Headlining the 2012 “NadiaYe!” Ukrainian festival, June 29 – July 1 the Ukrainian American Youth Association hosted Mandry for their U.S. premier, graciously welcoming the popular Ukrainian folk-rock band from Kyiv.
MANDRY performing for a private concert held Friday evening.
The weekend’s festivities kicked off with a welcome reception and private concert on Friday evening, as guests arrived to the Oselia in Ellenville, NY. Stepping into wanderers’ fete as a reflection of “mandrivnyky/travelers” identity of Mandry, guests were treated to an intimate concert with a set including Mandry’s popular hits “Svit” and “Doroha.” The crowd quickly warmed up and started dancing around the enchanted setting with merriment when the band started up their unique sounding "Kalyna" and “Vitre Tsihane". Andrij Stasiw, general Manager of Oselia CYM in Ellenville, along with Andriy Bihun, President of the Ukrainian American Youth Association’s National Executive Office, highlighted the efforts of the organization’s work and their gratitude for Mandry’s visit to the festival. Reminding guests of the decades of support Oselia CYM in Ellenville has offered the U.A.Y.A. to fulfill its mission with educational, cultural and sports summer programs, guests generously donated to the Oselia Capital Campaign showing their support of the mission which the U.A.Y.A. continues to achieve.
Guests enjoying the magical souk atmosphere as they await MANDRY to take the stage for Friday evening’s private concert
As the sun set over the Catskill Mountains Saturday evening, a crowd over 2,000 gathered on the Great Field, inching as close as possible to the stage, anxiously awaiting Mandry to kick off their grand concert. As Serhiy "Foma" Fomenko and the band took the stage, the crowd erupted as the band broke into a two hour set. The crowd cheered, sang and danced along to favorites such as "Lyubov","Orysia”, “Karpaty” among others. A special treat for the campers was when lead singer “Foma” invited camper Maksym Lozynskyj from New York to join him on stage prior to performing their “Kalyna”. Judging from the audience’s zealous reaction the duet did not disappoint.
Reflecting on the meaning of the "Nadiya Ye!" festival, and its relation with the Ukrainian American Youth Association's goal in nurturing and educating Ukrainian-American youth in the spirit and ideals invoked by its motto "God and Ukraine," Foma reminded the Ukrainian diaspora to continue their support and fight for a free and democratic Ukrainian nation before breaking into their beautiful, patriotic ballad "Ne Spy Moya Ridna Zemlya”. Enveloped by a beautiful starry summer night with Oselia’s Monuments to the Heroes as a backdrop, the song made a powerful statement on all concert participants. As Ukrainian flags waved in the crowd, the passionate audience reciprocated to Mandry that indeed “nadiya ye!” (there is hope!) Wrapping up the concert nearly at midnight, the band took the time to graciously meet with fans, sign autographs and take photographs.
Mandry members meeting with fans and signing autographs after Saturday’s grand concert.
Earlier in the week upon the band's arrival, 117 campers, taking part in the Vyshkilnyj Tabir (Counselor Training Camp) were treated to a special meet-and-great session with Mandry band members and staff. The campers, teenagers from across the United States and Canada, had th eopportunity to meet the Mandry performers and partake in a Q+A. During the session, Mandry’s lead singer “Foma” reiterated his commitment to Ukrainian rock music, stressing the foundation in Ukrainian language and culture, unlike many other pop artists and rock groups that have crossed into Russian to chase popularity. In admiration to their guests, the campers sang Mandry Ukrainian song sand camp favorites such as “Chervona Ruta” as well a rendition of Mandry’s song “Svit” under the direction of Andrij Stasiw. The campers also sang "Ne Spy Moya Ridna Zemlya," accompanied by guitar (Maksym Lozynskyj), trumpet (Andrea Wasylyk) and keyboard (Andrij Stasiw), which evoked an emotional response from Mandry, having “Foma” join in and sing with the campers. When the tribute was over, the band was overwhelmed by the Ukrainian spirit showcased by the campers, future leaders of the Ukrainian Youth Association, who continue to believe in the ideals of an independent and democratic Ukraine. “Foma” even complimented the campers that he would like to record another track of “Svit” with the chorus, and even reiterated his admiration for the campers and their talents on the main stage during Saturday evening’s grand concert.
Mandry’s lead singer Serhiy "Foma" Fomenko joined in to sing with campers as they sang several of songs which he himself wrote and composed.
The weekend festivities concluded on Sunday afternoon during the annual “Svyato Heroiv” (Heroes Tribute), recognizing the fallen heroes which had fought for centuries for Ukraine’s independence. Joined by several organizations, memorial wreaths were placed in front of the Monuments to the Heroes, honoring S. Petlura, E. Konovalets, R. Shukhevych and S. Bandera.
-Written by Ulana Blahy
Vyshkylnij tabir campers welcoming MANDRY
Mandry Band members answering questions from campers during a private Q+A with campers
President of the Ukrainian American Youth Association’s National Executive Office, Andriy Bihun welcoming guests to Friday evening’s reception and weekend festival, along with Mandry’s lead singer Serhiy "Foma" Fomenko
Mandry during Saturday’s grand concert performing to thousands of fans
The band had no problem playing off the energy of the crowd, as fans inched as close as possible to the stage, singing along and cheering on Mandry.
After a show lasting over 2 hours, fans continued to cheer for Mandry request yet another encore performance.
Serhiy Fomenko ("Foma", the leader of the group "Mandry") writes about his "Discovery of America" and the Vyshkilnyj camp in Ellenville on his blog at "Ukrainian Pravda."