Nina and Maria Go to London


As part of our research and development on The Home, our project exploring what it means to be older in Britain today, we have been working with the Ukranian Community Centre in Bradford. There Joshua Goodman, musical director extraordinaire and I have been going along to meet a group of older Ukranian ladies who come together once a week to sing the songs of their youth. Mainly their youth seemed to involve pretty ladies with dark eyebrows, untrustworthy cossacks, and a surprising of cheese dumplings.

Two of these unflappable ladies, Nina and Maria (sadly we lacked a Pinta, or we could have had one for each of Columbus’ ships), and Irene who helps run the centre, came down to London with us, to meet our partner company Entelechy. We met around a table laden with snacks and there followed two hours of very moving story exchange as everyone explained how they had come to found themselves in the UK and what life was like for them now. I’m not sure I contributed much, but I certainly received. The Ukranian ladies now refer to me as Tommy Two-Cakes, which I’m afraid will stick.

The next day we had time to cram in some site-seeing before heading back home. We are now very much looking forward to Entelechy coming to visit us. The last one was a story exchange, this time we are thinking we might share our songs with each other, and what those songs mean to us.

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