There’s never too much music, and never enough attention on independent artists and labels. The reality is that Ukrainian artists – like so much of eastern Europe – often got little recognition even as their cities grew as international party destinations. So let’s do what we always do, and love music – right on to the weird and unheard.
None of this should stand in for direct aid and support, of course. At the same time, whether you’re connected directly to this war or watching from fair away, you’re no use as an ally if you run yourself down. You need sleep. You need to stay hydrated and fed. (I’m absolutely serious.) And I think you need to keep yourself musically fed and hydrated, too.
That means more music – something we should extend not only to Ukrainian artists but also folks from the rest of the world, some of whom are now refugees a second time over in Ukraine.
Thanks to the collective effort that produced this. It’s a great guide. It’s also essential because while well-meaning artists from the rest of the world are organizing benefits, we need to hear from Ukrainian voices.
We should also be realistic – there are artists and culture workers who are right now directly involved in defending their homes and figuring out how to get loved ones to safety. So let’s refrain from bugging them directly, but do amplify their music and give them passive income or donate directly to aid agencies they ask us to support.
Check out the full growing spreadsheet, and feel free to add material that’s missing and let us know in comments if there’s stuff we should hear:
As one of the organizers tells us, “this was made as an open-source document with intention of multiple contributors helping create a direct income line for those affected after receiving messages from friends. Direct humanitarian aid remains the priority!”
(Well worth noting how the Black Bandcamp effort grew … or years before that, Female Pressure!)
Related: the “Eastern Bloc” database of antifascist Eastern European artists
I just want to highlight a few selections so you don’t just get lost there…
First up, ШЩЦ the label I’ve mentioned a couple of times before (and which is already in the spreadsheet – checked!) has a mix out now.
I feel it’s important to give space for their whole message – and yes, let’s respect all the diversity, complex history, colors, and different faiths and cultures on the European continent:
It’s a mix of Ukrainian music to help people who are in a bomb shelter now, for our friends who are in civil defense, and for brave Ukrainian soldiers. We are musicians and volunteers. There is a website where people can donate to support Ukrainian volunteers and the army: standforukraine.com/
If you have PayPal only you can donate on our Bandcamp page and we will send money to ukrainian volunteers – ssshitsss.bandcamp.com/
Also, there is an official news channel with online updates: www.pravda.com.ua/eng/
The main goal of this mix it’s to spread the word about the war that Russia brought for Ukraine, to show how people from the whole world can help, and to show links with true information. Russians kill civil people in Ukraine, bombing houses and spreading propaganda. Together we can stop them. Now are contacted a few radiostations around the world who will broadcast this mix.
ШЩЦ (wwwvvv.net) is a label of friends. We made a compilation a couple years ago with 20 ukrainian electronic musicians and all of us now fight against Russia.
Russia for almost thousand years try to kill Ukraine, our language, people and identity.
Russian propaganda says that Ukrainians and Russians is a one nation (or Russians is a big brother of Ukrainians) but it isn’t true. Our history, language, anthropology – is different. It’s a fact.
Russian appetites to capture Ukraine started from Mongolian invasion of Kyivan Rus’ in the beginning of XIII century. East-North principalities of Kyivan Rus’ (now West Russia) surrendered and paid tribute to Mongol Empire, then they start to assimilate with mongols. But rest of Kyivan Rus’ (where Ukraine now) was in fight. Kyiv was burned by Mongols in 1240 and all Kyivan Rus’ fell apart and was in total ruin. In that time Moscow principality became stronger and stronger and they captured independent Kyiv a few times (because Kyiv was a nominal capital of Kyivan Rus’) in a hope to annex it to their country and to proclaim a new Kyivan Rus’.
Then Lithuanian knights come to Kyiv and gave protection for Kyiv and Ukraine. After, Poland became stronger and assimilated with Lithuania so Ukraine became part of Poland Empire. Poles started to exploit Ukrainian peasants so why the Cossacks appeared. It was free people who fought against exploitation and to the independence of Ukraine. This fight outgrow in a Ukrainian National Revolution (1648-1676) in which all Ukrainians took part. Bohdan Khmelnytskiy was the leader of this revolution and he was forced to seek protection from Moscow. But Moscow violated the contract and annexed Ukraine into Russian Empire. They putted a puppet regime for three hundred years, destroyed cossacks and even burned and changed historical chronicles about Ukraine.
In the beginning of XX century Russia Empire fell apart and Ukraine proclaimed independence. Unfortunately for a few years because a new communist regime of Russia invaded Kyiv again. They declared that Ukrainians wanted to join Soviet Union and communist ideology, but it was untrue. After that they shot away all intelligentsia, writes, musicians, painters who stood for independent Ukraine. Also they made a Holodomor (‘to kill by starvation’ Great Famine) for two years in Ukraine villages to force people to join Soviet Union. Around 5 millions people died of starvation!
And now after Soviet Union fell apart Russians all time try to destabilize Ukraine, try to to put puppet regimes, try to rebuild Soviet Union, and after Maidan (which was stand for European independent Ukraine) they start a war with us again. Russia and Putin can’t accept rich and successful Ukraine, because it shows to Russians that democracy and freedom is much better than autocratic regime.
This is war between democratic Ukraine which shares values of human rights and freedom against autocratic military Russia. It is the war between good and evil. And good will win! Because we defend our home and families.via Soundcloud, statement by ШЩЦ
Meaningfully, it’s actually tough to nail down what defines “Ukrainian” partly because the scene there has been so collaborative and international (like the Ukravan project I mentioned in recent days). So for instance, there’s the excellent Krill Records, a “Bergen/Kyiv based label established in Buenos Aires Argentina in 2011.”
Or take the work by this Vilnius group to feature new music by Ukrainian composers:
Kyiv’s own Standard Deviation has some fantastic music out:
Krill is working together with Kyiv Dots on a compilation; I know a couple others are inbound:
I’ve been a great fan of Yan Cook for a while now so deserves a special shout out:
Kyiv gets all the attention, but the entire country is dotted with unique music scenes. From Kharkiv, for instance, comes DJ Sacred:
Actually, I’m just going to stop for now and let you dig; I’ll see if I can manage a mix later and give y’all a playlist / Buymusicclub links.
See also last week: