‘Dance like there is no tomorrow’: Ukraine’s wartime music scene | Russia-Ukraine war

Winford Hunter

Pay attention to this tale:

Lviv and Kyiv, Ukraine – Boghdan Sulanov, the fast-speaking vocalist of a large metallic rock band called YAD, traverses a crammed backstage region. He edges previous a guitarist who has just finished a significant-octane, adrenaline-fuelled established, leaving him drenched in sweat, and reaches a compact desk piled with audio products, tea and biscuits. From beneath the table, he fishes out a rucksack with the garments he will quickly don onstage.

The concert hall, an personal location in the western Ukrainian metropolis of Lviv, is covered in new music posters and on a night in early February, it is packed with various hundred rock fans eagerly awaiting the up coming performance. The ambiance is electric powered, and Sulanov is fired up.

“Young people didn’t appreciate audio in the exact way prior to the war,” says the 33-calendar year-previous, referring to Russia’s whole-scale invasion of his indigenous Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

“Our band normally sing about our difficulties, and proper now, it is that we want to survive,” states Sulanov, as he will take in the frenetic backstage ambiance.

Yad 1-8: The Band YAD perform in Lviv
Boghdan Sulanov, the lead signer of YAD, says his band these times sings about wanting to endure the war [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

Through the weekdays, Sulanov is effective as a application developer, but in his totally free time, he’s a rock star. “We all will need to function, but we also will need strength, and this can arrive from songs!” he suggests, before politely excusing himself to put together for his set.

On stage, Bohdana Nykyforchyn, a 35-year-aged singer with shoulder-size dyed crimson hair, screams into a microphone though her bandmate pounds away on a drum established.

Nykyforchyn transports the space as a result of a selection of feelings, alternating involving gentle melodic tones and extra intense, quick-paced vocals. At just one level, her voice cracks, and she appears to be like she might cry. Immediately after her established, she points out why. “I am 8 months expecting, and my dream was to climb this phase,” she claims. “When the second tune arrived on, I felt all my feelings bubble up. My hormones are almost everywhere!”

Bohdana Nykyforchyn, who is eight months pregnant, performs in Lviv
Bohdana Nykyforchyn, who is eight months expecting, performs in Lviv [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

Backstage, Sulanov has transitioned into his on-stage persona, dressed all in white. His eyes peer by means of a balaclava with the terms “not nice” emblazoned on it.

The customers of YAD run out onto the stage, and the viewers, ranging from fresh-faced teenagers to gray-haired middle-aged rockers, erupts in enjoyment. The men and women standing in the front row scream out the text to their songs, together with a youthful boy who seems to be to be about 10 yrs old. The guitarist briefly stops strutting all around the phase when he spots the boy and provides him a heartfelt thumbs-up.

Marichka Chichkova, the event organiser who is serving to out at the bar, admits that though weighty metal is not her chosen music style, she is happy to see all the persons making the most of on their own. She appears up at the phase and remarks, “It’s also a launch for musicians this is incredibly critical, too”.

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