With One Voice - Ukrainian Music Creators Special Edition
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In this special edition we get the view from Ukrainian music creators inside Ukraine, and from the sanctuary of neighbouring Poland, about the impact of the Russian invasion on their lives, music, and homeland.
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The View from Ukraine
Oleh Mykhailyuta, Ukrainian songwriter, frontman of TNMK band, member of Supervisory Board of Ukrainian authors’ society NGO UACRR.
Ukrainian creators are fighting bravely to protect their land and their culture. This war has been going for centuries, in various cold and hot phases. Now is the hot phase again.
Russia has always tried to impose its imperialistic narrative and dominate Ukraine by destroying our culture, by forbidding Ukrainian language, by killing creators and intellectuals. However, it has never succeeded and will never succeed. Ukrainian people and Ukrainian artists are strong and united and with the incredible support of the international community, we will prevail.
Some of us had to lay down our instruments and take guns, some tour across the world selflessly to raise as much money for Ukraine as possible, some keep on creating in Ukraine or temporarily outside to preserve the culture, to convey our emotions, to tell our story to the world.
I joined territorial defense in Kyiv in the first days of the war and was there for my city in the darkest time possible. Now I combine protection of my country with charity concerts in Europe to be able to help my country on the cultural front as well.
The View from Poland
Valerii Kharchyshyn, Ukrainian songwriter, frontman of Druha Rika band, Director General Ukrainian authors’ society NGO UACRR.
Ukrainian creators have a very important mission today – we have to protect our culture, our national identity, keep the spirit of our nation at the highest, and spread the truth about this war across the world. The Ukrainian creative sector didn’t have a chance to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic as the war started.
This is an incredibly difficult time for us and requires a lot of passion, resoluteness and perseverance. Ukrainian creators lost their sources of income, some lost their homes, some had to relocate. My house in Hostomel was destroyed by a Russian rocket. My kids have nowhere to return now.
But we are strong with the support of our international friends. Our international family of creators demonstrated an incredible power of unity and solidarity with Ukrainian creators. We are grateful to the international initiative “Creators for Ukraine” initiated by our Polish colleagues at ZAIKS and supported by the entire community of CISAC. Many CMOs in neighboring countries launched various programs to support Ukrainian creators and their families.
My family has benefited from the “Zaiks for Ukraine” program as they are currently in Warsaw and this made their stay easier. All this incredible support and cooperation demonstrates that we are an integral part of the European cultural sector. This message was conveyed during our visit to Brussels last week where we met with representatives of the EU Parliament and European Commission. Joint projects with European creators are an important part of the support to Ukrainian creators.
We call upon our fellow creators to get in touch and help us tell the world about our beautiful, rich and diverse Ukrainian culture.
Andrii Merkhel, Ukrainian performer, composer, curator of theatrical and artistic projects, author of numerous works for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles and music for theatre. He is the co-founder and manager of an artistic ensemble "Sed Contra Ensemble", the founder of the "Ars Teteriv Stage" Festival, curator of the Music and Theater Laboratory “Sound. Voice. Silence “.
The war destroyed the usual cultural and artistic ties between countries. Cultural workers and artists are especially in need of help because they are the voice of the nation and the country: they create and sustain national culture, represent national identity on the international stage and establish contacts with other cultures to reflect social and artistic processes. The year 2022 revealed two important processes in the context of Ukrainian-Polish relations: first, the creation and development of Ukrainian identity; second, the strengthening of emigration and integration activities. Ukrainian society is thus divided not only ideologically, but also economically, geographically and culturally. The willingness of artists to express themselves during the war and in the post-war period depends on the level of emotional and media shock of the audience. The public is not always able to perceive reality directly as it happens. Media entertainment and media information generates doom scrolling, while new and promising synthetic types of art can sublimate the "silence of the majority" into a common (for Ukrainian and Polish culture) mythology.
The war in Ukraine has changed the point of view of the value of art in the modern world. Habitual methods and mechanisms of art are depleting, because the most powerful influence is reality. Now for me, as an author, the "buffer zone" continues. I pay attention to one aspect of the existence of the Music of the Postwar Future. What is it like? Is the music empty and silent because of the upheavals of war and related events? Sounds by degrees of silence?