Since the beginning of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, many significant videos of individuals performing the Ukrainian National Anthem and other patriotic songs have flooded the internet. One of the earliest was a heartbreaking video of a woman singing the Ukrainian National Anthem while brushing shards of glass off her window, a young Ukrainian girl singing ‘Let it go’ in a bomb shelter, and a chilling performance of the Ukrainian anthem by a trumpeter in the Ukrainian city of Sumy.
As the conflict rages on, Ukraine celebrated its 31st Independence day on August 24, 2022. The music community continued to spread the message of peace through music, charity concerts, fundraisers, and even clean-up rave parties. Looking back from the beginning of the war, here is a list of songs with the message of restoring peace in Ukraine.
Peace, Be Still – Bria Blessing
Although born in Houston, Texas, singer-songwriter Bria Blessing spent most of her adult life in Lviv, Ukraine. In her musical endeavors, she has performed at several charity concerts for Ukraine and regularly delivers updates about Ukraine on her YouTube channel. In March 2022, she released ‘Peace, Be Still,’ a Gospel song with a message of hope for Ukraine. As Bria is proficient in both English and Ukrainian, the song is produced in both languages. All proceeds from the views of this music video would be used to assist Ukrainians in Ukraine.
With the release of the song, she commented, “All life has stopped for me now. I am releasing this song in both English and Ukrainian, with prayers that it will bring peace to the hearts and minds of Ukrainians, but also to yours, as well.”
Ghosts of Kyiv -Saher Galt
Saher Galt is a singer, music composer, and producer known for his vocal coaching and music production tutorial videos on YouTube. He is also one-half of the rock duo Galt Aureus. In February 2022, he released ‘Ghosts of Kyiv,’ a composition with lyrics alluding to the many events of Ukraine’s struggle.
Lyrically referenced is the Ukrainian lady handing out sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers, the incident on Snake Island where Ukrainian soldiers responded, “Russian warship, Go f*ck yourself” when asked to surrender and chestnut trees which are a symbol of Kyiv.
Peace Becomes Ukraine – Paloma Sridhar
Paloma Sridhar is an Indian-born Ukrainian singer, songwriter, performer, and canvas painter. Her acoustic single, ‘Peace Becomes Ukraine’, was released in June 2022. It is a single that appeals for peace in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis. This was her first music video filmed in Ukraine and intercuts between her singing and visuals of damaged cities across Ukraine.
She wrote her thoughts regarding the song in an Instagram post, she said, “For me, the war in Ukraine is so much more real because I continue to live here in spite of. I started writing the chorus part of this song during the early weeks of the war. I debated if it was even appropriate for me to sing under these circumstances at all. But it’s the job of artists to reflect on the times, and I’ve tried to do that with this song. I hope you will enjoy it.”
We Stand Together – Charity Single for Ukraine
‘We Stand Together’ is a charity single released in March 2022. Musician Lua wrote the song. For this project, she teamed up with a host of artists from Georgia. This includes musicians Magda Ivanishvili, Sandro Bibich, Lexo Ratiani, and the Gori Women’s Choir, to name a few.
The three-minute single has over 50,000 views on YouTube and over 80,000 streams on Spotify. Subsequently, a behind-the-scenes video featuring the artists and musicians expressing their support for Ukraine was also released.
Stefania – Kalush Orchestra
‘Stefania’ is a single by the Ukrainian hip-hop and folk-rap outfit Kalush. It was the winner of the Eurovision Contest 2022. ‘Stefania’ features a melodious flute rhythm, a well-balanced combination of folk and rap, and powerful lyrics. The music video is filled with the devastation in the Ukrainian cities. It was recorded amidst the wreckage left behind by Russian forces in cities Bucha, Irpen, Gostomel, and Borodyanka.
Vocalist Oleh Psiuk informed BBC News, “The song was originally about my mum. Not a single lyric is about the war. But now, for many Ukrainians, its become a symbol of this war. Even my perception of the song has changed. I now identify it with Ukraine today, not just my mum.”
Cry For Hope – Michael W. Smith
Award-winning musician Michael W. Smith wrote an instrumental composition as a prayer for Ukraine in April 2022. It was performed with a full symphony orchestra. The music video, which aired in August 2022, shows scenes of mass migrations, ruined Ukrainian towns, and humanitarian efforts.
As per the official press release of the piece, Micheal said, “After watching the news and the devastation in Ukraine, like most of the world, I was in tears. Over the next few days, this melody just kept coming back to me and just spoke a message that no words could convey.”
ODYSSAY – Live @ Radio Intense Ukraine
Usually, a library is a place of silence, with texts preserving vast amounts of information; however, for Ukraine’s Independence Day, The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine hosted a progressive house and techno performance. This was also a fundraiser for Ukraine with Ukrainian singer, songwriter, and music producer Odyssay on stage. The half-hour set commenced with ‘Freedom‘ and was followed up with ‘Rise’, ‘Together’, and ‘Keeping It’.
Odyssay commented about this performance on Instagram. He said, “I recorded a live stream in the cultural heart of the country, the Vernadsky Library of Ukraine, the main library of Ukraine. This is where the history of our nation is preserved. If we remember our history, we can build our future.”
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