The story of this folk song is reminiscent of a river, flowing and changing as it journeys to new locations.
We first heard “Plyve Kacha Po Tysyni” in 1987 on a ” Melodiya” recording. The Transcarpathian Folk Choir, under the direction of Mikola Popenko, recorded “The Duck Swims Down The Tissina” as an a capella solo performance.
We were attracted to the soulful melody and haunting lyrics, and at our rehearsals in the basement of our church in Montreal, we moulded the song to fit our ensemble.
First, we added three part harmony. Then, we added a wordless refrain; a simple vocalization that we hoped would touch the hearts of listeners, and help them understand the pain of a mother lamenting the loss of her beloved son. The musical arrangement was simple, basically reflecting the mood of the lyrics and supporting the raw beauty of the melody itself.
We recorded this song on our album and cassette recording named “Cheremshyna” (volume 3) in 1988, and it was also included on our CD “The Best of Cheremshyna” in 1990.
This beautiful song received a very positive response, and in 1990, it was featured in our performances at concerts celebrating “100 Years of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada”, in recognition of the fact that many mothers were forever separated from their children, who had gone in search of a better life in a faraway land.
When Ihor Bilozir and