With the poorly developed domestic music market and industry, most Ukrainian artists only have two options. The first is to sing in Russian, focusing on the equally underdeveloped post-Soviet Russian World-dominated market. The second is to create something that sounds like Western music and sing in English, mostly in pop rock, synthpop or French house – a new genre of background dance electronic music, with catchy sentimental lyrics. They sporadically pop up on the Western market. With hardly any competitors in these genres in Ukraine, they have plenty elsewhere. Compared to them, projects with exotic and authentic elements of world music have a better chance of standing out on the international scene. Still, some Ukrainian bands singing in English make it onto the international arena. As a result, they often get to perform at prestigious international music festivals and sign contracts with well-known record labels. At home, they are mostly popular with the audience that knows music and appreciates their quality audio and visual product, forgiving the fact that these bands do not offer something really original.
The band is a veteran on the Ukrainian English-language music scene. Since 2000, the band has been playing in downbeat house, their audio and visual style minimalistic. The band includes Alex Jr. (Oleksandr Zhyzhchenko), Playone (Pavlo Lenchenko) and Nata Zhyzhchenko as lead singer. Their first album came out in 2004.
This is another old-school band created in 2007. Gorchitza’s style is a combination of disco house, funk and synthpop. Their former lead singer Alla Moskovka once sang in Tomato Jaws. She left the band last year to start her own solo career. She was replaced by Olia Dibrova. The band has played at the Sopot International Song Festival in Poland, performed as an opening act for Nelly Furtado and Morcheeba, and signed a contract with EMI Music.
The solo project of Yevhen Filatov, musician and producer, released its debut record First Look in 2008. It plays disco house, funk and an upgraded version of the 1980s synthpop. The project includes Yevhen Filator as lead DJ, lead singer and songwriter; Maksym Shevchenko on guitar; Andriy Hahauz on bass guitar; and Denis Marinkin on drums. Thanks to The Maneken, Ukrainian music is now sold in some remote corners of the world, such as Japan. Yet, the band’s success story proves the sad trend: Yevhen first arranged to distribute his music all over the world through the Virgin Records UK, followed by Russia and finally Ukraine.
The sunny indie rock band with sweet boy vocals emerged in 2009. Music inspirations for their lead singer, Dmytro Snizhko, ranged from Freddy Mercury to Robbie Williams. Champagne Morning is like a nicely wrapped candy with a filling of lyrics about love and the expectation of miracles. Other band members include Maks Sabodash on keyboards, Yuriy Zachary on drums and Alex Chunin on bass guitar. A year after they started playing together, their first single Miracle came out on Ukrainian radio. Within a short time, Miracle made it into top five on Amazing Radio UK and Indie Dial Radio US. BBC Introducing aired them three times.
The band blew onto the Ukrainian stage in 2011 with a much heavier version of synthpop and ambitions lyrics. It was born from the Val & Sanina project when Julia Sanina, lead singer and songwriter, met Valeriy Bebko, bass guitarist and music producer for The Hardkiss, for an interview. They were later joined by Paul on keyboards and Kreechy on drums. Shortly after this, in October 2011, The Hardkiss performed as an opening act for the British band Hurts. In February 2012, The Hardkiss signed a contract with Sony BMG and the French Eye-Models agency. Since then, their Dance With Me video has been played all over the world.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The Ukrainian Week offers a selection of concerts and exhibitions which will take place in Ukraine in the first half of April
The stage name for Alla Moskovka, former lead singer of Gorchitza, who left the band last year to start a solo career. Her style currently is lyrical R’n’B inspired by Whitney Houston but closer to Beyonce.
April 2, 8-10 p.m.
French Spring 2013 festival opening
Hryshko Botanical Garden
(1, vul. Tymiriazivska, Kyiv)
Real spring will hit Ukraine along with the tenth French Spring. The festival will open with the La Machine street theatre – this time, they will stage the Fires, a fireworks show. As always, the festival will present the latest creations of French threatres, music and literature. Playwright Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt will be the special guest of this anniversary Spring, whose plays will be staged as part of the festival programme. Other events worth seeing include the premiere of the film Mebius, the Tiger Tiger Burning Bright dance show and a gig from singer Zaza Fournier.
Yakiv Greter Art Gallery presents a collective exhibition of paintings by Ukrainian artists that is a mix of different schools and styles. Pieces by well-known Ukrainian classical and talented young artists will create a single art space that offers a message of constant progress and the transformation of art with the change of generations. The only thing that remains unchanged though, is the essence and role of art.
Georgian jazz will once again fill the hearts of Ukrainian music lovers with pure joy. Nino Katamadze and her band, Insight, will play their best songs from the Green programme, as well as other hit tracks. Green is Nino’s latest album, released in 2011. “Don’t try to understand it; just take it in large doses as a prevention of loneliness, stress, aggression and skepticism,” critics recommend. Indeed, her music brings lightness and peace.
April 11, 7 p.m. Zemfira
Palats Sportu (Sports Palace)
(1, Sportyvna Ploshcha, Kyiv)
The Russian rock singer and songwriter will tour Ukrainian cities to promote her new album To Live in Your Head, officially released on February 14. The lucky cities include Odesa, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Donetsk. Critics describe the record as personal, intimate and honest. Zemfira says that to a large extent, the album is the product of her admiration of rhythms and riffs. After a long break, this latest record is critically acclaimed and unanimously appreciated by her fans.
April 11, 7 p.m.
Ukrayina Arts Palace
(103, vul. Velyka Vasylkivska, Kyiv)
The breathtaking sounds of synthesizers and authentic instruments brought world fame to Yanni. A self-taught performer, he developed his own rhythmic and solfeggio system to become one of the most popular multi-instrumentalists in the world. He composes his own songs and performs them in a way that no one else could. His style is an exotic combination of popular tunes and classical music. This is the way Yanni uses to conduct a dialogue with the audience, communicating his own emotions to the listeners through various instruments.
Balmorhea is a sextet from Austin, Texas. It plays a fusion of contemporary experimental acoustic rock with elements of classical music. Most of its tracks feature acoustic guitar, chello, piano, violin. Some involve banjo, double bass, voices and street noise. The list of inspirations for members includes Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, Jimmy Page, Claude Debussy and more.
The shambolic renovation of the Central Electoral Commission, which has been in progress for several years now, looks about to be finally concluded. On Feb. 5, the President submitted a list of candidates to the Verkhovna Rada and this suggests that the process is finally being unblocked