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7 (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 EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys 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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Ukraine Abroad

Dazzle Dreams Electro-Pop Group Dreams of Nepal

Dazzle Dreams is a Ukrainian electro-pop project thats gaining popularity outside Ukraine. Their style is world music mixed with an electro-dance sound, but they also throw in some classical symphonic orchestra touches and ethno samples from all over the world. Recently they got back from Nepal. Viktoria Vasilchenko gets the story.


It was typical gloomy early spring morning in Kyiv when I met with the guys from Dazzle Dreams at the Shanti Tea Club at the Bessarabska Market. But Dimitri and Gregs mood obviously wasnt influenced by the weather. They looked so peaceful and relaxed in the Nepalese clothes they happened to be wearing that they looked like an advertisement for this hip, low-key, Eastern-inflected lounge. One might say that Whats On is a fan of Dazzle Dreams, liking their creative approach to their craft, but wed lost track of them since their song Shake Your Life became a hit early this year. What have they been doing since then? Enjoying the pop star life, relaxing by the pool and hitting the clubs over in Miami Beach? No. In fact theyve been in Nepal. The most interesting stuff started happening in Kyiv, as we had to change planes. Then our luggage got lost and we had to buy clothes, some of which were wearing now, by the way, smiles Dimitri, the fashionably scruffy band member who handles the groups singing and also pitches in with all the sampling and programming and electronic fiddling that produces their sound. What else besides nice bright Nepalese clothes did the guys bring back to Eastern Europe with them? A lot of new impressions and a whole bunch of new sounds. To tell you the truth, Dimitri says, everything was new and unusual for us. We visited so many places, but it feels like we saw only the smallest part of the country. We were searching for new sounds and samples so we tried to visit as many places as possible: Katmandu, Pokare, Nagarkot, Paktapur, Tell. We liked the ancient town of Patan. One week isnt enough to explore a country like that. So it turns out that Dazzle Dreams isnt necessarily the type of band who likes to take their vacations together. Rather, it was a working trip. Yes, [collecting music] was one of our main purposes, Dimitri says. We wanted to chat with the local musicians and record the sounds their musical instruments made. We managed to get samples of the gamoni, sengeball, digrado, and sarang. The sounds these instruments make cant be compared to others. Theyre absolutely unique. We gave some performances, but not in the clubs as we usually do. It wasnt our goal to give any concerts. We sang on the streets alongside local musicians or wherever we wanted. Most of the time it was spontaneous. I couldnt even dream of doing the same thing in Ukraine.

 A Non-Annoying Country
The question comes up of why Dazzle Dreams is so interested in relatively obscure ethnic music. Actually that was our starting point, Dimitri says. We never held back from sampling ethno music. If you take a good look at our songs youll feel the ethno influence. We call it soul music. Of course, weve also got so-called commercial songs like Shock Your Mind or Shake Your Life, but they tend to be an exception. The samples and songs that we recorded in Nepal will be used in our upcoming Dazzle Dreams Sound System project. The band members seemed in light spirits, indeed. Something seems to have happened to them in Nepal: its as if they were spiritually rejuvenated. It made me want to ask what, besides the obvious Buddhist influence and striking mountain vistas, was so special about that beautiful Himalayan country.

 You know, Nepal may be the only country in the world without any annoying factors, Dimitri says. We were really shocked to see such positive people.

 Its really surprising. Were used to aggressive Kyiv, but in Nepal it was completely the opposite. Everybody smiles and everybody is so kind and open-hearted. Even when we were walking down the streets at night in dangerous neighbourhoods full of prostitutes and drug dealers, we felt safe. Good heavens it seemed like Dimitri had been completely carried away with his Nepal odyssey. I wondered when hed get back down to earth. Anyway, it seems like the journey to Nepal inspired Dazzle Dreams not only to record hot new songs but also to continue their ethno-music quest. The next countries on their itinerary are Mongolia, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland, Tuva (a distant Siberian part of Russia), Armenia, Morocco, and the Congo. Whats On expects more sounds, more stories, and more photos from these guys. In the meantime a video diary of their journey can be seen on MTV or purchased on DVD. For a whole week, day by day and step by step, a cameraman followed Dazzle Dreams around, recording their every move. Judging from the Nepal pictures the boys passed along to us, the video is probably a treat for the eyes as well as the ears.

 Viktoria Vasilchenko


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Comments (5)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
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King Pigeon | 18.06.2009 04:49

I am extremely eager for their music to be made available in the United States--will that happen soon? "Dana She Dana" is awesome, and I quite like "Disco Killers" also. :-)


 
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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt 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 dont 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 childrens 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. Whats 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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