[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

Songs of the UPA. Ed. Zenovy Lawryshyn. Toronto-Lviv, Litopys UPA, 1996. 554 pp., ISBN 0-920092-23-3, hard cover, illustrations, over 600 songs with music.


This volume is a collection of songs which were composed during the period of operation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the Ukrainian underground, or during the period between the two world wars. In its broad sense, the term insurgent songs refers not only to the songs of the insurgent movement, but also to insurgent and popular compositions of the insurgent period and later

Organization of Materials

The materials in this collection are generally organized in terms of the genres and themes into which they fall. The Appendix presents excerpts of songs, as well as texts of songs which we received only after completion of the collection.

The materials are divided into 15 chapters: hymns and marches; historical songs; destiny of the people; insurgent philosophy; insurgent's destiny;, girl's destiny; mother's destiny; family's destiny; prisons and camps; love songs; military life; diversions; humorous songs; carols; post-insurgent songs; post-insurgent songs with known authors; and appendices, which group together songs in specific categories. The volume also has Notes, a Bibliography, and an Index.

Two types of annotation are used in the volume - general notes and textual notes. The general notes, which are presented together at the end of the book, provide abbreviated lists of sources of a given song, beginning with the main source. To help the reader, we give the songs in alphabetical order and where possible, state the time and place of notation, the person from whom it was obtained and information about the persons or events which are the subjects of the song, as well as the song's number and page in the book. The arrangement of verses provided in the general notes after the name of the source (as also in the textual notes) shows the state of the texts in the sources. If no changes are given, this means that the texts in the sources and in the collection are the same

The sources, especially when there exist several versions, are grouped according to number (1), (2), etc., with the main source being given first. Sometimes there are conflicts (if the text of the song is given under one number and the music under another). In these cases, the notes in the variants should also be consulted.

The textual notes (provided after each song) mainly present different versions of the texts of songs. The number of the note is given at the end of the text, the final content of which can be compared with the annotated text. (Generally, the number of syllables in both cases is the same). Individual notes may refer to larger or smaller portions of text, but these portions always end with an annotational number. In cases where the annotated text continues past the note number, the text representing an alternative version of the words after the note number is put into brackets. If in a listing of sources one is placed in brackets, the deviation from the provided annotated text is also given in brackets. In some individual cases, the note number appears at the beginning of a verse, or after its number. This means that this note refers to the whole verse.

The Bibliography gives the main sources of the songs in the collection, while the Index lists the names, pseudonyms, geographical names and selected key phrases from the texts of the songs.

Included in this collection are many songs from the interwar period, which clearly paved the way for the insurgent movement (Vzhe chas, vzhe chas - narode vstan'! Dyktuy vorohom tut Vkrayinu). Often these are variants of riflemen's songs (Lunaye klych, My po taborakh i tiurmakh, Lety moya dumko, Poviyav viter stepovyi), songs from the period of the Liberation Struggle (UHA song Oy zarosly vsi dorohy), the Transcarpathian uprising, or compositions related to OUN activities. To ease the reader's task, songs of earlier or later origin are grouped in other chapters, for example, Pre-insurgent Songs, Insurgent Reworkings of Existing Songs and Post-insurgent Songs. Some songs with an insurgent theme appeared in print long before the actual formation of the UPA, for example, Yak Lopatyn'skyi z-za kordonu, My zrodylys' iz krovy narodu, My ukrayin'ski partyzany, and Zrodylys' my velykoyi hodyny, which are included in the song book Homin voli (1941).

We did not always succeed in clearly differentiating among these categories of songs because it was not always possible to clearly identify the period of a song's origin. Just like the songs of the Sich Riflemen, which inspired a parallel popular production of songs, which came to be regarded as songs of the riflemen genre, many popular songs were also produced about the UPA (for example, Ty zanemihsia miy mylyi). Also, not all the songs are directly related to the insurgent genre (Diad'ko Hnat), although they were sung in the UPA. But because many of them had never appeared in print, we decided to include them in the collection purely for reasons of ethnographic preservation.

In the collection, we have tried to bring together textual and musical variants of songs, although we did not always succeed. For example, Na horodi roste zillia could be sung to the melody of the song Yak poviyav buynyi viter, Rosty, rosty cheremshyno (2), or even Sontse skhodyt' i zakhodyt'. However, because no documentation for this exists, we did not indicate this in the text. Pisnia kholmskykh povstantsiv, for example, can be found under different genres, titles and melodies (Do boyu pravoho, and Po Kholmshchyni nashiy). In some cases, such as that of the song Buvalo vypiu shklianku pyva, similarities of text link it to Shumily sosny i dibrovy, while musical similarities link it to Ne plach matusiu (2). Often, similar features or even entire verses are found in different contexts with differing themes (Na horodi roste zillia - verse 3, Rosty, rosty cheremshyno - verse 4, and Bud zdorova moya myla - verse 7). For this reason, the exactness of categorization of the songs remains a matter of debate.

Also problematical has been the attempt to determine which melodies are original, which ones are used with which texts and which are borrowed from popular songs, or even foreign songs (Po boyu bulo, kryk zatykh). This is difficult because such borrowings are very frequent. Insurgent songs were largely created on the basis of existing melodies, which served for arrangement of several different songs at the same time (the melody of the song Oy tam daleko na Volyni was also used as the basis for the songs Oy, khto ide na Birchu, Khodit' siudy do mene khloptsi, Khay zemliu vyorayut' harmaty (3) and others). The song Zrodylys' my velykoyi hodyny has its own melody (1), but was also sung to other well-known melodies (2,3).

Furthermore, the known authors of insurgent songs were in most cases the authors of the texts only. Melodies were frequently adopted for purely propagandistic purposes. For example, Iryna Kamin'ska mentions that in relation to the arrival of the Red Army, the words of insurgent songs were very often put to the melodies of Red Army songs (Khay zemliu vyoraiut' harmaty based on the Georgian melody Suliko, or Vzhe nastalaliuba dnyna and Pamiataju toj berezen' based on the melody of he song about Sten'ka Razin).

Whenever possible, we have tried to identify reworkings of popular and riflemen's songs, as well as borrowings of Ukrainian and foreign melodies (especially Russian popular romances). Different melodic variants which are grouped together are marked by numbers in brackets, which are shown at the beginning of the musical notation. Numbers in brackets after the title of the song denote the existence of exact or close repetitions of a given song. Variants of songs or melodies which could not be grouped together are explained in the Notes. Smaller numbers marking musical variants refer to a specific variant of a song, with the musical variant often also being provided in smaller musical notation.

Internal variants of songs, that is, small and insignificant differences among different sources, are given immediately after each song and marked by numbers referring to the appropriately marked places in the music. The variant fully replaces the music provided under the broken line after the given number. The repetition of numbers above the music means that the variant marked by the given number replaces the music in all the marked places. When there are several variants marked by a given number, each of them replaces the correspondingly marked music. In some cases, often in order to save space, we had to provide some additional variants in smaller musical notation. For this reason, smaller musical notations can mean: ornamentation (normal appoggiatura and other notation) and second voices; polyphony not provided in the source (when there is no harmonic collision); internal variants; deviation of a given variant of the song (when the musical variant is marked with a small number).


The most obvious characteristic of the insurgent genre is the theme of rising up against occupying powers, enslavement and tyranny. Insurgent songs express an open call to battle and to revenge against the enemies of Ukraine, as well as love for the motherland and devotion to her revolutionary leaders (Bandera, Chuprynka, and others). UPA actions, heroic deeds of individual soldiers, the hard underground life, longing for one's girl, family or boy are also important subjects of this genre. The theme of banishment, prisons and concentration camps is also important and constitutes a specific, parallel category of camp songs, which differ from the strict insurgent genre

Key Words and Images

The terms kozak, rifleman, Sich fighter, insurgent and partisan are used very widely in insurgent songs and often alternate each other in different variants of the same songs. Very often, in order to preserve anti-regime songs, words and terms considered dangerous were substituted with more neutral ones. For this reason, it is often not easy to differentiate insurgent songs from riflemen songs.

A characteristic image in insurgent songs is that of the forest. Among poetic images, the most striking is the image of grass. This image is also common in pre-insurgent songs (Poviyav viter stepovyi, Tuchi ta zavoyi v stepu dalekim). In insurgent songs, the image of grass is used in a purely descriptive way (Kudy viter khmary nosyt',V stepu pid Khersonom) but also as an image of fallen sodiers (Mov olen' toy (1), Oy chuty, chuty harmatni strily). In other places, we encounter the image of grass coloured with blood (Rushyv kin' miy v daleku dorohu, Oy chuty, chuty harmatni strily, Tay nashcho mene maty porodyla, V biy za slavu). In some songs, the image of the grass foretells coming death (Rozprashchavsia strilets zi svoyeiu ridneyu, V seli na Vybranivtsi, Na zeleniy travi (1). At times, the grass symbolizes forgetting - of traces, paths or graves, which grow over with grass (Oy pokynuv ya virnu divchynu, V biy za slavu, I nashcho mene maty porodyla (1,2). Also apparent in the songs is the link between grass and the grave (Podyvysia divchyno na mene, Ya siohodni vid vas vidyizhdzhayu, U lisi temnomu (2), Budu nam z toboyu scho zhadaty, and others. The image of grass also implies rebirth, but only from the point of view of paying respect to the fallen (Vzhe vesna voskresla, travy zeleniyut').

Sources and State of Notation

In Ukraine, until recently, there was strict prohibition and censorship of insurgent songs and even active destruction of their source base, which very often led to the loss of a song's original form. In the diaspora, under the influence of the editorial pen or because of low-quality popular recordings, not only were the original forms of songs frequently lost, but new forms of textual or musical details were created. In some cases, the language was corrected, in other cases, the music, and in each case, the song suffered harm.

There was relatively few direct sources of insurgent songs. Apart from Sanyk's songs (1947), the Novi koliady collection and songs published in the underground publication Yunatskyi shliakh (1946), the sources are the typescripts of texts only in Golash's songbook (1947), Zbir pisen' UPA from the Litopys UPA Archive and songs taken from the Journal of Company Commander Krylach (1944-1947). Adding to this are some notations made in Germany from UPA soldiers in the manuscript of Adam Voitykhivskyi (1948) and Boian's author's typescripts from the 1930-s and 1940-s. There are also the collections Homin voli (1941) and Za Ukrayinu (1943), but they were not yet accessible when this collection was being prepared.

The publication Spivanyk UPA (1950) is largely based on Stepan Golash's songbook, but with linguistic corrections and musical arrangements for a men's choir. Stepan Golash directed the Litopys UPA song archive, with the help of V. Yurkevych and M. Dziman. The archive has the files of Yurkevych, Kashuba, Hrytsai, Hrytsenko, Hnatyshyn, Dobosh and miscellaneous. When we cite this archive we mention its individual files and provide Golash's numeration.

The main source is the collection of insurgent songs secretly recorded by Roman Shankivskyi (Ivan Nevmyrushchyi) in 1940-1990. He presented over 150 songs, a portion of them with music. Later we also used present-day collections from Ukraine by M. M. Kryshchuk, V. Oliynyk and Vasyl Podufalyi. An important contribution to this literature are also new editions from Ukraine, for example, Pisni ukrayinskykh natsionalistiv, two collections by Z. Bervetskyi, V. Podufalyi, A. S. Pastushenko and Ye. Shmorhun. Clippings from the press, letters, recordings on tape, notes, books, records and information from individuals complete these sources. The bibliography provides information about all the collections used in this volume.

Basing ourselves on this varied material, we decided to put in the main text the best variant of a song (see My ukrayinski partyzany and variants) and include all others in the notes or, for the melody, in the lists of musical variants. But we believe that this collection will facilitate the work of late researchers of insurgent songs.

In some cases, we have done textual reconstructions (for example, the beginning of Zrodylys' my ne z krovy ale v diysnist), which we have clearly indicated in the notes. Also, with respect to the music, we sometimes had to take excerpts of melodies from existing arrangements for choirs. In such cases, or when there was a lack of authentic polyphony, two or three voices have been added, even if this changed the harmonic functions or other elements given in the source, if they seemed unauthentic of the given song (for example, My lytsari bez zhakhu i bez smerty). This was done not as an arrangement of the song, but rather to sketch its harmonic background.

In some cases, missing voices have been added (often on the tapes, only the second voice was sung). In such cases, the first voice is shown in small notes, to emphasize that it is an addition and was missing in the source, but is needed for the song (V chornim lisi). In other songs (Tam za lisom sonechko zakhodyt') (1) and Yak zemliu vyorayut' granaty (4), this was done freely, without smaller notes. Here we give the probably musical reconstructions, assuming that two parts could alternate in antiphonal style with similar contrasts in the manner of execution and that an unadorned repetition, as noted in the sources, is not interesting and not characteristic to these songs.


The problem of rhythm involves two difficult aspects: 1) the question of dotted rhythms and 2) metrical-rhythmical asymmetries. We see both problems in variants of the song Idy vid mene ty, moya kokhana. Dotted rhythms in variant (3) are not performed in an exact manner, but rather in an unmeasured, asymmetrical proportion of the longer to the shorter note, somewhat related to the 6/8 meter, with the unstressed eighths being also performed in a shortened way. This is very natural in view of the influence of spoken rhythm and requires only some disregard for the principles of exact rhythm; however, a more accurate notation would have been irrational and for that reason, here and in other places, we use dotted notation for this purpose. However in variant (2), although the meter and rhythm are similar to that of variant (3), the notation is made in even eighths. From this we see that various rhythmical asymmetries were practiced in insurgent songs, even when the notations are fully symmetrical. When we compare variant (1), we see that the first notes of all the phrases and the last notes of phrases 1 and 3 are all elongated with a certain asymmetrical effect on the meter. Whether this asymmetry is original to the song is a debatable question. This asymmetry is useful for slower singing, while the form used in variant (2) is more useful for performance of the song in the faster, popular-dance manner. However, we meet such asymmetrical lengthenings and sometimes shortenings (see Tam pid horoyu) quite often in phrase cadences. Sometimes this may be a completely random change and can be noted in the form of a fermata, which adds one beat (even in a march) and which can be, but does not have to be, adhered to (see Poday divchyno ruchku na proshchannia, Chy to buria chy hrim (1). In other places, there is a tendency to shorten overly long notes (Yak povstanets v pokhid vybyravsia, Rushyv in' miy v daleku dorohu (1,2) or lengthen overly short notes, in order to take a breath between phrases (see Bud' zdorova moya myla, Diad'ko Hnat) or to vocally highlight important notes in the phrase (see Tykhyi lis, (1)). Clearly, there are always also aesthetic reasons for these asymmetries.

To some extent, these deviations are also related to the singer. Women, for example, perform songs more lyrically with various asymmetries, whereas men sin more severely, very rhythmically, with a tendency toward standardized symmetry. Similar observations can be made about specific women's and men's repertoires. An example of chance transgression of the meter-rhythm is the song Zamelo tebe snihom, Vkrayino. The change to 3/4 time, coming on the seventh beat in relation to the variant which is shown in small notes, appears to be whimsical, an invention of the singer. But it too may have an important purpose, because it looks forward to the last cadence in the song period.

Problem of the First Beat

In insurgent songs, there are examples of different types of unstressed beginnings of phrases. The marches have a strong tendency to maintain and emphasize the strong first beat, and there are often one-syllable, two-syllable and three-syllable forebeats. However, even here we see the tendency to begin the beat with an unstressed syllable. In the song Svityt' misiats ponad temnym lisom, the four-beat phrase always has the stress falling on the third beat, although in the fourth line it moves to the first beat. Although the notation is in 2/4 time, and avoids the problem of a forebeat, nevertheless the feeling of the unstressed first beat in a 4-beat period through the first three lines of each verse is essential to prepare for the solution in the 4th line (sotnia povstantsiv hordo vystypala).

In the song Do boy pravoho we see both metrical traditions. The first melody, which is of later origin (Yurkevych) follows the old tradition, very widespread in Ukrainian popular songs, which reflects the meter of the syllabic poem. Here, the beat begins with an unstressed syllable. In the second melody, in the song Po Kholmshchyni nashiy and the motif V stepu pid Khersonom, we have a real forebeat which shows the importance here of more accurate stress. Do pravaho boyu should be sung to this melody. In the songs Za hory sontse zakhodylo and Shumily sosny i dibrovy the question of forebeat is quite unclear in the first half of the song and is resolved only in the second half.

If the meter reflecting the syllabic poem tradition is called syllabic and other tonic, then we can say that syllabic meter shows a certain presence even in the general context of a dominant tonic meter. We see this in the song Iz moskovskoho bolota. If looked at in an abstract way, the melody clearly shows strong tonic stresses on all first beats. However, the text of the song requires stresses syncopated to the third beat (in accordance with the ancient peon ||| foot: |^^-^|), showing not so much tonic stresses, but rather the meter of the old text of the song Rozpriahayte khloptsi koni or, rather, its songlike rhythmical characteristics.

In insurgent songs, syllabic and true tonic meters alternate almost everywhere, although with some dominance of the tonic. There also exist borderline cases, which cause some doubt as to their metrical notation. We suggest comparing Seho roku sumni sviata with the variant Svityt' misiats nad zoriamy, as well as Vzhe nastala liuba dnyna or rather, its first form, Iz-za ostrova na strezhen'. The last song could be rewritten very easily beginning with a quarter note or two-syllable forebeat.


In the sources, the carols are usually given without music, although often with indicated arias. We cannot be certain that we have succeeded in finding all the variants of every carol, especially in the case of Dyvnaya novyna. The music to the second variant of Shchedryk as provided on Hrytsai's tape has some particular qualities, which gives rise to questions about the relationship of the first variant to Leontovych's Shchedryk, which we give, but which is not indicated in the source.

* * *

I want to thank everyone who helped in the preparation of this volume. In particular, I thank the members of the Litopys UPA Commission, Mr. Stepan Golash and Ms. Iryna Kamin'ska, and also Mr. Yevhen Shtendera for their help with the selection of materials and identification and descriptions of songs. For linguistic editing I thank Mr. Ihor Hrynda. I am grateful Mykola Kulyk for his ongoing support and administrative assistance in the publication of this book. Special thanks to Professor Petro J. Potichnyj for his editorial supervision, help with the introductory article and determination to speed up the publication of this book.

Zenon Lavryshyn

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