The Story Strings Tell - The Bandura (2005-2006)
The Story Strings Tell exhibit featured the bandura, a 110 stringed Ukrainian instrument that traveled with immigrants across the ocean and become and integral musical part of the Ukrainian community in Canada. The 36 banduras on display were handcrafted by artisans in Canada, USA and Ukraine. The history of bandura players in compelling.
For centuries in Ukraine, bandurists had enjoyed status and even privilege as musicians to the elite. The bandura and its predecessor, the kobza were favoured by the kozaks, a military order which guarded the southeastern frontier against nomadic incursions. Later, the bandurist players fell on hard times as more modern instruments became popular. Some players then began to travel from village to village singing about the glorious past, historical events and songs of love and longing, for a small remittance.
Playing the bandura is as accomplishment encouraged by many Ukrainian communities.