Volyn’ska Oblast, Ukraine
In Search of Hidden Cultural Treasures
On our first cultural expedition we travelled to Western Ukraine, which is part of the Polesia region of Eastern Europe. Polesia crosses the borders of Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Russia and is home to the largest forest on the European continent. The mission of our visit was to advance our understanding of the past, present and future of the people of this region, develop relationships with cultural experts and to experience traditional culture firsthand.
Colabees spent two weeks exploring the North Western province of Volyn, a region deeply grounded in traditional folklore, values and practices.
Polesia is an ancient land that still remembers the legends of ancient times. This is a region of everlasting forests, vast groves and valleys, crystal lakes, and meandering rivers. Its mythology and customs are deeply rooted in its geographical features and in the seasons that shape them.
89 year old Pani Paraska, a local villager from Cтарі Коні (Old Horses) shared life stories and wisdom with the Colabee team.
Pani Dominika Checkun shares a small farmhouse with Pani Paraska. Dominika is renowned for her singing ability and vast memory for traditional songs.
Women's Choral Group
While visiting the small village of Krupove, we were invited to record songs sung by a women’s choral group who are dedicated to the preservation and sharing of regional traditions.
Guided by Cultural Experts
Our hosts and guides for the trip were scholars from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Olena Ivanovska, Chair of Ukrainian Folklore in the Department of Philology, led the expedition. In addition to providing invaluable information and context, she and her team facilitated interviews with key cultural experts throughout North-Western Ukraine.
Our visit offered a unique glimpse into the richness of regional folklore, values, and traditions. Through our direct interactions we developed first-hand understanding of the traditional beliefs and values which survive today from Ukraine’s deep ethnic past.
The insights from this and future trips will directly influence every aspect of The Forest Song’s game, visual and audio designs.
“This is an important project for players around the world who have the opportunity to experience the beauty and depth of our cultural heritage.”Olena Ivanovska