Guardian Angel ~ Ангел-хранитель


“Scholars and amateurs who collect the repertoire of the blind singers have tended to focus on historical songs and especially on the epic dumy, prioritizing the collection of this rare material over the religious and moralistic songs which were actually much more common in the wandering singers’ repertoire. After the imposition of Bolshevik rule, the religious material was abandoned and completely forgotten. Porfiry Demutsky’s (1860-1927) collection of 50 songs is one of the few publications of chants and psalms sourced directly from the lirnyk tradition (the lirnyky were traveling musicians who performed music to the accompaniment of the hurdy-gurdy, or lira).

None of these songs would ever have been performed in church. They are not liturgical texts, and the use of instruments in church services was forbidden by Orthodox tradition. Very noticeable in some of the songs is a strong emphasis on morality and social justice –the wealthy man’s riches will not help him on Judgement Day. Many kobzari and lirnyky sang versions of a song about a Guardian Angel delivering a last warning to a sleeping sinner. My performance is based primarily on Demutsky, though I do remember hearing a choral arrangement of the song in my childhood.” ~ Julian Kytasty, 2015



(English translation by Julian Kytasty below; Ukrainian text edited and prepared for publication by Olesya Nayduk’)

Ангел грішну душу пробуждає од сна.
Прокинсь, грішна душе, пробудися од сна.

Де ти, грішна душе, забарилася?
Утрені й вечірні вже одспіванії,
Служби і молебні да одчитанії,
Восковії свічі та й потушенії.

Що ти, грішна душе, в розкошах жила,
Скарби і маєтки нагромаджувала,
Удів і сиріток не удержувала,
Бідних і голодних та й не годувала,
Странников дальних в свій дом не приймала?

Св’яжуть тобі, душе, руци і нозі,
Свергнуть тебе, душе, в Ґеєнну в огонь,
В Ґеєнну в огонь, в ад на вічний покой!



The Angel wakes a sinful soul from its sleep:

“….What’s taken you so long?
The matins and vespers have all been sung,
The liturgies celebrated,
The waxen candles all put out.


You have not sheltered wayfarers,
You have given no comfort to the sick or imprisoned,
You have not sustained orphans and widows.


You shall be bound hand and foot,
Thrown into Hell for your eternal rest,
Thrown into Gehenna and the Fire…”