The Life of Music and the Music of Life
Sunday Stabroek, Feb 14th 2014
‘ … On Valentine’s day in the Rupununi , the red haired Iryna Muha stole the show. The petit Ukrainian artiste, who sings in the style of Eastern European folk singers, seemingly made everyone fall in love with her. Her style, personality and talent crossed language carries to introduce something new to everyone and make them like it. Ukrainian music, or Iryna’s version of it at least, is fun and of sort that you would likely skip to when no one’s looking. But it is also varied, sometime mournful and melancholy, with similarities of native American music. It was a learning experience too as Iryna gave bits of background about her country…’
Guyana Chronicle , Feb 18 2014 On a photo with Aref Durvesh.
I was very happy to have had the opportunity to play at the main Maydan with my friends from Kiev from Muha UA project. Thanks to Brett Turner for filming this.
Ukraine is going through painful turmoil times. The protest was sparked when president Yanukovich made a U-turn, away from European democratic integration towards Russian KGB Order. When the riot police (Berkut) applied brutal force on peaceful demonstration on November 30th 2013, millions of people came out to Maydan (Maidan, Euromaidan) – the central square in Kiev-to stand up together against oppression, human rights violations and criminality of the government. People are still on Maydan 24/7, in adverse weather conditions; they have built a tent city in a city; they put up barricades to guard it; they are self sufficient and organized; they make common decisions at Viche (citizens public gathering), in the best Cossack traditions.
I went to Ukraine to support my friends on barricades of Maydan. I thought the best support I could give was to tell their story back here in England. I asked my friend – a film maker Brett Turner from Jet Productions – to join me on the trip to film the events with an idea to produce a documentary. Over four days full of action we had been filming Maydan, joined the protest auto rally (Automaidan) of 3000 cars to the residence of the president Yanukovych (somewhat 20 miles from Kiev) and partied with music, vodka and whiskey till four in the morning. We survived it all and brought back lots of exciting footage and interviews.
The narrative of the documentary with a working title ‘ Maydan- the inside view of the outsider’ will be told from the point of view of a regular English guy (Brett) who knew next to nothing about Ukraine, who had been thrown into the midst of the protest events in this amazing country, briefed on Ukrainian history and joined the party of the creative quarter in Keiv.
Brett will tell how he was met with the famous Ukrainian hospitality and challenged- physically and mentally – trying to make sense of all the craziness of the situation, attempting to understand the spiritual strength that helps Ukrainian people to survive.
The documentary will be out in February. Watch our website and Facebook for updates. Watch the trailer in a meantime.
It’s been a while since I updated this blog, so I would try to briefly cover a few events that happened in the last few months.
The big launch of our Taras animation directed by Chinese artist Tu Zeng went really well. We were very happy to secure the booking at the Nottingham Contemporary Café Bar- cudos to Ste Alan . It was the best venue for the launch as they always have a good sound, quality projection and the staff – Steve Barnett and Jim Brouwer – are extremely helpful and willing to give extra of their time for the best show for the audience! The launch was filmed by the White Collar Zoo TV – the new , but very promising Nottingham based Internet TV station, so we will have a video report of the launch sometime very soon.
Thanks to Daniel Whiston for the photo!
Another happy event was the exchange visit of my Ukrainian friends GrozovSka band to the UK. Unfortunately only 2 of the 7 band members got the visas to come here, so we made a version of UA/ UK musicians mix and did play a gig in a mysterious – small but international – town of Newark. Thanks to Abel Chaude for organising, driving, playing and just being there for all of us!
With MUHA UA we’ve been invited again to play in the creative hub in Kiev Babuin Coffee House thanks to the great girl Sasha Smetanenko. I’m looking forward to play again with the brilliant musicians and amazing people- Konstantin Bushinsky, Kirill Machinsky, Olena Grozovska and others and hope to survive the freezing conditions Ukraine has this time of the year! I think the warmth of people’s hearts and regular shots of vodka will keep me safe.
Free concert by the dynamic contemporary Eastern European folk band – Muha, to celebrate the Premiere Screening of an extraordinary new music video created by 6 talented animation artists in Chongqing, China
A multicultural artistic collaboration between popular Nottingham-based Eastern European Contemporary Folk band Muha and computer animation artists from China has resulted in a stunning music video that celebrates the infamous Cossack hero, Taras Bulba.
The song “Taras”, taken from Muha’s 2010 album of the same name, recounts how the eponymous hero of Nikolai Gogol’s historical novella bravely unites fellow countrymen against a common enemy, only to ultimately meet a gruesome end but thereby guaranteeing a place in the world’s cultural history.
In 2010, Zeng Tu- a celebrated artist filmmaker based in Chongqing, founder of the film department at the Sichuan Fine Art Academy and frequent collaborator with Muha Bassist Louise Clements, was artist in residence at QUAD, a centre for contemporary art and film in Derby. Having already released their CD album “Taras”, the band approached Tu to create a music video. The artist was immediately drawn to darkness and legend of the song Taras.
For over 18 months Zeng Tu co-ordinated a six person design, 3D-imaging and animation team consisting of the best recent graduates from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, working as a collective based in an old tobacco factory converted into artists’ studios called – 501. After nearly 18 months the 100% CGI-animated video was complete.
Art and music lovers are invited to attend the free Muha concert, during which the animated video will be exclusively screened in full.
Support comes from Graham Dale – a multi-instrumentalist, inventor and instrument maker who has been described as ‘music genius of rural England’. Graham will perform vocal looping specifically created for this event inspired by various music traditions from around the world.