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Zhadan. Bread Ceasefire
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Ihor Bilozir

Mr. Ihor Bilozir was born in Radekhiv, on March 24, 1955. He was raised in a kind, nationally conscious, religious and musical environment. It was clear to his father, a church choir director, that he had a talent for music at an early age. Thus, Ihor initially began his musical career on an accordion and later switched to guitar. After the eighth grade, he decided to study music and entered the School of Music Education. Upon graduation, he became a teacher and worked with the Korchynia village children, organizing choirs and performing ensembles. Later he moved to Lviv and graduated from the Lviv Conservatory, where he majored in conducting. Most of all, his goal was to achieve fine melodies supported by strong harmonies (developed from his choral background). His opus of works includes many songs as well as instrumental music for theater and film. Modern Ukrainian song was the basis for his future work as composer, singer and director of the popular ensemble Vatra.

In his youth Mr. Bilozir was a classmate of Volodymyr Ivasiuk, who became a revered pop composer and was found murdered in a forest outside Lviv in 1979. The two shared a love of music - often jotting down musical ideas during particularly mundane school lectures. At a time when artists and composers were urged to write material to glorify Soviet ideals, Mr. Bilozir refused and his rise to popularity, with his ensemble Vatra, was hindered. Nonetheless, as a result of the publics love of their material, the group flourished against all odds. Yet, there were concerts where performance of Mr. Bilozirs songs was limited to only two or three selections out of an entire Soviet-content concert. From a musical perspective, Mr. Bilozir was a unique composer. His material was always positive and optimistic, even in the 1980s, when Ukraine was not yet independent and Ukrainian folk songs were frowned upon. Each of his songs has a melody and lyricism that is deeply rooted in Ukrainian folk music. Each is original, but unmistakably and characteristically Ukrainian.

The composer frequently set to music the lyrics of colleagues such as Bohdan Stelmakh, Mykola Petrenko, Vadym Kryschenko, Petro Zapotichnyi, Mykhailo Tkach and others. Some of his best known songs are: "Svitlytsia", "Viriu", "Niby Vchora", "Dzherelo", "Narode Mii" and "Kokhanyi" (performed by the late Kvitka Cisyk). In addition to songs, he also wrote music for theatrical productions and films. As artists, Mr. Bilozir and Vatra also developed a new national pop star, Oksana Bilozir, and wrote material for her. Vatra was among the most popular groups of Ukraine, but Mr. Bilozirs music and performances touched listeners in all corners of the world, from villages in Ukraine to the largest concert halls in Ukraine, Europe and North America. He also created and nurtured a childrens division of the Vatra Music Center, where young people could learn the beauty of Ukrainian music. Tragically, there were many plans on the horizon for Mr. Bilozir - future works, musical projects, new songs. A book featuring a collection of his works is to be published in the near future. One hopes that Ihor Bilozirs music will continue to be heard and performed by young ensembles and soloists now and in the future.
information from: http://ukiemusic.ballatondesign.com/2007/08/02/22/
photo from: www.greatukrainians.com.ua

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