The folk group “Drevo” was established in September 1979 with the participation of several students-musicologists of the Kiev Conservatory. The main initiators were Valentina Ponomarenko (then – student Volodymyra Matviyenko) and Yevgeniy Yefremov (then – graduate student Igor Matsiyevskiy). Together they tried to sing the songs they had heard in Ukrainian villages during summer folk expeditions.
Under the leadership of Yevgeniy Yefremov, the group began to look for a method of entering into an authentic rural manner of singing, to work on vocal breathing and dialectical phonetics, to adjust their voices to the timbre style of a certain local tradition, to master the patterns of folk-song melody variation. Initially, the band based its classes on two bright but contrasting song traditions – the Kiev Polissya and the legendary Poltava village of Kryachkivka.
Since then, the composition of the members of the ensemble has changed significantly, because at least 70 people have passed through its “school”, and the repertoire-geographical “palette” of the “Drevo” has significantly expanded.
The main scientific base and source of the original repertoire of the Drevo was the active expedition and research activities of the ensemble participants in the territory of Polissya, Left Bank Dnieper, Eastern Podillya. The song performed by the Tree is alternately updated each time, while remaining the same. A significant feature of the band is its respectful attitude to folk song as a serious and truly high art.
The band constantly participates in ethnic music festivals in Ukraine and abroad, and has several of their own sound albums, released in their homeland and in Poland. The ensemble is the collective author and performer of the musical play “The Stone Circle (OPERA)” (premiere – 09.2002), performed as a joint project of the Drevo and the Theater at the DAKh Center for Contemporary Art (the head and the director V. Troyitskiy).
Thus, the Kiev group “Drevo” on the verge of 70-80s. became the discoverer of a new folklore-performing movement in Ukrainian urban culture. From the late 1980s, new folklore ensembles of a similar direction began to appear in Kyiv, other cities of Ukraine, and in the 1990s, as well as in Poland.
The composition of the “Drevo” now: