O-CITY project for the revival of traditional Ukrainian songs

This initiative stemmed from a commission from O-CITY‘s project manager, José Marín-Roig, to recover ten traditional Ukrainian songs, selected by Italian musician Luca Bordonaro from The Polyfonic Proyect: The idea was to choose one piece of music for each region of Ukraine.

At the end of 2022, Luca Bordonaro eagerly accepted the commission, transcribing the melody and harmony of these Ukrainian folk songs, as well as carrying out a technical musical analysis of each of them. On this experience, the young Italian musician tells us:

“Thanks to the O-CITY project I had the opportunity to immerse myself in Ukrainian culture and folklore. Researching the social implications of the songs I transcribed gave me a more heterogeneous understanding of this people and their history.
In addition, it has been a great stimulus to analyse the technical-musical aspects of what would seem to be a simple composition, but which involves a brilliant treatment of melody, harmony and rhythm.

“It has been a great stimulus to analyse the technical-musical aspects of what would appear to be a simple composition, but which entails a brilliant treatment of melody, harmony and rhythm”.

That’s why I want to continue this research by developing new arrangements of the songs, taking them towards a fresh and more contemporary aesthetic, culminating in the production and release of an album dedicated to the project”.

Luca added the lyrics to these 10 interpretations, in collaboration with Nikoletta Talapko, who did the translations from Ukrainian into English. For this Ukrainian translator and interpreter, her country has long been famous for its singing. “And these are not just words, but proven facts. The best works are passed down from generation to generation and are always relevant.

“Translating folk songs is a kind of art, because of all types of folk art, the song reveals the richness of the people’s soul and its creative powers in the deepest measure”.

In my opinion, Nikoletta-, “translating folk songs is a kind of art, because of all types of folk art, the song reveals the richness of the people’s soul and its creative powers to the deepest extent. Therefore, in my opinion, one of the translator’s tasks is to convey this soul content that is embedded in a particular traditional song into the required language.”

“To be honest, this was my first contact with the translation of Ukrainian folk songs. It was not easy at all, as most of the songs I translated were old and written in the typical Ukrainian language of the time, and the influence of the linguistic environment of the region from which the song itself originated could be felt”.

“On the one hand, it was an important professional challenge for me as a translator, and on the other hand, this experience gave me the opportunity to feel like a bearer of the culture and traditions of the Ukrainian nation”.

Nikoletta, what does this project of reviving traditional Ukrainian songs convey to you on a personal level?

“I am pleased to be part of this project and to be able to contribute to the preservation and dissemination of information about the Ukrainian people’s singing tradition through the O-CITY project.

Ukrainian folk songs have long been the historical face of the nation, and that is why I believe that by translating and uploading these traditional songs to the O-CITY platform, I have been able to bring the users of the platform closer to a better understanding of what is most intimate, valuable and relevant to the Ukrainian people”.

 Song folk Ukraine-2

The Ukrainian traditional songs revival project is a representation of O-CITY cultural heritage.

List of songs:

Song folk Ukraine-4


In the Advanced search of the O-CITY map, you can delimit the cultural border of Ukraine with links to heritage elements. Each icon contains the corresponding links, including a selection of 10 traditional Ukrainian songs.

This project was presented in person to the president of the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine, Mariana Oleskiv, on 16 January at the Gandia Campus of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), in the framework of the conference “O-CITY Innovation for the development of territories”, an initiative promoted by the UPV and sponsored by the Provincial Council of Valencia.

O-CITY is a technological platform for education, collaboration and international tourism promotion, the digital tool developed and led by the UPV Campus in Gandia in the context of a European project, which evolves day by day by and for people:

O-CITY cultural and natural heritage platform enables the digitisation of tourist information about any place, offering multimedia information and virtual tours. A platform open to citizen participation in which anyone can generate content about any place in the world.

O-CITY is currently working with the Government of Ukraine to place a representation of the country’s cultural and natural heritage on the digital atlas.