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Солідарність з Україною

Solidarity with Ukraine

On the night of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, musicians Les Claypool of Primus and Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello joined forces to collaborate on a joint release aimed at rallying support for the Ukrainian people. Followed by a series of compilation releases from various countries around the world, all with the goal of providing financial assistance to the Ukrainian people who found themselves thrust into the struggles caused by the Russian invasion that began on the morning of February 24, 2022. (It is important to note that the underlying conflict had actually started years earlier, in 2014).

The scale of belligerents, casualties, and other losses in this conflict is staggering, and life for Ukrainians has been forever changed. Like any conflict, its repercussions have had significant global effects, but for many of us, it is difficult to fully comprehend the experiences they are going through.

Numerous Ukrainian bands and musicians have embarked on tours and projects to financially support the cause. In addition to the collaboration between Les Claypool and Eugene Hütz, notable bands such as Jinjer and Gogol Bordello have announced tours in 2022 and 2023 to lend their support. One particularly significant event is the upcoming 'Lviv Aid' concert on June 24 in Wembley Stadium, named after the Ukrainian city that has been heavily impacted by the war with Russia. The concert will feature performances by renowned bands like The Rolling Stones, U2, Pink, and The Killers. Concerts and events spanning various genres and media are taking place worldwide.

On June 20, Gypsy punk rock band Gogol Bordello will be returning to Malta as part of their 2023 Solidaritine European tour, which began in May and is scheduled to take them to the US in July and August before concluding in Europe.

Their first visit was in 2018, 30th July, when they played the same venue.

Formed in 1999 by a group of musicians hailing from various parts of the globe, Gogol Bordello is a punk rock band based in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Renowned for their captivating stage performances and unwavering commitment to touring, the band infuses elements of Romani music with punk and dub, incorporating instruments like accordion, violin, and occasionally saxophone into their distinctive sound.

Solidaritine European Tour

25 May Glasgow, UK – SWG3 Galvanizers

30 May Osnabrück, DE – Rosenhof

1 June Amsterdam, NL – Melkweg Max

3 June Antwerp, BE – De Roma

4 June Hamburg, DE – Markthalle

7 June Ulm, DE – Roxy

8 June Berlin, DE – Huxleys Neue Welt

9 June Warsaw, PL – Klub Stodola

10 June Poznań, PL – Klub Muzyczny B17

11 June Krakow, PL – Studio Krakow

13 June Frankfurt, DE – Batschkapp

17 June Paris, FR – Élysée Montmartre

18 June Luxembourg, LU – Den Atelier

20 June San Gwann, MT -Aria Complex

22 June Cologne, DE – Live Music Hall

Supporting act for the night are Brikkuni, who are frequently acknowledged for revitalizing Maltese sung pop music, and has been making waves since their influential debut album 'Kuntrabanda' in 2008. This genre-defying blend of pop, rock, and punk propelled the band to become a local cult sensation, leading the way for a fresh wave of alternative Maltese music.

However, what do these events truly mean to those directly affected by the war in Ukraine or those who have had to flee their homes, leaving behind their normal lives with an uncertain future?

To explore this question, we reached out to several individuals from diverse walks of life, all with significant connections to Ukraine, asking them, "How crucial is the contribution of bands like Gogol Bordello, Jinjer, and other Ukrainian bands and musicians in terms of touring and releasing new material, with all proceeds going toward supporting Ukraine?"

These are their replies:

Liudmyla Tkachuk (Ukrainian, under International Protection in Malta):

«Ukrainian bands and musicians play a vital role in representing Ukrainian culture and identity to a global audience. Their music often incorporates elements of traditional Ukrainian music and folklore, helping to preserve and promote the country's rich cultural heritage. By showcasing the uniqueness of Ukrainian music and art, these bands can create a stronger appreciation for Ukraine and its people. It can encourage people to engage with the cause, donate, and take action to help our country. Additionally, it can foster a sense of national pride and unity among Ukrainians themselves»

Anna Turanska (Ukrainian, representative of the Ukrainian Community in Malta):

"The contribution of bands like Gogol Bordello, Jinjer, and other Ukrainian bands and musicians in terms of touring and releasing new music, with all proceeds going towards the support of Ukraine, is incredibly crucial. Not only do these bands bring attention to the rich and diverse music scene in Ukraine, but they also act as cultural ambassadors, spreading awareness about the country's struggles and aspirations. The funds generated from their music contribute directly to supporting Ukraine's ongoing challenges, such as social and economic development, humanitarian aid, and infrastructure rebuilding, making their contribution vital for the country's progress."

Zhenya Fesenko (resident of Kyiv, Ukraine):

"The contribution of the bands is invaluable. First of all, for the support for our army, the country's economy, and war victims.

Second of all, is the necessity of spreading of information about what is happening in Ukraine and about the scale of the war. This is a reminder that the war is not over and a call to support and help. Such bands carry emotions from their music and at the same time help those who protect their home, their country. It is about rebirth of emotions and experiences through music. It is about our right to creativity and joy despite war and sorrow. It's about unification through music. We can say that musicians also defend us on the cultural front and carry our music to the whole world, while the aggressor tries to destroy us both physically and culturally".

John Debono (Ambassador of Malta to Ukraine):

During the last year we have seen all kinds of Ukrainian musicians and singers touring every corner of the world and contributing to the defence of their motherland in a different way. Apart from the aspect of support, most importantly is the exposure they give to their country through their performances and the messages they are managing to communicate.

Nigel Camilleri (Director NnG Promotions Ltd):

Bands with a Ukrainian element in their lineup, as are Gogol Bordello, or who are pro-Ukraine help mainly in promoting what is going on in Ukraine at the moment.

Of course there are people who might not agree with them but I Believe what they are doing helps on two levels.

Firstly such bands are helping put out the word of what is going on in a language which is readily understood by their fans – which is their music. Sometimes it has seen the band go back to their roots (often punk) and churn out new music in that genre – which is what has happened for example with Gogol Bordello and their new album Solidaritine.

Secondly I also believe that it is cathartic for those Ukrainian musicians who are away from their homeland and cannot directly help the war effort by being there – Thus they feel that they are also helping out by releasing music which has a more patriotic tone and also help by organising the raising of funds for humanitarian purposes either as proceeds from their recorded music, live music as well as from merchandise sales.

Tickets for the fundraising concert at Aria Complex can be bought here.

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