"My weapon is my song": 10 stories of how Ukrainians defend the Motherland by singing
From young to old, Ukrainians unite in the fight against the enemy. And yes, even a song can be a solution to our confrontation. We will tell you how it works.
What is the problem?
The war unleashed by russia united Ukrainians. We fight, volunteer, donate to our army, and do everything we can to survive and remain an independent state. And many things can help resist the enemies of the Ukrainian people, even…
What is the solution?
"Ukrainians are indomitable. When it's bad, they cry; when it's really bad, they sing; when it's full of shit, they laugh!" said the famous Ukrainian poet and writer Lina Kostenko. In fact, today, Ukrainians sing everywhere — at the front and in the rear, in bomb shelters and under enemy fire, surrounded and under occupation.
Ukrainian songs not only help us psychologically and return us to our real, true selves but also bring our victory closer.
How does it work?
From the first days of the russian invasion, the Ukrainian song "Red viburnum" sounded with new force, becoming a symbol of the liberation war of the Ukrainian people against the invading russia. This song, sung by the leader of the Ukrainian band "Boombox" Andrii Khlyvnyuk, inspired Ukrainians and helped overcome the initial confusion and horror. Today in Ukraine, it is known by heart and sung by children and adults. The world perceives "Red Viburnum" as a symbol of the courage and indomitability of the Ukrainian nation, which resists the russian invaders.
"Red Viburnum" is sung in Polish churches, Canadian schools, and French squares. And the National Honored Academic Chapel of Ukraine "Dumka" performed "Red Viburnum" just in the New York subway.
By the way, in russia, Ukrainian songs are feared like the devil running away from the incense. Recently, the russian court punished "Miss Crimea – 2022" Olha Valeeva and her friend for the performance of the song "Red viburnum." Valeeva was fined 40,000 rubles, and the other girl was arrested for 10 days. And in the occupied Crimea, the gauleiter Aksyonov officially threatened criminal responsibility, closure of business, and eviction from Crimea to all those who listened to and sang Ukrainian songs.
The voice of the defender of Mariupol, Kateryna Polishchuk ("Ptashka," birdie — ed.), became a symbol of the unconquered Azovstal. In May, the defenders of Mariupol posted a video on social media in which a girl from the Ternopil region sings patriotic songs in the Azovstal bomb shelter. The video with the Azov paramedic went viral in all mass media and social networks. The world was amazed by the strength of the spirit of Ukrainian defenders. After all, even under enemy fire, they found an opportunity to sing.
Kateryna, together with other Azovstal defenders, was captured by the occupiers. In September, russian propagandists released a video of the interrogation of our "Ptashka" — that's how we found out that the girl is alive. And on the night of September 22, it became known that Ptashka from Azovstal and another 215 of our heroes were released from russian captivity.
@sametaptashka я навчусь користуватись тіктоком, обіцяю) тепер я тут:) #пташказісталі #пташказазовсталі #пташкажива #пташка ♬ оригінальний звук – Пташка
After returning from captivity, Katya Ptashka created a sensation in TikTok — she posted the saved drafts of the underground singing archive. "In ruins and ashes, we supported the fire of life with warm hearts. When it was difficult, we sang. It was scary – we sang. It seemed the end – we sang… There we fought against, and now I fight for. For the Ukrainian military, For the future of real heroes, and For every prisoner of war who must return home. I sing as long as I live. I am alive – as long as I fight. My weapon is my song," Ptashka commented on the video.
The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra song, which won Eurovision 2022, is primarily about mom. There is not a single word about the war in it. But it still became another symbol of the singing nation. And mother Stefania is now perceived as a prototype of Ukrainian women who, in war conditions, remain strong and invincible, protecting their native country, its children, and the future.
Within days of the full-scale russian invasion, the Kalush Orchestra suspended rehearsals and began volunteering. The band members organized accommodation, food, and medical care for those affected by the war. But they didn't forget about singing either – despite everything, the boys decided to represent Ukraine at Eurovision, to call on all people to help Ukraine by telling the world about the war, and to increase interest in Ukrainian performers.
The victory of the Kalush Orchestra and the track "Stefania" inspired millions of people in Ukraine and abroad. This was our first victory in the fight against russia.
Almost all participants sang the track of the international competition and ordinary listeners both in Ukraine and far beyond its borders. And in Germany, the composition was even recorded in sign language.
Currently, the Kalush Orchestra is touring a lot with charity concerts. Since the beginning of summer, they have already collected 54 million hryvnias for Ukraine.
"We need peace"
A resident of Okhtyrka Valeriya, who took the stage name "Okhtyrchanka" with the song "World! We need peace," became a laureate of the First Intercontinental Festival of Ukrainian Patriotic Song in the United States of America "United for Ukraine." Valeria's song is in English and written for a foreign audience. "I wanted to convey the truth to the world and emphasize to the world community that the war continues," says the singer.
Since the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, Valeriya Okhtyrchanka has been defending her native land with the help of her own songs. "I feel anxiety, pain, a lot of emotions that are difficult to describe in one word, and such an inner potential arose in me that I did not know how to realize what I should do. One day I took a piece of paper in my hands and began to write. At first, I was writing poems, and at a turning point, I was inspired and decided to write a song," the author recalls.
The girl who sings for Ukraine
Daria is a student; she is 18. She sings. Daria now lives in Kraków (Poland), and her parents live in Kryvyi Rih. The war separated them.
The girl was evacuated from Kyiv, where she was studying, at the beginning of the full-scale war. She was worried that she had to leave her native country during the most difficult times. Somehow, by chance, she got to a protest in the center of Kraków. There, Ukrainians read poems, sang songs, and told their stories. The girl also decided to be helpful – since then, she has been singing at rallies – in Kraków for Ukraine.
"We collect funds for the needs of our army. We have already fundraised for 25 thermal imagers, helmets, plate carriers, tact knives, and many other things. I took part in more than 300 rallies. This activity saved me. I feel important and needed. Now I know for sure that I am not a traitor. I do as much as I can — I study, sing, write a song dedicated to our heroes."
Daria dreams of walking Khreshchatyk and singing her song, breathing in the air of free Ukraine. To hug all Ukrainians and say: "You are incredible!".
Ukrainian children grew up very early. They understand that it is necessary to do good deeds and help the army. Since the beginning of the summer, eight-year-old Serhiyko Moroz has been singing on the hill in Chernihiv every evening, collecting money for the Armed Forces. The idea of raising funds for the Armed Forces with the help of street singing came from Serhiy himself, and his parents supported him.
Recently, the commander of the forces of the "North" operational command, Major General Viktor Nikoliuk, thanked a young volunteer from Chernihiv for supporting the military. According to his mother, the boy has already collected almost 400 thousand hryvnias by singing in the city's historical center! His next goal is to buy a car for defenders.
Half a million for the Armed Forces
And this is Yura Napora from Lviv. He is also 8 years old. Thanks to his singing, he collected more than half a million hryvnias for the Armed Forces. Yura sings well, and his father accompanies him. The boy decided to help the Armed Forces when he saw Serhiyko from Chernihiv on the news. Yurko himself prepared a lyrical repertoire, with which he now tours the region's cities.
In 34 days, Yura and his father managed to collect 655 thousand hryvnias. The money is given to a military chaplain who receives requests from our defenders. Most of the amount has already been spent on the needs of the Armed Forces — they bought an SUV for the military, and the car was named "Yurchyk."
In the future, the boy does not dream of a career as an artist – he wants to become a priest. In the meantime, he continues to volunteer and bring Ukraine closer to victory.
The youngest volunteer
5-year-old Maria Makeyeva from Kryvyi Rih entered the Book of Records of Ukraine as the youngest volunteer. With her brother Oleksandr, she collected UAH 35,492 to help the Ukrainian military by performing songs for 10 hours in the center of Lviv, where she and her mother temporarily moved during the war.
At first, the children dreamed of raising funds for a bulletproof vest. But, as their parents found out, thermal imaging sights were badly needed on the front lines. So with the help of the volunteer fund, which added a certain amount to the children's funds, an INFIRAY СL35M thermal imager was purchased.
"I want Ukraine to win as soon as possible"
6-year-old Sofia Nersesyan gives open charity concerts in Kyiv to raise funds for Ukrainian defenders. Singing in the Hryshko National Botanical Garden, the girl has already collected more than 14 thousand hryvnias for the Armed Forces. The little volunteer gave all the money she earned to the Serhiy Prytula Foundation.
@anna_sofi7727 #зсу #українськийтікток #українапонадусе #українапереможе #допомогаармії #допомогазсу #софіянерсесян #однаєдина @Андрей Джеджула ♬ оригинальный звук – anna_sofi7727
"I want Ukraine to win as soon as possible. That's why I'm raising money for a big spaceship to send russians to another planet," says Sofia.
From the heart for the soldiers of the Armed Forces
The sisters, 8-year-old Valentynka and 6-year-old Zlata Roda from the village of Samovolya in Volyn, also love to sing. Especially patriotic songs that glorify the military and inspire them to fight and win. And they are also very worried about the soldiers on the front line and the fate of their native country. That is why they decided to help a local volunteer in fundraising for the Armed Forces.
At first, the girls sold all the home grapes and almost all the tomatoes from their mother's garden. However, this was not enough for them. They had a desire to earn even more money for the fighters. Then they decided to do what they do best – singing. The sisters go from house to house in their native village and do not miss local shops. And everywhere, they sing modern patriotic songs, which they know about twenty.
They have already collected about 20 thousand hryvnias. They say they dream of buying something powerful for the soldiers — for example, a tank or a car. For now, they will purchase a few walkie-talkies or sets of thermal clothing, to begin with.
Everyone can sing for victory
- Eight-year-old Kristina Bulaivska from Vinnytsia has been singing in the open air since the beginning of summer to raise money for the Armed Forces. She collected a little more than 24 thousand hryvnias. She transferred the funds through volunteers for a car and drones.
- In the village of Zadvirya, in the Lviv region, local children organized a fundraiser for the military. Schoolchildren wash cars and sing patriotic songs. All earned money is also given to local volunteers.
- In Rohatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region, at the festival of the patriotic song "Free spirit in every heart" (pictured above), more than 31,000 hryvnias were collected for warm clothes for the military.
- In the summer, street musicians in occupied Kherson sang songs by Ukrainian authors despite the invaders' presence.
- And for the Defenders Day of Ukraine, the mothers of soldiers of the Kalyniv regiment of the National Guard recorded a song. The composition was dedicated to their sons. The video was published on the page of Military Unit 3028 of the National Guard of Ukraine.