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Theodosia Plytka-Sorokhan - our greatest inspiration

The past no longer seems so distant.

In the photo above: Theodosia Plytka-Sorokhan and Eugene Purpurovsky. Photo by Paul Chilton. Kryvorivnia, May 2008.

This video was made by us in 2013 from footage that we filmed during our epic meeting with Theodosia Plytka-Sorokhan in May 2008 in and around her hut in the beautiful village of Kryvorivnia, in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains.

Theodosia passed away in 2017 at the age of 96. She is our greatest inspiration, and our meeting with her paved the way for the appearance of the music project that you now know as tAngerinecAt.

Odosia was born into an extremely poor family and spent ten years in Soviet concentration camps - 5 years in the Uranium mine in Kolyma and 5 years in one of the most horrific camps that was called Berlag. She was known as a living legend of Hutsul land, and people came from all over the world to meet her. After returning from exile she continued to be persecuted by the KGB and worked on a collective farm performing the hardest labour tasks but receiving barely any money due to having a criminal record. We talked for 4 hours during which she told us her life story, experience in the camps, played on the telenka and guitar, and sang her songs. You can read more about our conversation with Odosia in this interview with us by John Clay for Joyzine.

Theodosia published two books of her own and Ukrainian folk songs and one with her memories of deportation funded by her minuscule pension. In this video you will see the picturesque surroundings and interior of her hut, hear one of her songs based on her life story, and in particular about being in a prison in Lviv, and a short story about her close friendship with her relative Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit who was a Hutsul painter, folklorist, ethnographer, philosopher and photographer. Paraska has become one of the cultural symbols of Krivorivnia and the whole Hutsul region, and she also spent 10 years in labour camps. We will dedicate a separate post about her but in this video you will see images from Paraska's home and some of her works that are on display there which is now a museum.

Both women worked hard all their lives to preserve Ukrainian culture - singing, music, poetry, art, embroidery and language, that was suppressed and systematically destroyed under Soviet rule by Russia. They fought for freedom and their way of life.

"Oh Lord, what a poor life I had, probably no one has experienced this from their earliest years. I lived as a non-human all my childhood and all my years. All my peers and aquaintences have already gone to the other world. But God keeps giving me more years" - Teodosia Plytka-Sorokhan

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