With Lisapet — even to China
Last year becomes high point for Veras folk group
By Lyudmila Minakova
Entering the stage of the Palace of the Republic to receive the special jury prize of the National Musical Award is worth a great deal, especially if you come from a small Polesie village. The national Veras folk group, from Veresnitsa, in the Zhitkovichi District, has become famous countrywide. Its cheerful and entertaining Lisapet is a ‘national hit’, to the delight of all those involved — some of whom are aged around 70.
“Oh-oh-oh, for us it’s like an ‘Oscar’. Such an event!” smiled Lidia Petrichits, a senior member of the group, sharing her delight. “It’s an honour to walk upon this stage and to perform before such a huge audience.”
Residents of Veresnitsa have been singing in Veras for 60 years, one generation following the next. However, the group’s repertoire continues to raise audiences to their feet, bringing joy. The head of the group, Svetlana Lyashkevich, tells us, “We sing Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian songs. Few of our group of 16 have a professional education. Our repertoire is local, featuring our own compositions or those borrowed from neighbours. Our main ringleader writes chastooshkas, fairy-tales and songs. Lidia Petrichits’ national hit Lisapet was inspired by a woman she met at a sanatorium; we adapted it to our local language, for performance in cities and villages.”
Veresnitsa artists have been singing Lisapet for about six years and didn’t originally consider it to be a hit, being just another in their repertoire. “Our district was giving an annual concert in Rechitsa,” Svetlana explains. “Our ensemble was recognised and invited to the Call of Polesie festival in Lyaskovichi, performing Lisapet for the President. We go everywhere with this song, always being asked to perform Lisapet.”
Of course, the group has several other famous songs — such as Grom-Baby. Next year, they promise new surprises.
Having performed at the regional and Republican Dozhinki festival, the group recently sung for workers in the Bryansk Region of the Russian Federation. Svetlana adds, “We agree to invitations with pleasure. Our ladies say, ‘Svetlana, wherever we’re invited, we’ll go — even to China. We’re ready for everything!’”
The ensemble has appeared several times on Belarusian TV, and is often asked to perform at company parties around the capital.