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¹7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard – and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Kyiv Culture
Finnish rockers Poets of the Fall took a different route to success from many other contemporary acts – rather than being manufactured by producers, going viral on YouTube, or being plucked from a TV talent show, they made their debut with a song for a video game. Late Goodbye written for Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne reached millions worldwide. Ten years and five albums down, the Poets are still going strong and they are bringing their hybrid sound to Kyiv this week.
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Try and look these guys up online and you’ll come up with a bunch of links for the “creative technique”. Include the word band, and you’re a little closer. However, there are still a couple of other options – a power metal group from Germany as well as an American funk and R&B group – you’ll have to wade through. What you’re looking for is the Latvian variant, which, in Brainstorm’s native tongue, is Prata Vetra.

His music was the soundtrack of a generation that lived through the turmoil of the Great Depression and World War II. Glenn Miller’s brand of swing music played a large part in people’s lives through the 30s and 40s as people tried to shake off the depression and the conflict by dancing. The language of swing is still spoken today by a number of musicians and swing bands and that includes the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which carries the torch for its namesake and brings it to Kyiv this week.

Seventy years ago, some light came to a city in the midst of its darkest days. On 6 November 1943, Kyiv was liberated after 779 days under Nazi Germany’s thumb. It was a city destroyed. Its wealth plundered, its infrastructure destroyed, its adults shipped out to work for the Nazi war machine, its children forced to work... Then there were the dead, as well as the thousands who died during the occupation, more than 220,000 – Jews, members of the resistance, and nationalists had been executed. Chillingly, it was a city where Ukrainians in authority turned on their own.

All that is written about her talks of her charming, demure demeanour. At 39, she continues to dazzle audiences with lead roles in the Mariinsky Ballet and beyond, yet she remains modest and youthful and stubbornly determined. She is Ukraine’s Ulyana Lopatkina, yet she also happens to be the “soul of Russia”.

Museums, galleries and exhibition centres become the centre of attention this season with a number of highly unique events taking place. We take in a couple of long-running but worthwhile exhibits recently opened in Kyiv – Titanic: The Exhibition and Mechanics of the Renaissance – and give you a preview of what your next weekend should include.

For many people the words “buena vista” simply mean “good view” in Spanish, but for fans of the rhythms of the Caribbean they have come to represent music courtesy of a late 90s album and subsequent documentary both known as Buena Vista Social Club. Now the words “buena vista” are inextricably linked to the music of Cuba, and in the spirit of the social club’s pioneers come a new act – Pasión de Buena Vista, which is set to take to the stage in Kyiv.

Russian rap star Basta, aka Vasiliy Vakulenko, is returning to Kyiv with his fourth album Basta 4, released earlier this year. A rapper with a 16-year career, a back catalogue of eight albums, and several different guises, his lyrics are confrontational and direct, as Basta addresses what he sees in the world around him and he does so without fear of judgement. He tells What’s On a little more about his music and his life philosophy in the run up to his show.
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The spring and autumn seasons are dotted (sometimes of the polka variety, depending on the trend at the time) with fashion events across the world. Here in Kyiv, the catwalk is being put to good use just as it would be in London, Paris and Tokyo and it’s thanks to one of the city’s most recent additions to the design sphere – Mercedes Benz Kyiv Fashion Days.

One of Norway’s most creative electronic-jazz musicians, Bugge Wesseltoft places his own spin on the genre. The same freeform improvisation characteristic of the work of the likes of Henry Mancini (think the jazz-idiom theme to The Pink Panther films) and the eclectic music of Alabama jazz great Sun Ra are encapsulated in Bugge’s future jazz or nu jazz. His compositions are equally at home with fans of deep house, techno, ambient, as well as traditional and experimental jazz purists. What’s On speaks to Wesseltoft ahead of his Kyiv gig this week.

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Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didn’t Know We Had

Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer­sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they don’t understand the meaning of these words.

Kyiv Culture

Pulling Strings
Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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