Do you know that the Ukrainian language is one of the most melodic in the world? In this TOP there is best Ukrainian performers and we hope they will appear in more than one of your playlists.
10. Potap i Nastya
Potap and Nastia’s duet created in 2006 are very popular in Ukraine, they became especially popular thanks to their first song “Ne para” and at together they released three albums, “Shield and Ball”, Myach, Bce Puckom. Potap was born into a Ukrainian family; a singer and composer, he is currently working as a producer in the record company ‘’Empire Label”. And Nastya, born to a Jewish father and a Ukrainian mother, studied music in France, Italy and Ukraine. The talented Nastya, who had done ballet for 8 years, demonstrated her skills in 2009 with by participating in Ukrainian’s “Dancing with the stars.’’
In 2014, this duet was heavily criticized in Ukraine for participating in an award ceremony in Russia, where they won a ‘’Golden Gramophone”. Some Ukrainians were outraged that the musicians were performing there, while their country was subject to Russia’s aggression. And in 2016, Potap and Nastya’s concerts were boycotted in Ukraine because they went on tour in Russia.
The folk quartet consisting of Marko Galanevych, Olena Tsybulska, Iryna Kovalenko, Nina Garenetska combines various ethnic styles in their music, which does not leave anyone indifferent. Dakha Brakha is a Dakha Contemporary Art Center project lead by Vladyslav Troitsky, who is also the producer of the band. It was theatre work that left a very striking footprint in the group’s performances: their performances are always live and always with stage effects.
By experimenting with Ukrainian folk music, the band also included the melodies of the world around them in their works, which creates a light, unforgettable and authentic Dakha Brakha (eng. Give/Take) sound.
When you join traditional Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instruments, as well as the powerful quartet member’s voices, you get, transnational, perhaps even some ethno-chaos music, in which Ukrainian culture is the epicentre.
DakhaBrakha also contributed to the creation of the soundtracks for the film ‘’BitterHarvest” (Canada) and the television series ‘’Fargo” (USA).
8. Tina Karol
The singer, actress and TV show presenter Tina Karol became famous in 2006 when she represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Show me love”, and took 7th place. In the same year, she released her albums “Show me love” and “Notchenka”, in which she recorded songs in both Ukrainian and Russian.
This year, Tina was awarded the Ukrainian People’s Artist Award by the president of Ukraine, and she became one of the 100 most influential women in Ukraine (according to the Ukrainian magazine ‘’Focus”), and is one of the teachers on the musical TV project “The Voice”.
However, Tina’s personal life has not been easy. Having married her producer Eugeny Ogir in 2008 and after having a son, after five years of marriage, her husband died due to stomach cancer.
Yet, the album that was released after the loss of her partner has been a great success, and Tina remains one of the most famous and the public’s most loved performers in the Ukrainian music world.
Onuka (Granddaughter) is an electro-folk group created in 2013. The band consists of Mariya Sorokina (percussionist), Nata Zhyzhchenko (main vocalist) and Daryna Sert (keyboardist and contributing vocalist). The name of the band is like a tribute to Nata’s grandfather, who used to make traditional Ukrainian instruments: Bandura and sopilka, which the girls included in their work together with electronic drums, trombones. The original, modern Onuka sound that also honours traditions, made its debut album the month’s best-seller on Ukrainian iTunes.
Pavivalkova is a multi-instrument trio, consisting of Ira Luzin (ukulele), Irina Kulshenko (piano) and Daria Pugachova (drums). The band started to perform in 2013 and enthralled everyone with the combination of gentleness and brutal irony in their lyrics. The band does not lack the passion and energy of singing in Russian, Ukrainian, English, Spanish and French. The girls themselves call their style of music “sensitive minimalism”, which captures the hearts of listeners.
Oleksandr Yarmak, born in 1991, is a Ukrainian hip-hop star. He performs his songs both in Ukrainian and in Russian. In his lyrics – the life that is happening around us. Six years ago, the first video that was uploaded by the young man to Youtube brought him incredible success and is still attracting fans to his concerts. It is also amazing that some of the concerts are organized for charitable purposes.
Although now Yarmak can enjoy his success, the road to it was not so easy. The young man spent most of his childhood with his grandparents, whose values he has kept until now. Due to the pressure from his parents to seek a career in engineering, difficult personal moments, his songs are all so sincere and full of emotion that they don’t leave listeners lackadaisical.
4. Dakh Daughters
The Dakh Daughters is a musical theatre project that was founded in 2012 in Kiev. The group consists of seven girls, who play different instruments and sing in different languages and dialects. In their songs, they often use words from famous writers such as Taras Shevchenko, William Shakespeare, Iosip Brodsky, Charles Bukowski, and others. Love, misery, politics and beauty surround all of the performances by these astounding artists.
Dakh Daughters are members of different projects, for example, the already mentioned DakhaBrakha and Perkalaba. The name of the band originated from the Dakh Theater, which is associated with the project.
The band became especially popular with the release of the video for their song, “Rozy / Donbass”, which blends Shakespeare’s ‘’35 Sonnets” and Ukrainian folk. Another well-known clip is their live performance during the Euromaidan protests in December 2013.
The provocative Dakh Daughters have not only made an appearance in many Ukrainian cities, but they have also played in Poland, Brazil, France and Russia.
The girl group who call themselves “Freak Cabaret” with their artistry, energy and their signature white-painted faces do not leave even the ones who have seen it all uninterested.
5’NIZZA (Friday) an acoustic group founded by two friends Serhii Babkin and Andriy Zaporozhets in 2000. In 2004, the duo also performed to the Kaunas audience at the festival “Kultūros Tvartas”, but in 2007 the group split up and only decided to continue in 2015. In the spring of 2016, 5’NIZZA, who had to perform in Vilnius, scandalously called off the performance due to the organizer’s fault.
The band’s sound seems to have been strongly influenced by Latin music, hip-hop and rock, which are reflected in the minimalist folk, beat-box and guitar performances. Even without the involvement of large record companies, the group managed to group together a fan army in Central and Eastern Europe.
Both Serhii and Andrii have more musical projects alongside 5’NIZZA and have recorded individual albums.
2. Vopli Vidopliassova
The legendary Ukrainian group Vopli Vidpliassova was founded in 1986 and became the founder of rock and roll and neo-rock in the Ukraine. Patriotic music, folk sound, heavy rock and metal and electronic music are their inspiration.
The Ukrainian group celebrated the 30th anniversary of their musical career last year, during which their tour arenas were jam-packed with fans. Vopli Vidopliassova’s music will let you immerse yourself in the masterfully created party, avant-garde and underground concert, rhythmic and romantic atmosphere. Their artistic and professional as well as well-thought-out performances, combined with electronic and orchestral tones make it possible to newly play even the band’s songs oldest.
As the band leader, Oleg Skrypka has said, “their concerts are like the search for ideal music.’’ A musical explosion, which destroys everything in its path and tempts the listener with its openness and sincerity. Vopli Vidopliassova is an unrivalled ethno-rock group in Eastern Europe.
1. Okean Elzi
Okean Elzi (Elzi’s Ocean) is one of the most successful and beloved groups of all time in the Ukraine. The fantastic five with their vocalist Svyatoslav Vakarchuk started working together in 1994 in Lvov after the split of their former band Klan Tyshy. So far, they are popular both in their own country and beyond. In 2007, Okean Elzi became the magazine’s FUZZ “Rock Band of the Year”. During their starting years, while still shaping their musical style, the band spent much of their time performing at festivals, and before the release of their debut album, “tam, de Nas Nema” in 1998, Okean Elzi already had a huge audience both in Ukraine and Russia. The following albums, ‘’Ya Na Nebi Buv”, ‘’Model” and ‘’Supersymetria”, continued to strengthen their status in the country’s musical scene, and in 2003 Svyasostlav Vakarchuk was declared the official ambassador of the Ukrainian culture. In the 2005 album ‘’Gloria”, as many as four songs became number one singles, and the following albums, ‘’Mira” 2007, ‘’Dolce Vita” 2010 and ‘’Zemlya” 2013, also did not lose their luck. The latter created together with the British band’s ‘’Coldplay” producer, is called the best album in the band’s career.
In 2014, the phenomenal Okean Elzi performed in Vilnius, inviting Ukraine to follow the European path.