The Veryovka Ukrainian Folk Choir

Published: October 14, 2020

The Veryovka Ukrainian Folk Choir (Національний заслужений академічний український народний хор України імені Г. Г. Верьовки; the name in full means “The National Distinguished Academic Ukrainian Folk Choir of Ukraine Named for G. Veryovka”).

The choir was founded in 1943 by the USSR’s Council of People’s Commissars in Kharkiv to promote and spread Ukrainian folk music and dance traditions. Grigoriy Veryovka, a researcher at the USSR’s Institute of Folklore, was the first director of the choir and made many of the decisions about the ultimate direction of the group. The group’s first official concert, in September 1944 in Kyiv, brought about 300 listeners. The group was closely connected with both the war effort and with official Communist leadership.

The group has been influential not just culturally and musically but also educationally. In 1962, at Veryovka’s behest, an educational studio—an offshoot of the chorus itself—was founded. Veryovka died in 1965, after which the choir was given his name and Anatoliy Avdiyevskiy (Анатолій Авдієвський) took over leadership. One of his biggest contributions over his long tenure—he leads the group until 2016—was allowing in female vocalists. In 1971 the chorus was given the “academic” honorific, and the “national” was added in 1997. Avdiyevskiy has been awarded several prizes, including Hero of Ukraine and Artist of Ukraine. Since 2016, the group has been led by
Zinoviy Korinets.

The choir now boasts 150 members, and has performed its repertoire of more than 1,000 songs all over the world. They sing both classic folk songs—from all the regions of Ukraine—and modern renditions of folk music written by contemporary composers. They have also performed Stankovych’s (Станкович) folk opera Fern Blossom (Цвіт папороті). The chorus is composed of orchestral, choral, and dance groups, and is the largest chorus in Ukraine.

The group maintains its Ukrainian nationalist focus to this day. Its website declares, “Song is the soul of the Ukrainian people! Glory to Ukraine!” (Пісня—це душа українського народу! Слава Україні!)

Find the Veryovka Ukrainian Folk Choir on Amazon


“Prayer for Ukraine” (“Молитва за Україну”):


Lyrics for “Молитва за Україну”:

Моя молитва нехай лине
До Тебе наче фіміам.
І пісня лине безупинно
В чудовий Твій небесний храм.

Боже, я молюсь за Україну,
Боже, молю Тебе за людей,
Ти їм прости, Ти їх спаси
І милість Свою нам яви.
Боже, я заню, що Ти будеш з нами
В храмі Своєму під небесами,
Щастя і мир Ти дарував,
Життя за людей віддав,
В Книгу життя нас записав.

В Своєму Слові живому
Ти для життя спасіння дав,
Щоб люди всі молились Тому,
Хто на хресті за них вмирав.



“The Wide Dnieper Moans and Groans” (“Реве та стогне Дніпр широкий”):


Lyrics for “Реве та стогне Дніпр широкий”:

Реве та стогне
Дніпр широкий,
Сердитий вітер завива,
Додолу верби гне високі,
Горами хвилю підійма.

І блідий місяць на ту пору
Із хмари де-де виглядав,
Неначе човен в синім морі,
То виринав, то потопав.

Ще треті півні не співали,
Ніхто ніде не гомонів,
Сичі в гаю перекликались,
Та ясен раз у раз скрипів.

Реве та стогне
Дніпр широкий,
Сердитий вітер завива,
Додолу верби гне високі,
Горами хвилю підійма.
Додолу верби гне високі,
Горами хвилю підійма.
Додолу верби гне високі,
Горами хвилю підійма.
Додолу верби гне високі,
Горами хвилю підійма.


Find the Veryovka Ukrainian Folk Choir on Amazon


About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie Hersh is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

View all posts by: Julie Hersh