"Lemko Folk Music On Wax Cylinders and American Records (1901-1930)"

, . (1901-1913) (1928-1930). (, 2008)
Bogdan Horbal, Walter Maksimovich. Lemko Folk Music On Wax Cylinders (1901-1913) and American Records (1928-1930). (Lviv, 2008).

Book includes parallel text in Lemko and English, hardbound, 185 pp; 43 illustrations, and a multimedia DVD which is filled with over 16 hours of music as .mp3's, along with labels of these recordings. We hope that you support our project with your purchase of this book.
Bogdan Horbal & Walter Maksimovich

From Foreword:

(...) In 1996 Maksimovich started working on an informative Web site dedicated to Lemkos, http://lemko.org. A year later, he inherited an old radio console from his in-laws that could play 78 rpm records. This console brought back to him many pleasant memories of those old Columbia recordings of his youth. He found that before the Great Depression, four large American music producers had released, among other ethnic recordings, not only Ukrainian 78s, but also recordings of an ethnic group known in those days under various names, including Lemko, Lemko-Ukrainian, Carpatho-Russian or Lemko-Russian. He subsequently embarked on a mission to learn about this group and to study and collect its recordings.

Bogdan Horbal, a historian and librarian at the New York Public Library, joined this project and enriched it with his knowledge of Lemko history. He conducted supplementary research that included a review of the American Lemko press (Lemko and Pravda). His earlier biographical sketches of Stefan Shkimba and Victor Hladick and his research on the history of Lemkos in America were very helpful while writing this book.


Lemkos [English part only]
Lemko Music
The Early Ethnographic Recordings of Folk Music
The Early Ethnographic Recordings of Lemko Folk Music
The Early Commercially Produced Recordings of Folk Music
Lemko Recordings from 1928-1930
Lemko Recordings after 1930
Bibliography of Rusyn (Mainly Lemko) Musicology
Bibliography of ther Works

Even though this book deals mainly with recordings of Lemko folk music made in New York City between 1928 and 1930, a general description of the early ethnic music recording process is also included to place the subejct in a wider context. The authors hope that readers find this history of interest and will forgive us for the extensive description.
The authors have felt it necessary to acquaint the reader with the Lemko people and their music. The part of the book that discusses Lemkos is of a general character and is presented only in English. It cites only a few, mainly English-language, sources. The chapter on Lemko music presents both the history of research of Lemko music and its major characteristics. It needs to be stressed that neither of the authors is a musicologist, but the authors hope that by including an extensive bibliography, this will encourage others to further pursue this subject.
Titles of Lemko and Ukrainian songs are given in the English part of the text in Latin script transliteration according to the present Library of Congress transliteration system. This is done for the sake of consistency because labels, in addition to prominently displayed titles in Cyrillic letters, include transliterated titles using old transliteration systems either for Ukrainian or Russian, and sometimes render Latin script titles according to Polish orthography therefore greatly confusing the matter.
Along with therelease of this book, a multimedia self-running audio DVD has been made available. It contains over 275 scanned labels and mp3 audio files,providing thereaderwith over 16 hours of listening pleasure withuncut audio tracks from most of the recordingsdescribed in this publication.

, . (1901-1913) (1928-1930). (, 2008)
Bogdan Horbal, Walter Maksimovich. Lemko Folk Music On Wax Cylinders (1901-1913) and American Records (1928-1930). (Lviv, 2008).

Please send a personal check, payable to "Walter Maksimovich" in the amount of $44.90 ($40, plus $4.90 for Priority Mail shipping)

to: Walter Maksimovich
1446 Hayes Street, Apt. 10
Hollywood, FL 33020

* * * Book was highlighted by Radio Kermesh in Krakow, Poland in their broadcast on November 2nd, 2008 * * *

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, . (1901-1913) (1928-1930). (, 2008)
Bogdan Horbal, Walter Maksimovich. Lemko Folk Music On Wax Cylinders (1901-1913) and American Records (1928-1930). (Lviv, 2008).

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* * *

Ksiazka o lemkowskich nagraniach na plytach, long plejach i CD od 1928 roku do dzisiaj jest wydana po lemkowsku i angielsku. Jest do nabycia w Polsce. Od kogo?

* * *

The early comments are in:

Dear Walter- I picked up my order from the post office and I immediately started reading your beautiful book straight through in English until I finished it on Sunday! Much of the information was new to me since I didn't realize that there were so many early ethnic recordings that were made, including Lemko! Since I read the English text first, I'm next going to work through the Lemko text to help improve my knowledge of the language. I loved the abundant illustrations, too; and even though so far I only managed to sample all of the songs on the accompanying DVD briefly, I was amazed at the excellent recording quality in general...... Karen Rosneck, Madison, Wisconsin.

Pozdravite! I'll recommend it everywhere. It brings so much research forward !!!!!! I really appreciate the gathering process and the inner sense vibrancy from in the life energy coming alive from these recordings. The texts were great. The lead materials for further research, great! I may have recordings that add to this learning process. I have to review my labels. More reflective comments, later... Jerry Jumba, McKees Rocks, PA

You and Bogdan Horbal have made an excellent Carpatho-Rusyn\Rusin Lemko song history with folk art inspirations and spiritual recordings! The inclusion of Carpatho-Rus' chant selections surprised me. The 78rpm RCA, Columbia and Okey labels - and more ... are a stunning musical reality about the early immigrant strength in the direct knowledge of the Carpatho-Rusin Liturgical Chant and hymnology. These people went to major recording studios and shared their folk art songs and their Eastern Christian C-R prayer chant with the world. They are among the bold culture building immigrants with vision, pioneers, living in direct experience in the present, and building this knowledge and its continuity of expression for the buduchnost' - future. That is a wonderful reflection of the presence of living tradition chant not captured in the incomplete ( but very helpful ) 1906 "Prostopinije" of Boksaj and Malinich. I have a few more 78 rpm Carpatho-Rusin Chant records -including some Paska services. So, Joj, I am inspired to re-inspect my 78 rpms & 33 rpm long play labels - I may even have additions for you. That comes the many years efforts of Carpatho-Rusin Chant research form Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox sources, and attics and basements and closets where people may have stashed these old 78 revolutions per minute (rpm) vinal records. If anyone else has some - let us know - so these can be digitalized and saved and made into a Carpatho-Rusin recording resource haven for every audiophile! - Jerry Jumba, McKees Rocks, PA

Good job. Should rank as a major benchmark in our culture. Good research in the development of music recording both in general and and in Lemko history. A tremendous effort. I like the way you organized the story. Dimitri Gallik, Walton, NY


2009 ARSC Awards for Excellence Nominees

Dear Walter:

I am very pleased to inform you that following book has been nominated for a 2009 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research: 
 Lemko Folk Music On Wax Cylinders (1901-1913) and American Records (1928-1930) by Bogdan Horbal and Walter Maksimovich
These awards are presented each year by ARSC to recognize excellence in published research on any subject related to recorded sound. Candidates must meet the following criteria:
1.      Published for the first time during calendar year 2008 (books and records must bear a 2008 copyright).

2.      The subject matter concerns records, record labels, or recording artists, in any field of music (classical, popular, rock, jazz, country, folk, etc.) or speech, including histories, discographies, recording artist biographies, or technology,  as well as modern techniques for the preservation or reproduction of older recordings.
3.   The work deals primarily with historical periods, defined as at least ten years prior to publication (i.e., pre-1998), with the exception of works related to preservation and technology.
4.      The work was made available in printed form: a book, article, liner notes or booklet accompanying a record, or any other printed format available to the public. 
At this time we need review copies of each nominated work; if the item is chosen as a finalist, additional copies will be requested for circulation to our entire panel of judges.  If you have other books that meet the above criteria and that you believe represent the very best research in the field of recordings and recorded sound, please send them as well.  Copies of nominated works should be sent to the following adjudicator(s): 
Kip Lornell
1700 Highland Drive
Silver Springs, MD 20910 
Our judges will choose a short list of finalists, and, ultimately, one winner in each category.  We hope to name the finalists by April, 2009. Winners will be announced in May, 2009, in time for our annual conference in Washington, D.C. Our goal, quite simply, is to recognize and draw attention to the finest work being published in the field of recorded sound research.
Further information about ARSC and the awards, including a list of past winners, is available at:
our cooperation in encouraging the very highest standards of research on recorded sound is deeply appreciated.

Robert J. Iannapollo

ARSC Awards Committee co-chair
Sibley Music Library
Eastman School Of Music
27 Gibbs Street
Rochester, NY 14620
Phone: 585-274-1306
Email: riannapollo@esm.rochester.edu
Roberta Freund Schwartz
Associate Professor Of Historical Musicology
University Of Kansas
ARSC Awards Co-Chair
Note: ARSC is a non-profit, international organization founded in 1966 and dedicated to the preservation and study of recordings in all fields of music and speech.  Members include private collectors, researchers, record producers and many of the world's largest public and university archives.  ARSC publishes a
Journal which accepts books and records on historical subjects for review.  For membership or review submission information contact the Executive Director, Peter Shambarger, P.O. Box 543, Annapolis, MD 21404-0543 (410-956-5600 x242).

+ + + * * * + + +

2009 ARSC Awards for Excellence,
announcement dated 9/21/2009

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. Begun in 1991, the awards are presented to authors and publishers of books, articles, liner notes, and monographs, to recognize outstanding published research in the field of recorded sound. In giving these awards, ARSC recognizes outstanding contributions, encourages high standards, and promotes awareness of superior works. A maximum of two awards is presented annually in each categoryone for best history and one for best discography. Certificates of Merit are presented to runners-up of exceptionally high quality. The 2009 Awards for Excellence honor works published in 2008. Additionally, a Lifetime Achievement Award and Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings are also presented annually. The 2009 winners are:





Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935-1968, Anthony Macias (Duke University Press)

Certificate of Merit:

Lemko Folk Music on Wax Cylinders and American Recordings, 1901-1930, Bogdan Horbal and Walter Maksimovich (self-published)





2008 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD presented to Cristbal Daz Ayala



Winners are chosen by the ARSC Awards Committee which consists of five elected judges representing specific fields of study, the ARSC President, and the Book Review Editor of the ARSC Journal. The members of the 2008 ARSC Awards Committee are:

Robert Iannapollo (Awards Committee Co-Chair)
Roberta Freund-Schwartz (Awards Committee Co-Chair)
Brenda Nelson-Strauss (Awards Committee)
David Seubert (ARSC President)
Jim Farrington (Book Review Editor, ARSC Journal)
David Hamilton (Classical Music Judge)
Kip Lornell (Judge-At-Large)
Dan Morgenstern (Jazz Music Judge)
William L. Schurk (Popular Music Judge)
Dick Spottswood (Judge-at-Large)

* * *

Lemko Folk Music on Wax Cylinders and, American Records. Bogdan Horbal and Walter Maksimovich. Self published, 2008. 186pages, 25 pages of photographs, companion DVD. ISBN183-913884-3-3. Available from Walter Maksimovich, 1446 Hayes Street, Apt. 10, Hollywood, FL 33020; 954-920-1193; $44.90; E-mail: walter@lemko.org; website http://lemko.org

Who are the Lemkos? Where are they from? What is their music like? After reading this book and listening to and looking at the DVD, you'll be able to provide your own answers to those questions.


This book/ DVD is a labor of love, and unique in it's focus on the early recordings of music of the Lemko, a little-known immigrant group, also called Rusnaks or Rusyns, originally from the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe. In 2009 the book received a well-deserved ARSC Certificate of Merit for Research in Recorded Folk, Ethnic or World Music. Several elements of this book/DVD combination are quite special. First, the book is in two languages. The first 74 pages are in Lemko, the rest is a translation into English, with a few additions about the history of the Lemko people. A second feature is the accompanying DVD, which contains over 275 scanned recording labels as well as more than twelve hours of mp3 audio files. The book's twenty-five pages of photographs of singers, weddings, and village gatherings are another significant attribute.

The history of the Lemko people is complicated to say the least. Their homeland has changed hands many times over the centuries, and forced immigration has spread their culture across a wide area, encompassing parts of Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia.


Helpful overviews of the Lemko's history, language, and multiple geographical locations can be found at the website associated with the book, http://lemko.org and also at The World Academy of Rusyn Culture, http://www.rusyn.org/ . The authors, musical amateurs in the truest and best sense of the word, are of Lemko origin and are eminently qualified to write about this subject. Bogdan Horbal is a historian and librarian at the New York Public Library. Walter Maksimovich is a retired electrical engineer who has been actively researching Lemko history since 1996, when he began working on the website. The following year he began building an extensive record collection through E-bay and responses to his website. Lemko immigration to America began about 1872; they were among the first immigrants from Ukraine. There are significant Lemko communities in Pennsylvania and in the Cleveland area. Horbal and Maksimovich point out that music has been an essential part of maintaining their cultural identity, both in the United States and in Europe. However, the first Lemko music in America was often categorized as Lemko-Ukranian or Lemko-Polish.


I knew nothing about Lemko music prior to reading the book, and my first desire was to have an audio example that exactly matched the text I was reading. It is possible, to a certain extent, to do that very thing, but it takes matching up recording numbers in the text with the abbreviated titles on the mp3 list to do it. You can also match a label to the recording under discussion, again with a certain level of effort. However, this is the only book in the world, at this point, on this particular subject, so if you want to mine all the information the authors have collected, you have to work at it.


In addition to numerous wedding songs, the varied musical examples include polkas, marches, waltzes, unaccompanied songs, and songs with orchestras. There is music by orchestras and bands of all sizes, choruses, hymns, and Christmas carols. A number of selections have dialogue at the beginning or within the track. Perhaps more challenging than matching the musical examples to the text is trying to find information without a general index. If, for example, you find a Lemko record at a flea market featuring Samuil Pilip, there is no handy index for you to see if he is mentioned in the book. You have to go through the book, page-by-page, to see if you can locate him. Fortunately, there are not many pages, and you will probably be able to hunt down Pilip and discover that he made a number of recordings with different orchestras.


Before the authors present the main focus of the book, they give us a chapter on Lemko music in general, which includes many sources of printed music, a chapter on early ethnographic recordings of folk music, and another chapter on early commercial recordings of folk music from many sources. This helps set the stage for the earliest commercial recording of Lemko music, which was made by Stephen Shkimba at Okeh Records on 5 April 1928.


This book/DVD will be extremely valuable to scholars and musicians from a variety of fields and should be a required resource for anyone interested in ethnic recordings in the United States; the history of recorded music of Eastern Europe; the history and performance of Ukrainian, Polish and Slovak music; and the history of the Carpathian people. The authors have also included two helpful bibliographies at the end of the book; "Rusyn [Mainly Lemko] Musicology" and "A Bibliography of Other Works." Let us hope that the fine example of this book will encourage other collectors and historians to publish similar studies, with carefully correlated companion DVDs - with an index, please of other under-represented ethnic groups.

There is a good chance that you began reading this review not knowing that there was a Lemko people and a Lemko language, much less a Lemko music. I can guarantee that this book will open an entire new world to you.


Reviewed by Mitzie Collins [sincere appreciation from the authors!]


Association for Recorded Sound Collections, ARSC, Volume 41, No. 1-Spring 2010

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation and study of historical recordings. Its members include both private collectors and representatives of some of the world's largest public archives. ARSC's principal activities include publication of a scholarly journal and newsletter, an annual conference, and support of scholarship and audio preservation through grants and Association projects. Additional information about ARSC, including lists of past ARSC Award Winners and Finalists, may be found at www.arsc-audio.org.

Notice: I'm still looking for those old Lemko/Rusyn/Rusnak/Ukrainian 78s (records), please drop me a note. Maybe you have what I'm missing.

Document Information

Document URL: http://lemko.org/books/78.html

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E-mail: walter@lemko.org

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Originally Composed: November 23rd, 2008
Date last modified: May 10th, 2010