Ukraine House in Denmark

Dudaryk's enchanting Christmas concerts in Copenhagen draw over 1200 guests

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The timeless melodies of Ukrainian Christmas carols echoed through Copenhagen as the renowned boys' and men's choir "Dudaryk" from Lviv, Ukraine, concluded their special three-day concert tour that took place from Dec. 16 to 18. The performances took place at Eliaskirken, Sankt Petri Kirke, and Copenhagen City Hall, captivating over 1200 guests with the rich traditions of Ukrainian Christmas.

Dudaryk choir
Dudaryk choir

During Christmas time, when millions of Ukrainian families will not be together for the second year in a row, the concerts brought together Ukrainians under temporary protection in Denmark and locals to bask in the beauty of the Ukrainian choral tradition, amplify Ukrainian culture, and celebrate the show of gratitude for Danish support.

As conductor Dmytro Katsal prepared the guests for the concert, he said: "Today, you will hear how Ukrainian churches and our concert halls sound at Christmas. We brought to you the golden treasure trove of Ukrainian Christmas music." 

Despite the challenging times for Ukrainians, the concerts aimed to bring solace and joy. Nataliia Popovych, chairperson of Ukraine House in Denmark and the initiator of the concerts highlighted the seemingly paradoxical decision to sing during these difficult times, stating, “Ukrainian culture is under attack again, but this is precisely the time when we want our voice to be resonant with all people of free will like those of Denmark."

Dudaryk, founded in 1971 during the Soviet occupation of Ukraine, has become a shining example of Ukrainian musical excellence. Their mission is to enrich and promote Ukrainian musical heritage globally while preserving the centuries-old tradition of choral music in Ukraine.

The three-day concert tour in Copenhagen was a captivating showcase of Ukrainian Christmas carols and traditions.

During these performances, the audience learned about the tragic history of Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych, whose legendary “Shchedryk” song, the basis for "Caroll of the Bells," became the most popular Christmas song in the world. The revelation that Leontovych was killed by a Soviet state security agent in 1921 added a poignant layer to the concerts, emphasizing the resilience of Ukrainian culture against oppressive regimes.

"When Leontovych's 'Shchedryk' echoed through the hall, and the audience delved into the author's story, it marked a monumental shift. For the Danes, the story of his death was a profound discovery.  The thunderous ovation we received prompted several encores. One Danish guest articulated another revelation: 'It is impossible to imagine that people from a country in need sing about happiness to people from a country of happiness.' It is something miraculous, and he expressed gratitude for reminding them about what is important," – said conductor Dmytro Katsal.

Photos: Alex Benes

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