrone or theorbo, harp-cittern, poliphant, and bandura.  Of these, only the bandura survived.

The kobza suffered additional indignities during Soviet occupation when it was suppressed, and the scholar who had written its chronicles, Hnat Khotkevych, was shot by the Soviets.

“In Soviet times scholars in Ukraine had to quote Famintsyn whose views on the history of the kobza and bandura were thoroughly debunked by Hnat Khotkevych (1930). The tragedy lay in the fact that Khotkevych had been shot by Soviet authorities and his works were proscribed for decades, while Famintsyn became a mandatory source.”

In 2018, the last school in Ukraine offering kobza instruction was shut down abruptly, with no explanation. There had been only two applications for new kobza students that year. The school by tradition only accepted male students. Many graduates of the program went on to be music teachers or lead vocalists in prominent Ukrainian music ensembles.

But I digress, back to the group….

The Kobza (Кобза) album

Their first album was Kobza (Кобза). It was recorded in 1970, and is believed to be the first LP produced in the Ukraine, as well as one of the earliest documented examples of Ukrainian folk-rock.

The album is divided between arrangements of pop/folk songs by local contemporary composers, and traditional folk songs rewritten for electric organ, bass, drums, woodwinds and three banduras.  The bandura is similar to the kobza, but with shorter treble strings added along the right side of the soundboard. Some say the bandura is another type of kobza, but only time will tell whether this gains general acceptance.

Performers on the album:

Oleksandr Zuyev – keyboards
Kostyantyn Novitsky, Volodymyr Kushpet, Oleksandr Rogoza – banduras
Georgiy Garbar – flute
Valeriy Viter, Valentina Kuprina – vocals
Anatoliy Lyutyuk – drums

There is supposed to be a remastered CD version of this album available.

The group was initially invited to the “Melodia” «Мелодия» recording studio to back up singer Valentina Kuprina, but the sponsors liked the group’s original material so much they decided to make an album, and Valeriy Viter was specifically invited in for vocals.

The group’s website also specifically credits Georgiy Garbar with sopilka on the album, which is a hand-carved wooden instrument with six to ten fingering holes and a fipple (whistle) mouthpiece. It is a popular Ukrainian folk instrument typically played by shepherds and mountain dwellers, especially Hutsuls. The instrument is described on the “chiff and fipple” forum as a chromatic “Klezma” whistle useful for playing Irish tunes at sessions.
The Wikipedia sopilka article says this is a permanent dead link, but quelle surprise, I have it here: Also the archived and their repertoire page for midis and sheet music downloads. Wikipedia also says the Kobza group was the first pop group to use the instrument in performances, but “citation needed” on that one.


  • A1 Ой При Лужку, При Лужку (Oh At the Meadow, At the Meadow)
  • A2 Нiч Яка Мiсячна (A Moonlit Night)
  • A3 Дударик (Dudarik)
  • A4 Балада Про Двох Лебедiв (Ballad About Two Swans)
  • A5 Голубiвна (Pigeon)
  • A6 На Івана Купала (On Ivan Kupala)
  • A7 Водограй (Waterfall)
  • B1 Bеснянка (Besnyanka)
  • B2 Зайчик (Bunny)
  • B3 Ой Поїхав За Снопами (Oh, I went for the Sheaves)
  • B4 Ой Кину Я Бук На Яму (Oh Throw I Beech On The Pit)
  • B5 Лiсова Пiсня (Forest Song)
  • B6 Та Й Орав Мужик Край Дороги (Yes and Orav the Man by the Road)
  • B7 Спiвайте Разом З Нами (Sing Together With Us)


  • Kobza (Кобза) – Zajczyk (Ukraine, 1971) (YouTube 3:05)
  • Kobza – Ukraine, 1971 KYM ‎– 72001. (YouTube). (See all 19 releases on Discogs)
  • Kobza – Progulka (Psych / Bossa Nova, 1972, Ukraine, USSR) from Волшебница (Sorceress) Flexi-disc, 7″  (YouTube).
  • Водограй / Веснянка / Та Й Орав Мужик Край Дороги / Голубівна / Лісова Пісня, Мелодия 1972
    [Vodograi / Vesnyanka / Ta Y Orav Muzhik Edge of the Road / Golubivna / Lisova Pisnya, Melody 1972]
  • Кобза – Волшебница album art Волшебница, Мелодия 1972
    [Kobza – Sorceress album art Sorceress, Melody 1972]
  • Кобза – Эстрадные Ансамбли Украины album art Кобза / Магистраль (2) – Эстрадные Ансамбли Украины ‎(7″) Мелодия 33 С 62—12063—64 1979
    [Kobza – Pop Ensembles of Ukraine album art Kobza / Magistral (2) – Pop Ensembles of Ukraine (7 “), 1979]
  • KOBZA, (Кобза II) 1977.  Vocal and instrumental ensemble (“Melody”) 33С60-10941-42 – 1977. Released in  1978. Returning musicians were Novitsky, Viter, Kushpet, and Garbar, in addition, Oleg Lednev ( bass guitar), Evgeny Kovalenko (keyboards), Nikolai Beregovoy (violin), Gennady Tatarchenko (guitar) and Vasily Kolektsionov (drums). The album was a mixture of Ukrainian folk song arrangements and songs of Ukrainian composers. (YouTube)
  •  KYM ‎– 72001 Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo Country: Canada Released: 1971 Kobza ‎– Canadian Tour ’82 / Yevshan ‎– YFP 1018. (YouTube 2:58).
  • Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, ref FP-1983-CT-0039, 1983.
  • Кобза ‎– Спомин (Recollection), 2001.
  • ВІА Кобза – Дискографія (5 альбомів) (1972-2008) [MP3] | Pop / Folk
    [VIA Kobza (Ukrainian VIA) (2008)].
    Compilation of songs from both LPs in 1972 and 1978. Missing two songs from the 1978 record – “The sun did not rise in the morning” and “Wait”

In Russian

[Link to Playlists]

  • 1972 33D-032263-4 33CM 03069-70 (LP)
  • 1972 GD-0002913 (EP)

Sorceress (A. Zuev – V. Golikov)
Walk (Yu Kasatkin)

  • (Ukrainian folk songs) 197833С60-10941-42 (LP)
  • “Spomin” 197833С60-10941-42(LP)
  • “Kobza”2008 MEL CD 60 01437 (CD)

Other websites


Kobza and bandura sources

  • “The Kobza and the Bandura: A Study in Similarities and Contrasts,” by Andrij Hornjatkevyč, University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • Oriana (Оріана), female vocal and bandura trio, discography
  • “Kobzars” (wandering folk bards), Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine.
  • The Bandura
  • The Bandura Trio of the Ukrainian Radio (female trio) has played at a number of international festivals, and features compositions by various Ukrainian composers that it works with, including Anna Havrylets (Гаврилець Ганна Олексіївна).
  • Women’s Bandura Ensemble of North America (red link) (see list on Wikipedia) does live concerts and has gathered quite a number of favorable reviews.  Unfortunately the quality of most of their YouTube recordings is cringeworthy, with unimpressive unison vocals, or a heavy-on-the-tremulo contralto in the foreground overshadowing the rest of the ensemble, or even someone whispering in the audience who can be heard over the performance. The possible exception might be their latest special COVID distance performance video, that seems to have better sound balance.
  • There is also a Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America – apparently there was a diaspora after the Stalinist bandura purge – but it’s all dudes, and once you get past the gorgeous traditional costumes, it’s just sausagefest. I’m sorry but there is something about the male chorus that maybe just doesn’t go with the instrument.  The instruments are totes awesome, you can see some description here.  But maybe a mixed chorus, or the trios that seem to be so popular with women in the Ukraine…. There is a mixed chorus here from a university in Ukraine, and it is only a rehearsal but sounds very nice.


In spite of being prohibited from the formal instruction that has been the stepping stone for so many male careers, some women have still managed to play the kobza, or bandura.

Oriana (Оріана) is a three-woman ensemble that performs in traditional costumes. Members are Наталія Гоцик (Natalia Gotsyk), Неоніла Іваноньків (Neonila Ivanonkiv), and Юлія Рудницька (Yulia Rudnytska). The recording quality of this video is really poor, but it has some nice closeup shots of the instruments being played, so you can see the bandura’s thin sides, and the string action. A similar one here, from a musical festival, supposed to be “Ave Maria”, and with the same sound problems. Here is one with better sound quality, from a local TV station; the fake snow does not particularly add to the gravitas of the performance, but this is the one to watch if you just want to hear the group. Their vocals are very tight, and in spite of the sound quality, do blend well with the strings.

The female bandura trio seems to have become quite a Thing in the Ukraine; there is a compilation of videos here, in Ukrainian language (perhaps a collection of contest winners?) (volume warning, turn down sound before opening).

If you just want to see the instrument played well, this is Tatiana Gordiychuk (Татьяна Гордийчук).  She has played bandura for dance performances of the Swedish groupMoving Torup“.  The first piece here is Myroslav Skoryk‘s “Melody in A Minor” (Мелодия Ля мінор). It was dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holodomor (Stalin’s “starvation genocide”) in Ukraine in 1932-1933, to the memory of the lost generation. The second piece is unidentified.