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Mykhailo Tafiichuk

Master of musical instruments, musician
Living (by) art
Living (by) art
Mykhailo Tafiichuk: workshop, tools, and rules of life

The Legend of Hutsul Instrument

Visiting this yellow and blue house on Bukovets Passover is an opportunity to witness human talent combined with incredible diligence and unique character. Mykhailo Tafiichuk, one of the most famous masters of Hutsul folk instruments, lives here. He knows how to work, joke and has special views on life.

Tafiychuk was born in 1939 and from the age of 14 he worked as a blacksmith on a collective farm in Yaseniv, six kilometers from his home. He forged horses, drove carts, sledges, and made plows. But at the same time, he loved music the most in his life. Not just to play, but to create musical instruments on his own. He never learned this, but he could always just look at the musical instrument and do the same.

It is the middle of the autumn on the outside, but the breath of winter is already well felt in the mountain villages – the wind and the piercing cold do not help to conduct street conversations. That’s why Tafiichuk is leading us to the workroom. You have to be careful from the threshold so as not to hit your head on the door frame. The ceiling is low to keep the place warm. He spent thousands of hours at work here and now his instruments are played all around the world.

People come to me all the time. I cannot even name the country, whose representatives haven`t been here. The whole world already knows me, I wouldn't hide anywhere,

In addition to musical instruments, he himself made chisels, lathes, axes and drills. He cooks iron in a kiln – as it was before. He often works at night and sleeps for a few hours a day – he no longer wants to sleep. And only after waking up he does think about the work that needs to be started.

Here it is necessary to finish the funnel, here to glue and finish the top so that it plays,

Tafiychuk is looking for wood for the instruments himself. Hazel, elder, sycamore. He asks among the people who are planning to cut down or they tell him what is somewhere.

People constantly come to Tafiichuk’s house. Guests are always treated with herbal hot tea and honey. That’s how you sit by the stove where you just threw firewood, look at the carpet with deer, listen to Hutsul warm-ups and don’t want to go anywhere.

Mr. Mykhailo admits that it is already difficult for him to play his instruments – his hand hurts. But it is still taken to demonstrate how each of them sounds. It’s not worth playing for everyone – there are too many of them. And although hundreds of journalists and other interested people came to his house, he never tires of telling his musical story over and over again. He says the following about his rules of life:

I was never drunk, I never smoked, I never had fights with anyone. I am very capricious, but my wife understood me.

On the weekend, Mr. Mykhailo also does not sit idle. He admits that companies are not very attractive to him. He enjoys playing or talking to a smart person. He is against alcohol and smoking, because with them a person loses a lot of time. Tafiychuk lived in the mountains all his life. Here in this neat courtyard with a yellow and blue house with blue windows. More than once he went abroad, but always returned. He was in Europe many times, and once lived in New York for six weeks.

I could barely stand it! They offered me a job at the philharmonic, but I don't like the city. I love music very much and I think we need to do something like this in life to surprise the world, to make it interesting for people.

And he continues to surprise.
Author of the text Natalia Patrikeeva
Photo author Serhii Havryliuk

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