Blind itinerant musicians, known as kobzars and lirnyks, organized themselves into guilds along the same lines as professional craftsmen. These professional itinerant musicians would gather at regular meeting spots on particular dates to celebrate religious feasts, administer examinations for the induction of novices and masters, and collect money for placement of votive candles under icons of patron saints and to also discuss the business of the guild.
During the Soviet period the Kobzar guilds ceased to exist.
In the 1990s, the idea for the creation of a Kobzar guild in Kyiv was initiated by followers and students of traditional bandurist Heorhy Tkachenko - Mykola Budnyk and Mykhailo Khai. The reason for the formation of the Kobzar guild was to have a formal organization to resurrect and reestablish forgotten traditions and to help deal with the needs of those bandurists who were interested in performing traditional music of the kobzars. The established regulated government institutions of the time were openly hostile to this group of bandurists, and as a result the Kyiv Kobzar guild was formed initially in opposition to the various formal music schools and conservatoria, as these formal structures had agendas which did not support authentic performance practice of traditional folk music.
The Kobzar Guild has grown into a significant movement and force in contemporary Ukrainian musical life. Currently there are over 200 members and associates, with chapters in Kiev, Kharkiv, Poltava and Lviv. Now are three Kobzar Guilds (Lviv's, Kyiv's, Kharkiv's ). Their Heads are: Мykola Tovkailo (Kyiv), Mykhailo Khai (Lviv), Kostiantyn Cheremsky (Kharkiv).
"Kobzarska Trijcia" Festival
The Kobzar Guild begun own festival life in 2008. "Kobzarska Trijcia" (Kobzar Trinity) festival became regular. Festival program consist of concerts, press-conference, scientific conference, exhibitions of traditional epic instruments and traditional dance-party.
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