Iryna Kulshenko woke up at 5:30 in the morning of February 24 to the sound of windows shattering. “A fragment of a rocket fell near a residential building,” she says today, who hid in an air-raid shelter with her mother, her boyfriend, her sister and three cats. Iryna was born in Zhovti Vody in central Ukraine and has lived in the country’s capital, Kyiv, for 17 years. “I was completely satisfied,” she says. “Making music…until the war came.”
Between 2012 and 2018, Iryna was one of the three women who formed one of the country’s top bands, Panivalkova. This group competed to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017. They released albums in 2014 and 2016, the last of which Донтворі, is excellent, sort of a meeting point between traditional Ukrainian folklore and the unhinged beauty of Björk. Now she performs solo as Kulshenka. “I can’t listen to music right now,” she says. “I don’t want the music I like to be associated with war. Silence is the best music right now.”
And yet Iryna is sure that Ukrainian music will rise again. “Our music is real art,” she says, “not fashion.” She talks about the fiery Maidan uprising of 2013, the wave of protests that swept across the country against government corruption, human rights abuses and the decision Getting closer to Russia than to the EU. She sent then-President Viktor Yanukovych into exile.
“During this period, Ukrainian music flourished,” says Iryna. “Ukrainians are rebels. We are free people. We have always fought for our freedom and always expressed that through our culture.”
“There’s something unique about the Ukrainian mindset,” explains Peter Solowaka, guitarist for UK-based Ukrainian language group The Ukrainians. “Ukrainian history is a rebel history. For 300 years, other cultures have tried to impose their own way of life against them. This conflict has come. It could not live next to a country like Russia, which is not known for its freedoms or democracy as Ukrainians understand it.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/ukrainian-people-rebels-musicians-keeping-culture-alive/ how musicians are keeping their culture alive