Dominika Kontra Novotna – Rusinske Trio

dominika
Source: Courtesy of Rusinske Trio

Slovak National Television came up with a great idea this year: a competition of folk singers called The Land Sings. Now Slovakia is a tiny country, but so rich and varied in its folklore – every village has its own folk traditions, customs, songs, dances, and clothes. We are proud of it all and we do preserve it in a very active way, making sure the knowledge is not only recorded for posterity, but also passed on to the younger generations in folk dance groups and other cultural bodies.

I am proud that one of the finalists (who were voted second by the viewers) was Rusinske Trio founded by my friend Dominika “Kontra” Novotna (neé Pročková, on the right), who comes from the same village I do, Ulicske Krive, and who has been researching and promoting the original, unstylized Rusyn dances and songs for many years. She even brought folklore back to our village by creating a folk ensemble Polonina.

I am sharing with you two videos from that show in which the girls combine the beauty of their voices with the beauty of their costumes to create a touching and unpretentious visual representation of Rusyn folklore. The strength, decisiveness and confidence of Rusyn women shine through – I mean they make the musicians follow their lead! 🙂

In this second video the girls are wearing Hutzul dresses because, as Dominika explained, Hutzuls are only up and down the hill from Ulicske Krive, and I love that inclusiveness about her. I hope the CD they will be soon working on will be a hit speaking to a conscious audience.