Boomkat Product Review:
‘Dilo’ offers a fascinating immersion in the khroniky songs and locale of the Rusyn-speaking people in Eastern Europe, recorded by Lucia Nimcová and Sholto Dobie
Another quiet charm from Slovakia’s Mappa Editions, ‘Dilo’ sensitively introduces us, and we’d imagine most others, to the culture of khroniky, or Ukrainian folk songs, as remembered and sung by the Rusyn-speaking minority ethnic group from the region bordering Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, and Poland.
Essentially extant by oral tradition, the khroniky canon, and its songs describing “hardship, murder, torture, death in gulags, heavy drinking, outsmarting men, love affairs,” and the subgenre of “potka” or vagina songs, have long been considered too crude to be considered part of the region’s folk music, proper, and thus remain in the heads and tongues of people who speak Rusyn, a centuries old Slavic language that’s looked down upon by their regional neighbours.
Let’s be fair, we haven’t the foggiest what they’re actually singing about apart from what the promo tells us, but the mix of their old melodies, fiddles, and field recordings of the Rusyn at work in the fields, mills, wherever, really put the songs in their natural context with candid and enchanting effect, allowing access to their world, from kitchens to cow sheds and marketplaces.