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On the cover
¹7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cover Story

Krykhitka’s Kasha Saltsova

If you happened to be at What’s On Spring Flowers party last year, you may remember the petite, delicate, dark-haired young woman whose powerful vocals penetrate both the heart and soul. You might have not understood the lyrics of her songs – Kasha mainly sings in Ukrainian – but the emotion was definitely palatable. We profile the face of Krykhitka, Kasha Saltsova, who has made her mark as one of Ukraine’s best female rockers.

If you look at the Ukrainian music scene in the last 10 years, Kasha Saltsova (a remix of real name Sasha Koltsova) has been front-and-centre, marking her own territory, and gaining respect along the way: first as lead-vocalist with the band Krykhitka Tsakhes, which broke up in 2007 when guitarist Mikhon Hichan died; and from 2007, with the addition of new members, the reborn Krykhitka. All this time, Saltsova has been the “centre” of everything going on in the band – her meaningful lyrics, recognisable voice and disarming frankness on stage guarantee the band a devout following and the status of being regarded as highly professional and original musicians. We meet with Saltsova on the eve of Krykhitka releasing their new electronic single – Donor.

New Vibe
With their electronic programme, the band has been touring and showcasing the sound in Ukraine for more than a year. Saltsova says its creation was forced by circumstances that arose after bass guitarist Stas Halan left the band. “There were limited opportunities, so I used the chance to create a sort of minimalistic sound so that there’s a note of bass guitar and drum parts, live guitar (Mykola Matkovsky) and me on the keyboard and vocals,” she says, explaining the shift in the band’s sound.
However, the single will be kind of a full stop to this phase, Saltsova says, before taking up the challenge of working on a new phase in the group’s evolution. To provide free access to the single, Saltsova has come up with her take on the concept of “crowdfunding” - the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people. Dubbing her version “crowdrefunding” instead of using funds to start a project, she is hoping to recoup the expenses of a completed project: “We’ve checked all the possibilities of crowdfunding in Ukraine and realised it does not work so well here – we are not Amanda Palmer – we will not be able to raise $2 million or even 2000 Euros this way. But crowdrefunding will let us cover the production expenses, and as soon as we get the sum we spent on it, the single will be free to download.”
The debut album of Krykhitka is also available for free on the band’s website but, out of nearly 15,000 downloads from the site, only 2–3% of people paid the voluntary sum of money, which Saltsova says could cover the cost of just one song. For a Ukrainian band that does not want to conform to money chasing but stay independent, the common solution would be earning money away from music, leaving music as currency “for the soul” – to Saltsova it is a “hellish compromise”: “I’m now having fun creating a musical map of Ukrainian bands, says Koltsova. I’ve calculated there are about 240 bands in Ukraine and, for now, Ukrainian audiences cannot afford to subsidise so many of us.”

Summer Schedule and Goodbye?
For summer, Krykhitka has plans to perform in different corners of Ukraine: first it’s the Rock’n’Sich festival in Kyiv in June, then in August at Zahid fest in the Lviv region. At Zahid, Saltsova is promising to present a return to a more acoustic sound for Krykhitka, which will go on to be recorded on what she says is going to be the last album of the band. “You see, I’ve grown out of Krykhitka, and Ukraine can’t afford this band, so I’m thinking of finishing this story and starting a new one.”
Teasing about the future post-Krykhitka, Saltsova does not rule out some abrupt changes in musical genres and sound. “I’ve thought out a new genre for myself – the cyber-stage genre,” she says, adding she has returned to vocal classes and we can expect some interesting vocal experiments in the future.
Another “strong side” of Saltsova is her lyrics – loaded with self-analysis and reflection, subtle observations and feminine sensuality, her songs can be easily cut into quotes. Her lyrics are often referred to as intellectual, something Saltsova objects to: “You probably haven’t heard the Telnyuk Sisters! I know what is real poetry and what is trash, and the fact is trash – commercialised, ugly and a very often-plagiarised product – is massively promoted by leading media and people in power as the norm. It is shameful and very sad.”
Her pessimism has good grounds, she says, as she has witnessed changes in Ukraine’s radio and TV industries. “After years of successful existence of musical channels and stations, now TV and radio managers have lowered the intellectual quality presented to audiences to rock bottom. It’s frightening, because people who are in charge of managing Ukrainian culture, when this culture comes to them, say it’s not their format.”
To finish the conversation on a very mature note, Saltsova says change will only come when youth stop being apathetic. She believes it’s the every day job of the younger generation to make this country “normal”.

Krykhitka
Shkaf Club (Hretska 32), Odesa, 17 May at 20.00

Rock’n’Sich Festival
Trukhaniv Island, 8 – 9 June
For more information visit www.facebook.com/Kryhitkaband

Kateryna Kyselyova

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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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