Slovak Heritage Live


Slovak Folklore
is featured in book

European Contexts of the Folk Culture

You will find every town and village in the
Slovak Army 
Auto Atlas

Vychodna festivals are available on several videos

Genealogical research

Ancestral Village Videos

Ancestral Village Photography

Journey Through Slovakia Videos

Folklore Videos







When I think back at the beautiful sights and sounds of folk dance, folk music, folk costumes, the people, the children, the programs, the atmosphere experienced at Folk Festival in Vychodna I feel really happy, good, and proud.

Since the fall of the previous regime, last three years there was a feeling in the air, amongst the people whether they were organizers or participants, of uncertainty, insecurity of not knowing if the new government will financially support the festival, whether the folk dance groups will keep on practicing, whether the public will continue to come to the festival, what will the life be like when they become an independent Slovak Republic, etc., etc. This was reflected in the declined quality of programs last three years.

But, what a change can one year bring, unbelievable. People were happy, smiles everywhere, the supplies and selections in the food concessions were plentiful and of better quality, cold, I mean really cold beverages, no problem, excellent food. The grounds of the aerial not as messy as in previous years. The folk art selections were plentiful, with actual makers on site. You could touch and feel their products and talk to the makers. There were more visitors than last year, the programs were fantastic, the smiles were back, the uncertainty gone and the feeling was there, that everyone was happy with their new independence, freedom and on the eve of the opening of the festival, Slovakia was accepted into the European Community.

The festival international participants were folk groups from India, Mongolia, Russia and from Czech republic. I had a funny feeling when they announced during the program as next foreign group Olsava from Uherske Hradiste, Czech republic.

Friday night belonged to the groups from the Liptov region.

Third year now the two churches in Vychodna, smaller Catholic, and Bigger Lutheran, are available for Saturday morning program of songs from different regions. I went to the performance at the Catholic Church. Sat on the balcony and listened to few songs by, I wou1d say the greatest Upper Hron singer Jan Ambroz. When he sings I shiver. I know many of his songs from his so far two LP's. Another great singer, Helena Zahradnikova was singing songs from Kysuce region. The boys from Telgart, where Jan Ambroz was born proved to be following in his footsteps. New face and voice belonged to a nine-year-old girl from Bratislava from group Dovinka, Zuzana Bobokova. For her age she has a fantastic voice and I am sure that we will see her at the festivals in the years to come. The singers from Cifer were great too.

Saturday late morning as usual there is a program called Talents.

This program is made just prior to your performance, you tell them what you want to sing and they announce you and you are on the stage, singing or dancing. I participated with singing three songs from Jan Ambroz repertoire, songs from Upper Hron's village Telgart: "When I decide, The old women wanted to be young and Wait for me, lad, on bridge in Telgart." Folk music group Hrnciarovci from Liptovsky Mikulas were playing for me, as we know each other for many years. I had forgotten the last verse of my last song, but after I fished the sheet from my jeans we did finish it. Perhaps the most interesting new group at this program was a group of Gypsies from Vychodna called "New Roses." Many people in Slovakia see only the thorns in Gypsies, but these girls and two boys are the roses that bloomed in Vychodna.

They started to practice few weeks prior to the festival, they wanted to do something. Their studio was the street, they met every day under the blue sky and put together a program. Their leader is a 16-year-old girl, who not long ago lost her father, and the first song of their performance was dedicated to him. The audience was overwhelmed by their performance as they proved that Gypsies to have in them self’s pride and beauty.

You may recall that my folk dance group Bystrina was invited to participate at the festivals this summer. I am very sad to say that we were not able to participate from two reasons. First it was finances, as the group consisted from young people belonging to few families, and the cost was prohibitive and the second reason was that there is not too many dedicated Slovaks in Vancouver that would give their time at the present time, to my dream. So we had put Bystrina  on the shelf to incubate, and we will see we may start again. I have a friend, Janko Hruska, who just recently moved here from Slovakia. He danced in the groups in Eastern Slovakia and was helping me with the choreographies, selection of music and songs. We have a program all worked out called "Waters of Hron" with songs and dances of the Upper Hron. I know deep in my heart, that we will pull it off, and my dream will one day become reality and that Bystrina  will be reborn and we will dance and sing at Vychodna and Detva or Helpa.

Saturday afternoon belonged to the children's groups in program called: Spring of beauty school through  play. There were children's groups from whole Slovakia, proving that the folk traditions in Slovakia will live on for many, many years through them, their children and on and on for ever.

Evening belonged to the 80th anniversary of folk dance group Krivan from Vychodna. It was 80 years ago that the folk song that we all know, "Vychodna, Vychodna, zo dva rady domy; Vychodna, Vychodna just two rows of houses went to the world.

The greatest program at this years Vychodna was on Sunday mooring called: Honor to the accomplishments of the people and centuries.

This was program of programs. In my seven years of coming to the festival, I have never seen anything like this one. Unbelievable.

Ing. Arch: Villiam Gruska and his team have certainly pulled this one off with honors and congratulations are in order and well deserved.

There were 500 participants on the stage, dancers, singers, from 60 villages from all regions of Slovakia, 100 musicians, 900 folk costumes from 43 villages and 43 brides in the bride dresses.

The audience was able to participate in singing, as the text sheets were distributed to everyone.

The program had six parts. It started I early morning in front of the amphitheater on a small stage, "As Slovak Morning" with well known songs of Slovakia and continued to the amphitheater. Next part was about "Creation and Changes," the work with flax was shown up to the making of fabric. Embroidery, textiles, wreaths, scarecrows, making of carpets all to the sound of beautiful songs. This was followed by the songs about mother. Many top Slovak folk singers have participated.

Reminiscence followed mothers with pillows, God mothers with baskets, show of cradles, celebration of love, celebration of pastures, honor to the gifts, recruits, All Saints, Christmas and wedding.

Next were songs about the homeland. They did hit the spot in my heart. The oldest participant at this program and I am sure at the whole festival was 95-year-old grandma Margita Senkova from Lucky by Ruzomberok, she recited a poem by Milan Rufus: "Good shot." This part of the program ended with a beautiful Christmas carol called: "Daj Boh stastia tejto zemi, God, bless kindly this country." I will publish the words and the music in the next issue, so you can A learn it for Christmas. There is Slovak, English, French and German version.

July 5, is a national day of the Slovak republic honoring brothers St. Cyril and d St. Methodius.

The final part of this great program was re dedicated to them, the brothers of Solun called: "A  bow to the brothers of Solun." 

Many of my friends were involved in the realization of this program and I know how hard they all worked for months and the two solid days and almost all nights, just prior to the performance during last rehearsals. Thank you all for a great job you have done.

Last program of the festival was called: Slovaks at home, in the world and their guests. This program includes some of the best groups from all regions of Slovakia, Slovak groups from many states of Europe and the International participants.

So the 39th year of Vychodna is behind us, it was a success, congratulations to all.

See you next year at the 40th Vychodna Festival, promising to be the best yet


Published in the Slovak Heritage Live Newsletter, Volume 1, No. 3, Fall 1993
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1993 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.