Kakichev and nearby villages have been home to the Cossacks since the time of Peter the Great. When Peter settled the Cossacks here to secure Russia’s borders, they inherited a struggle which had been underway for centuries.  The area’s most famous battle was fought in 1185 when Prince Igor led Russian forces against the nomadic Polovtsy  Igor and the battle were immortalized in “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” (Slovo o Polku Igoreve), a monument of Russian medieval poetry.

Our research was focused on recording the rich musical traditions in the area.  We found many, many fine singers who were happy to perform for us.  They knew far more songs than we had time to record! They also invited us to return in January to document the local traditions for the period between Orthodox Christmas and Epiphany (January 5th through 19th). Old Style New Year’s masquerades, bathing in the icy lake, more singing — check our upcoming expeditions to learn how to join the festivities!

The oldest singer in khutor Bobry

About This Expedition

  • Dates:

    July 20, 2011 to July 31, 2011

  • Location:

    khutor (village) Kakichev, Belokalitvenskii district, Rostov province, Russia

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Meet The Team

  • head shot Yelena Minyonok

    Dr. Yelena Minyonok

    Major Researcher and Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive
    Gorky Institute of World Literature, Moscow

    Lena Minyonok is a philologist, folklorist, and Principal Investigator of the American Friends of Russian Folklore. Dr. Minyonok graduated from the Philological Department of the Moscow State University, where she received her M.A. degree from in 1988. Her postgraduate studies were at the Gorky Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences, 1988-1991). She received her Ph.D. in Folklore (Moscow, 1998) and now serves as Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive and Major Researcher in the Folklore Division of the Gorky Institute. Dr. Minyonok has been a Principal Investigator for countless folklore expeditions and has published over 60 articles about Russian folklore traditions. Most recently, she has led expeditions for the American Friends of Russian folklore in conjunction with the Institute of World Literature at the Russian Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky in 2007, as a Fulbright scholar.