Culture News Society, 14/11/2017

Ethnic Musicians’ Life Stories Join People

An extraordinary art book “Ukrainian Minstrels” was presented in Kharkiv on November 13.

The life stories of Ukrainian kobzars, their persecutions by various regimes, and artistic phenomenon followed with notes of the ancient folk psalm “There is no Truth in the World” are printed in scaled-up letters and relief-dotted Braille.

The book contains tactile pictures of Ukrainian ethnic music instruments kobza and bandura. Such illustrations help the readers understand what the instruments they look like by touch.

People with normal sight, visually impaired or completely blind can read this book.

“Our main purpose was to make it interesting for people with different abilities with the help of new technologies. We wanted to unite them by music and reading,” says visually impaired journalist Volodymyr Noskov, who consulted the book creators on making the tactile images. He calls the book “another advanced form of inclusion.”

During the presentation, the visitors were offered to recognize a musical instrument or a kobzar’s thing with blindfolded eyes.

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Victoria Sklyarova, a tour guide who won the contest by spotting the kobza and a bundle of bagels – decent kobzars’ food – says such contests can help understand blind people better. “This experience is also useful for creating convenient No Limit Tours, which attract people with disabilities.”

Currently, only 50 copies of the book are printed. They will appear in bookshops and special libraries for visually impaired and blind people.

Reference: The book “Ukrainian Minstrels” was created within the international project “Improving the Chances for Education for the Youth with Visual Impairment” in cooperation with the International Educational Center of Dortmund, Germany. The project has been implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany. The Consul General of Germany attended the presentation.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Viktoria Sklyarova