On March 20th, the Patriarch Mstyslav Ukrainian Heritage Museum and the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center of NJ presented a concert entitled "Saints and Sinners", performed by the Collegium Musicum of the New York Bandura Ensemble under the musical direction of Julian Kytasty. The performers (Julian Kytasty - voice, bandura, kobzar bandura, recorder; Natalia Honcharenko - voice; Michael Andrec - voice, bandura; Roman Turovsky - baroque lute) presented a program consisting of religious and devotional songs of the Ukrainian Baroque, and the echoes of that repertoire in the oral tradition of the kobzari (the itinerant bards of Ukraine).
Prominently featured were the devotional songs of St. Dimitry of Rostov (1651-1709), born Daniel Tuptalo to a Ukrainian kozak family. Although he is best known for his monumental "Lives of the Saints", he was also active as a composer and playwright. Many of his penitential psalms and devotional songs achieved wide circulation, not only in Ukraine, but as far away as the Balkans. Much of the remainder of the program consisted of songs recorded at the turn of the 20th century by folklorist, choral conductor and composer Porfiriy Demutskyj (1860-1927). He was educated at the Kyiv Theological Seminary, where he began to collect folk songs. He became particularly interested in the religious songs of the kobzari and lirnyky (players of the "lira" or Ukrainian hurdy-gurdy). In 1907, his collection "Ліра і її мотиви" ("The Lira and Its Melodies") presented this repertoire for the first time in published form without attempting to force them into the mold of Western Classical music.