«Мрія» – популярний український ансамбль з м. Чікаго, один із провідних українських гуртів 80-х років у США. В репертуарі ансамблю – українські народні пісні, пісні тогочасних українських авторів та власні твори, значна їх частина у поп-роковому аранжуванні.
• Юрій Свитник (George Swytnyk) – гітари, вокал
• Роман Сікачовський (Roman Sikaczowski) – бас-гітара, вокал
• Адам Бігун (Adam Bihun) – синтезатор, духові інструменти
• Андрій Бровар (Andrew Browar) – клавішні, вокал
• Михайло Читербок (Michael Chyterbok)* – барабани, вокал
• Василь (Вільям) Тельвак (William (Wasyl) Telwak)** – саксофон, сопілка, гітара, вокал
• Богдан Березецький (Bohdan Berezecky)*** – барабани
* у складі до 1982; ** у складі з 1980; *** у складі з 1982
Ансамбль організований у 1979 році в м. Чикаго (США) талановитими музикантами: Адамом Бігуном, Андрієм Броваром, Михайлом Читербоком, Юрієм Свитником та Романом Сікачовським. Гурт грав на вечірках та інших забавах у Чикаго та околицях, і уже за пів року здобув популярність в українській громаді.
Музика ансамблю у великій мірі була схожою на музичний стиль ансамблю «Веселі Часи», який на той час був кращим українським ансамблем у східній частині США. На початку 80-х ансамбль «Веселі Часи» припинив свою діяльність і ансамбль «Мрія» фактично зайняв його нішу.
У 1980 році до ансамблю приєднався досвідчений музикант Василь Тельвак, учасник популярних ансамблів «Промінь» та «Каравана». А з 1981 року продюсером ансамблю став Іван Стеців, лідер та організатор ансамблю «Веселі Часи», що знову ж таки позитивно вплинуло на популярність ансамблю.
Щоб донести свою музику до шанувальників, кількість яких у США постійно збільшувалась, музиканти ансамблю почали працювати над альбомом. Через 15 місяців довгих репетиційних вечорів та наполегливої роботи у студії, у серпні 1981 року група закінчила запис дебютного альбому − «Мрія». Репертуар платівки складається з народних пісень — «Ворожка», «Соловію», «Цвіте терен», «У вишневому садочку», «Чабан»; творів тогочасних авторів з України — «Зачарована Десна» (Луценко, Шамо), «Марічка» (Ткач, Сабадаш); та власних композицій членів ансамблю — «Карпатська душа» та «Зів’яла квітка» (Сікачовський, Свитник).
Після випуску свого альбому, ансамбль виступав на Союзівці (1982), провів кілька концертів у США та Канаді, і до середини 80-х припинив свою діяльність.
1. «Mria»… their dreams come true!. The Ukrainian Weekly / March 2, 1980, №50, стор.- 10.
2. Marta Kolomayets. «Chicago band plans ahead». The Ukrainian Weekly / March 21, 1982, №12, стор.- 10.
3. Кінець тижня і «день праці» на Союзівці будуть незвичайно приємними і цікавими. Свобода. Український щоденник. 02.09.1982, №166/ стор.– 1,4.
4. Інформація та записи з платівки «Мрія».
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Mria, the band from Chicago, was organized over three years ago, and over these years its members have seen some changes in the band’s composition and attitude.
The most obvious change is the fact that now the group is composed of six members instead of five.
Michael Chyterbok, the group’s drummer who also shared the lead vocal chores, bowed out after the group finished its first album in August 1981.
His job was taken by Bohdan Berezecky, a 20-year-old musician who is quickly learning about the long hours of practice and the traveling required of a «zabava» band. However, he ardently adds, «I feel great playing with the band,» and says that he can learn a lot about music from the experience.
The other addition to the group is the man who shares the job of lead vocalist. William Telwak also adds his talents as an experienced saxophonist, guitarist, sopilka and recorder player. He is no stranger to the life of traveling and performing, for he has been a prominent member of such Ukrainian bands as Karavana and Promin, both of Chicago.
Along with the original members of the band — Adam Bihun, the group’s brass and synthesizer player; Roman Sikaczowski, the bass guitarist and vocalist; Andrij Browar, the keyboard player and vocalist; George Swytnyk, the lead guitarist, who also shares the lead vocals — this is the new Mria.
Back in 1980, when the band members were first interviewed, Mr. Sikaczowski had remarked: «We understand that it is necessary to grow and mature in our musical development.» Today, they feel they are closer to this goal than ever before. «Musically, we feel more mature as we have gotten to know each other’s capabilities,» says Mr. Swytnyk.
If success for a Ukrainian band is measured by how often and where a band is asked to play, then Mria has indeed been sought after in its native Chicago and the surrounding area, Minneapolis, Toronto. The band, has performed at all the annual Chicago dances and is now ready 10 travel to other cities, proving what it has already shown in Chicago.
Mria has asked John Steciw to help with this endeavor. The name John Steciw probably sounds familiar to anyone who was a fan of the Veseli Chasy band from Chicago. He was the group’s leader and organizer. After the members of that group went their separate ways in late 1980, Mr. Steciw became an agent and promoter. Mria began talking to Mr. Steciw, and both sides decided to work together to package the band and make it sell.
With Veseli Chasy off the dance circuit, Mria and Promin became the two leading bands in Chicago. Promin already had an album out and definitely had a following among the young set in the Midwest and Canada.
At that time, Mr. Steciw and Mria saw the need to reach out to a broader audience, although they had already achieved a fair amount of popularity in Chicago.
«To be recognized as a band,» says Mr. Browar, «you have to put out an album.» Therefore, the group began working on an album. It took 15 months of hard work and long evenings of practice. The result is the band’s debut record, simply called Mria. The album, released in August, 1981, features the traditional Ukrainian songs, such as ‘Vorozhka,» «Zacharovana Desna,» «Marichka,» «Soloviyu,» «Twite Teren,» «U Vyshnevomu Sadochku,» and «Chaban.» In addition to these traditional tunes Mria also re-corded three original tunes, an instrumental, titled, «Troyandy» and two compositions that feature the lyrics of Mr. Sikaczowski and the music of Mr. Swytnyk.
With the release of the new album, the members of Mria feel that their career is taking a positive turn. They follow the philosophy that: «If you want anything badly enough, you spend hours practicing, devoting your time to the project, no matter how strenuous it is on you.» They are looking forward to making it as a popular Ukrainian band nationwide as well as in Canada and plan to release another album in the near future.
The Ukrainian Weekly / March 2, 1980, №50
An electrical engineer, a computer engineer, a computer programmer, a pre-law student and a dentist. What can these five people have in common? Not much, right? Wrong.
If these five people happen to be named Adam Bihun, Roman Sikaczowski, George Swytnyk, Michael Chyterbok and Andrij Browar they indeed have a lot in common, for together they form a talented up-and-coming Ukrainian band, whose musical preoccupation has become more than just a hobby.
«We’re a combination that works,» says George, «Mria’s» leader. «We know ourselves musically; we want to make other people happy by playing music that will make their voices hum and their feet dance.»
And they do have this effect on Ukrainian audiences age 13 to 65. Because their style is light and refreshing, they’ve established a rapport with the people on the dance floor in the four short months that they have been performing together.
Their musical harmony comes from enjoying each other’s company both on and off the performing stage, teasing and picking on each other incessantly. «It’s all in good fun,» says Roman as he playfully untune George’s guitar. «If we weren’t this close, we could never even hope to make it among our Ukrainian audiences,» he explains. «We yell at each other, cut each other up and criticize a lot. But we also understand that it is necessary to grow and mature in our musical development.»
In these past few months, they have indeed grown a great deal and are pleased with their advancements and the recognition they are starting to receive. Because all the members of the band have a strong musical background, they have a good sense of interpretation and style which is as varied as their occupations.
Adam believes they will make it big: «There is something in our music that is bound to appeal to everyone.» He understands how important this is, having previously played with a prominent Ukrainian band of the early ’ 70s. However, he does have his favorite songs in their multi-faceted repertoire, among which is «Zacharovana Desna.» This melodious and heart-warming piece of Ukrainian music, along with ‘‘Marichka» fnd «Ziviala Kvitka,» conveys the soft romance every Ukrainian girl dreams of dancing to with the one she loves.
If you like Ukrainian music with a bit of good or American Western twang, Andrij, the smiling keyboard player, recommends listening to «Mria’s» rendition of «Zhyto Maty.» If your style leans toward jazz, then «Troiandy» is your song. And if you’d rather listen to golden oldies, Andrij says they have a ’50s medley to offer you.
Mike, the able drummer of the band, also serves as the lead vocalist for many of the group’s songs. He and George share all of the group’s lead vocals, but this too will change in time as they plan to introduce the other various sounds of Adam, Roman and Andrij.
Mike adds another facet to the versatility of the band’s music; «We can’t be called conservative playing such groups as Cheap Trick, UFO and the Cars,» he says, «Hoyv can anyone possibly try to convince me that disco is dying, that kids don’t enjoy dancing to «Hot Stuff.» And because our audiences are so important to us, how can we not give them what they want?»
The variety of the music they play, along with the band’s enthusiasm, leads to the makings of a successful «zabava.» «Mria» members are aware of the fact that it is up to them to show the people a good time, play for them, entertain them and make them want to get up and dance.
Continuing in this pattern of thought, they feel that updating the beat and introducing a variety of motifs, ranging from classical to American progressive, to their music, are future goals they should pursue.
Their first album, which will include some original songs written by various members of the band, is in the works for 1980. They hope it will be well-received in all their performing circles.
The expansion of their act to include more «atmosphere» — a light show, new costumes and maybe even a few jokes to make the audience feel more at ease — are other various devices they have planned for the future. They are working hard to afford all the equipment necessary to give their music a more polished, professional sound. A lot of their time, effort and money goes into their music that has developed from a mere hobby to total commitment.
They are now doing the «zabava» circuit, full of determination to make it big as the hottest new Ukrainian band to come around for awhile. They truly are, as one of their songs states. «Hot Stuff.»
The Ukrainian Weekly / March 21, 1982, №12
Мрія | Оркестра «Мрія» | Mria, the band from Chicago | Оркестра «Мрія» з Чікаго