The Telnyuk Sisters
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The Telnyuk Sisters

Киев, Kyiv City, Ukraine | Established. Jan 01, 1986

Киев, Kyiv City, Ukraine
Established on Jan, 1986
Band Alternative Adult Contemporary

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Telnyuk Sisters are touring Canada with Toronto artist Ihor Polishchuk whose canvases are a backdrop to their vocal performances
Audiences may not always understand the words, but they’re sure to be moved by the Telnyuk Sisters, whose evocative music and performances break down language barriers.
“It’s very powerful and passionate,” said Tracy Jenkins, co-artistic director at Toronto’s Lula Lounge where the duo from Kyiv, Ukraine perform Tuesday as part of LULAWORLD 2013. “We were struck by the beauty of the music and its power. Audiences will feel it too.”
Jenkins and colleague Jose Ortega were captivated by the duo even before hearing them live and booked them based on latest album The Glass Road, which the vocal duo is currently touring Canada in support of.
Canadian artist Ihor Polischuk’s enthusiasm for the project was also a factor, said Jenkins, adding his commitment and faith in the music and performers “made us take it very seriously.”
The sisters have long been muses for the talented Toronto-based artist. His canvases are painted with complex themes and are a visual backdrop to the lyrics of contemporary Ukrainian poets such as Oksana Zabuzhko as well as Halya which in turn inspire Lesya’s musical compositions. It’s a synergy audiences can feel during the multimedia performance.
The Telnyuk Sisters have recorded with such world renowned musicians as former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and often collaborate with professional theatre and dance troupes, poets and writers in the U.S., Europe and Ukraine. Acclaimed contemporary Ukrainian pianist Valentyn Silvestrov dedicated a work to the sisters as a tribute to their art.
When asked about the genre, Halya described the music as “transfusion,” bringing together the architectural language of poetry with equally architectural harmonious compositions. Others have described their work as “intellectual provocation,” aimed at forging new roads for music lovers.
As for the themes, among them faith, passion and optimism, they’re as universal as music for Lesya. Love has a major role because it conquers all she said. - The Toronto Star


Two Voices, One Road The Telnyuk Sisters are not one of the most popular musical groups in Ukraine. They are, however, one of the most sophisticated. Mixing rock with ethno and jazz with romance, the rich musical background is provided by Lesya, one of the sisters. The other sister, Halyna, is responsible for the many varied and poetic transitions from one verse to another. Between the two, they make up one of the most intimate, philosophical and meditative acts you will ever see in this country.
The Telnyuk Sisters have been producing music together for decades, coming out with their first collection of musical interpretation back in 1991. With a new project on the go, called Glass Road, we got Halya in to give us a personal tete-a-tete about what we can expect to see, hear and experience this spring.
The Long Road Glass Road is a project uniting the poetry of well-known Ukrainian writer and poetess Oksana Zabuzhko and the music and vocals of the Telnyuk Sisters. Considering the way people are drawn to modern writers and alternative/rock music these days, the project was a bit of risk, quite frankly. It was for this reason the Telnyuks first presented the project in a number of different Ukrainian cities and towns in autumn of last year. “We felt we had created something really powerful and completely new for the Ukrainian music sphere, but we also knew we would have a tough time trying to entice audiences with profound poetry and weighty music,” reveals Halya, just getting started. “We needed to first test out the programme and see if audiences were truly ready for such a journey. It’s not easy working through philosophical verse – it’s something that requires reflection. In addition, we needed to know that everything we sing and give to the audience was able to permeate, so that those in the auditorium give back in return.”
The setting of this new project is minimalist, but beautiful: amid a backdrop of black, three spotlights shine down on the participants. All poetry is recited and/or sung with the accompaniment of three cellos, an instrument thought to be most similar in sound to the human voice, and chosen to reinforce the emotional effect. The result is a creative programme so diverse and unadorned you can’t help but feel as though a bold naked truth is being revealed. “These are songs of love – it’s the only feeling that enables people to live. We can only live when filled with the happiness to love and be loved, and this power is present in Oksana’s poetry and in our music.”
The Winding Road Returning to the beginnings of this sagaciously successful trio, Oksana Zabuzhko was herself very impressed when she first heard how the Telnyuk Sisters had interpreted her poetry. Halyna says Zabuzhko had always been one of their favourite Ukrainian writers, while Oksana had long been acquainted with eminent Ukrainian poet, literary scientist and father of the two girls, Stanislav Telnyuk. It was he who passed on a love for rhythmic literary work. While the “street”, divulges Halya, influenced their musical taste.
“Underground artists are responsible for our preferences where music is concerned. We grew up listening to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and of course a bit of classical music as well.” Today, both ladies enjoy international rock music, such as Radiohead and Portishead, while here at home they often listen to the works of contemporary classical music composer, Valentyn Sylvestrov. Sylvestrov, by the way, is a long-standing fan of the Telnyuk’s music, and since 2006 has never missed a concert of theirs in Kyiv.
Standing apart and at times in opposition to the pop culture and showbiz here in Ukraine, they know that their art is not for mass consumption. But that doesn’t seem to be too much of a stumbling block for either Lesya or Halya. In fact, they seem quite at peace with the way things are, offering, “Before one can speak about Ukrainian society and its problems, one first has to love the people of this country. It’s the only way you can find harmony within yourself and the world around.”
Bringing their love for music and poetry, the Telnyuk Sisters will share this and so much more during their presentation of The Glass Road next week. Their only request is that you remain open to the message. - What’s On


Singing has always been close to Ukrainians’ hearts, and today, many foreigners continue to associate Ukraine with the vocal arts. However, what could be referred to as “authentic” Ukrainian singing remains somewhat of an enigma, and is usually not given proper media attention. In this report, Iryna Plekhova brings the subject into focus by acquainting Welcome to Ukraine’s readers with what may arguably be among the most remarkable modern Ukrainian singing duets, known as TELNYUK: Sestry, or The Sisters Telnyuk.
The duet, Lesya and Halya Telnyuk, are very close in age, though not close enough to be twins. They owe both their physical existence and musical talent to their family – their mother, Nella Kopylova, a philologist, editor and translator of Asian languages, and father, Stanislav Telnyuk, a writer and literary critic.
In 1977, when the sisters were 13, they tried their hand at penning and singing rock ballads, and elegiac and lyrical songs. They watched their father on the battle lines against the totalitarian system defending his freedom of expression in writing, and that of his family too. Those were troubled times for Ukraine.
On the one hand, a cultural Ukrainian renaissance was taking shape in Ukraine with such poets, writers and artists as Vasyl Stus, Mykola Vinhranovsky, Vasyl Symonenko, Lina Kostenko, Ivan Drach, Yevhen Hutsalo and Alla Horska at the fore of this revival entering their creative prime.
On the other hand, it was a time of personal tragedies for these gifted individuals, who were harassed and repressed by the Soviet authorities, often being arrested and thrown into gulag concentration camps.
As a result, many were forced to write “u shukhlyadu” (“into their desks”), that is, with no hope of publishing their writings. Another outlet for their works was samvydav (self-publishing, a phenomenon that arose in the late 1950s in the Soviet Union and lasted until the late 80s). Samvydav writing was produced and circulated unofficially, circumventing censorship. Typically, samvydav literature was typewritten and circulated by hand, initially to a group of trusted friends to be further distributed clandestinely. Samvydav materials included fiction, poetry, memoirs, historical works, political treatises, petitions, religious tracts and journals.
In contrast to many of his fellow literati, Stanislav Telnyuk was fortunate enough to escape arrest, but his freedom of expression was greatly curtailed. For Telnyuk, the repressive 70s were filled with events that affected his personal and creative life.
In 1972, he testified in court as a witness for the defense in a case against Vasyl Stus. In 1974, he published a literary study, ‘Pavlo Tychyna,’ and later, collections of his own poetic works were released – ‘Opivnichne’ (‘Midnight Hour’), ‘Lehenda pro tryokh sester’ (‘Legend of Three Sisters’) and ‘Robota’ (‘Work’). When the poet, who was on the KGB’s blacklist, felt things were getting too tough for him, he volunteered to work on the construction of the Baykal-Amur railroad in Siberia, hoping this self-exile would take the heat off him and help preserve some of his freedom.
Telnyuk was among the first literary critics who dared to “rehabilitate” the poet Pavlo Tychyna, who, in the eyes of the Ukrainian intelligentsia, had acquired the status of a faithful servant of the Soviet regime. Telnyuk revealed Tychyna as a greatly talented lyrical poet and symbolist, whose talent had been grossly misused by Soviet propaganda.
Telnyuk, no doubt, also revealed the Ukrainian poetic word to his daughters, Lesya and Halya. Telnyuk’s own search for poetic expression and the achievements of poets such as Tychyna contributed to shaping the talents of Halyna Telnyuk, the poet, and Lesya Telnyuk, the composer... - Welcome to Ukraine


Discography

Moment /1991/ Kobza

Halya & Lesya /1994/ Komora

Silence and Thunder /1998/ Oberig

Live in Canada /2000/ Oberih

U.B.N.: Song from the play /2001/ 

Wind of Centuries /2002/ Komora

Firebirds /2002/ Atlantic

Favorites - CD1, CD2 /2005/ Atlantic

Yellow Dandelion /2007/ Comp Music Ltd.

Telnyuk: Live /2009/ Comp Music Ltd.

Forever. Bohdan-Ihor Antonych /2009/ V.Melnychuk

Sonmo /2010/ Komora

My Heart's In The Highlands /2010/ Internet Release

Incrustations: Song from the play /2011/ Internet Release

Road of Glass /2012/ Komora

Photos

Bio

The Telnyuk Sisters is one of the most creative groups of Ukraine that actively does the promotion of contemporary Ukrainian music and poetry. The Telnyuk Sisters was founded by composer Lesya Telnyuk and poetess, singer Halyna Telnyuk in 1986.

In 1997 together with guitarist Mick Taylor (ex Rolling Stones) TS recorded song Love in vain. Interesting that this blues sounds in Ukrainian language with colorful sound of bandura.

1999 - Ukrainian Art Award Vasyl Stus Prize for the preservation and promotion of Ukrainian culture.

All programmes are representing European modern poetic world, because their songs open lyrics by Paul Celan, Emily Dickinson, Rose Auslander, Pavlo Tychyna, Bohdan-Ihor Antonych, Stanislav Telnyuk, Lina Kostenko, Vasyl Stus, Eugene Malaniuk, Oksana Zabuzhko. TS performs songs on lyrics by Rilke and Robert Burns in the original.

The Telnyuk Sisters is open to the synthetic formats: audiovisual experiments, performances. In Canada (2005) Lesya and Halya Telnyuk were created the first interdisciplinary performance The Sky Above Us (multimedia performance with paintings by Canadian artist Igor Polishuk). 

In 2008 the Telnyuk Sisters were presented with poet Dmytro Stus and actor Roman Semysal the happening Stusove Kolo, which reflects not just Vasyl Stus as poet and literary critic, but also his personal tragedy, his criticism of the regime, his arrest and spent time in a Soviet prison camp the Gulag. 

In 2009, Halya and Lesya Telnyuk were awarded the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine.

The creative works of Halya and Lesya consists of nine albums.

In addition, they created theatre projects U.B.N. Ukrainian Bourgeois Nationalist, Warsaw melody, Blue Rose (Mariya Zankovetska National Academic Ukrainian Drama Theatre in Lviv), Inlay, Emily Dickinson (Kyiv Academic Youth Theatre). Geography of concerts includes U.S.A., Canada, Ireland, and United Kingdom.

In contemporary Ukrainian music Halyna and Lesya Telnyuk have unique status. Critics have qualified the artists' work as a breath of fresh air, a tonic against despair, and a mystery play of word and music, appropriately terming them the last bastion of true poetry and music in the domain of the contemporary Ukrainian song. The Telnyuk Sisters' concerts represent unique literary-musical compositions, a synthesis of poetry and song. 

The sisters are called dissidents of show-business and banished princesses. They insist on poetry for their lyrics and (unlike the predominant practice) prefer live performances, maintaining high aesthetic and professional standards and principles. The audience has responded warmly to the musical stance declared by the Telnyuk Sisters. Their concerts in Ukraine always draw capacity crowds.

Participants:

Lesya Telnyuk (music, vocal)
Halya Telnyuk (poetry, 
vocal)
Sviatoslav Borovyk (cello)
Igor Patsovskyi
 (cello) 
Maksym Rymar (cello) 
Kostiatyn Kostenko (sound-producer)

Band Members