The origin of one of Ukraine’s most distinct minorities, the Hutsul people, is not clear; there are Hutsuls, or people related to the Hutsuls, sprinkled among the Carpathian mountains and in parts of Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. (Some say the Hutsuls used to be part of an ancient Slavic tribe, and that their name means “outlaw” in Romanian.) Hutsul cultural music combines booming drums, fifes, bagpipes and an ancient Hutsul trumpet-like instrument called the trembita, the longest instrument in the world.

The “Hutsulka” is a lively dance that embodies the vibrant spirit often ascribed to the Hutsul people. Dancers wear traditional red and white costumes and prance, bounce and spin exuberantly around the dance floor.

In 2004 Ruslana, a singer from the Hutsul ethno-cultural group, won the continent’s Eurovision Song Contest while representing Ukraine — a really big deal. Her song, “Wild Dances,” was inspired by the Hutsulka and other Hutsul dances, albeit with non-traditional costumes and exceedingly non-traditional moves.

More information: About the Hutsuls: “The Hutsuls can be compared to Australian aboriginies or American Indians, conquered – and almost decimated – by the civilization. The difference between the two is that Hutsuls adapted to civilization enough to survive it without giving up their ancient mentality, beliefs, customs, ways of doing things and habits….” | “Passionate and Freedom-Loving Hutsuls” | Listen to Hutsul music | Don’t worry, we won’t do this part in class | We will, however, try something like this | Trembita!!

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