HAMILTON PERFORMING ARTS SERIES FEATURES RUSSIANFOLKLORISTS
The Pokrovsky Ensemble began as collectors of folk songs, travellingthroughout Russian villages and rural farming areas. Since 1973, its membershave built a living library of over 2,000 songs. Their collection includesmedieval Russian village music, religious music of the country's old and newfaiths and modern works of Soviet composers.
In a 1995 interview with The Boston Globe, founder Dmitri Pokrovskysaid that from the beginning the ensemble achieved a loyal following among bothRussia's intelligentsia and general public. But there was deep trouble withthe authorities, whose communist dogma placed a very different emphasis on theproper role of folkways in art. In 1980 the Ministry of Culture banned thetroupe from performing in Moscow, and its recordings for state radio wereerased. It was six years before conditions began to improve. In the meantime,the group supported itself by performing outside of Moscow. "Making MusicTogether," a 1988 international festival held in Boston, provided their firsttrip to the United States. Pokrovsky remembered it as "the beginning of a newlife for our group."
The 11-member troupe has now toured the United States, Europe and Japan.Wearing traditional Russian village costumes and performing on ancientinstruments, its concerts feature lively recreations of village dances andpagan rituals, some of them more than 2,000 years old. It has been featured onthe Today Show, Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt and more thantwo dozen motion pictures.
Earlier this year, Pokrovsky passed away from heart complications. The grouphas dedicated its remaining 1996 tour performances to the man whose spirit isthoroughly interwoven in the melodies and dances that he helped to revive.
The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble performance is the second performance of theHamilton Performing Arts Series. Additional performances in the series includeSol y Canto, Friday, Feb. 14; Huun-Huur-Tu Music of Tuva, Thursday, Feb. 27;and National Theatre of the Deaf's presentation of Curiouser andCuriouser, Sunday, March 9. Tickets for the series, including the DmitriPokrovsky Ensemble performance, are $40 for the general public and $10 forstudents.