No nation in history has produced as many songs as the Ukrainian people. UNESCO has collected an astonishing archive of folk songs from countries around the world. Ukraine’s collection includes approximately 15,500 songs, making it the leader, with Italy in second place with 6,000 folk songs.
Continuing to explore Ukrainian culture in the ‘AuthentiC’ project by AC Crowe Ukraine, we cannot overlook music.
Ukrainian music history spans millennia. It is here that musical instruments like the bandura, kobza, and lyre were born and developed, becoming symbols of Ukrainian culture. Folk singers and talented musicians conveyed shared values and history through songs sung at celebrations, weddings, and other events. These folk songs became symbols of unity and resilience for the Ukrainian people.
One of the outstanding composers who made a significant contribution to Ukrainian musical heritage was Mykola Lysenko, whose undeniable opus magnum is ‘Shchedryk.’ In January 1919, another brilliant conductor, Oleksandr Koshyts, organized the Ukrainian Republican Orchestra in Kyiv at the behest of Symon Petliura, which was later sent abroad by the Ukrainian government in March 1919 to promote Ukrainian musical art. Over several years, the orchestra toured Western European countries, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba. After the orchestra’s performances at Carnegie Hall in New York, ‘Shchedryk’ became the world’s most popular Christmas melody.
Ukrainian Pop Music
Overall, Ukrainian music in the 1960s and 70s went through challenging times due to Soviet censorship, and artists had to conform to the regime to have the right to create. However, despite the difficulties for Ukrainian singers and composers, these years laid the foundation for Ukraine’s pop music. Some of the pioneers of Ukrainian pop music include Nazariy Yaremchuk, Volodymyr Ivasyuk, Vasil Zinkevych, and others.
Contemporary Artists and Bands
Today, the Ukrainian music scene is rich with talented performers and bands. ‘Okean Elzy,’ ‘DakhaBrakha,’ ‘The HARDKISS,’ Ruslana, Jamala, and others captivate audiences with their songs and showcase our identity to the world.
Ukraine’s musical heritage is an endless source of inspiration and pride for our country. Music has become one of the key features of Ukraine’s cultural heritage and inspires new generations to create new melodies and stories.