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What happened to Orange Revolution band Greenjolly?

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Nov. 23, 2011, 2:42 p.m. | Music — by Alyona Zhuk

"Razom nas bahato!" by Ivano-Frankivsk band Greenjolly became an anthem of the Orange Revolution seven years ago
© newzz.in.ua

Alyona Zhuk

Seven winters ago, music was one of the defining forces of the Orange Revolution, Ukraine’s glorious moment in the international spotlight.

Top rock and pop stars joined the protests between Nov. 21 and Dec. 26, 2004, and warmed the crowds on Independence Square with hits of immense symbolic power and patriotism.

But one little-known band jumped to the front lines with a rap tune “Together We Are Many!” or “Razom Nas Bahato!” in Ukrainian.

It became the unofficial anthem of protesters who succeeded in overturning a presidential election rigged for Viktor Yanukovych as well as a lucky rhyme.

The group and the song went on to represent Ukraine at events as big as the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005.

But the popularity of band Greenjolly, whose name in western Ukrainian dialect means sledge, plummeted with the squabbling Orange leadership team of President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

No longer welcome guests on radio and TV shows, the band fell apart, with members going their separate ways in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Despite this twist of fate, group members Roman Kalyn and Roman Kostyuk feel nostalgic about the revolution and their role as cheerleaders.

“It's history, it was great, but no one needs Greenjolly anymore,” said Kostyuk, who now owns his own music production studio. “I don’t see any opportunities of growth there.”

There is an unmistakable bittersweet tinge in his voice, betraying regret for the way things panned out in the last seven years.




“Everything that happened after the revolution was politics and populism,” Kostyuk said. “But [in the] first months ... I honestly have very warm memories about those times. People were fighting for their country, for their future and their children. Politicians were the ones thinking about the money and profit.”

His former partner, vocalist Kalyn, also moved on to work in the music production business.

But he has kept the band nominally alive, saying that they could play again “if you invite us.”

It was Kalyn who “wrote the song in 15 minutes,” picking up the lyrics from protesters as they chanted slogans in their native Ivano-Frankivsk. The song came together very fast, because it came from the heart, Kalyn said.

“Together we are many and you won’t defeat us” was the start to their anthem. The simple rap melody found an audience first in western Ukraine and then on Maidan - the main platform of the peaceful protests in Kyiv.

Greenjolly members were on the train in no time to share the song live with the people in the tent cities.

After the people’s victory was firmly secured through a Dec. 26, 2004, re-vote and election of Yushchenko as president, they were chosen to represent Ukraine in the 50th annual Eurovision contest held in Kyiv that year.




But their song didn’t ignite as much passion from foreign audiences as it garnered at home. It may have been that Jamaican reggae with Ukrainian antics was not in fashion that season, or the fact that the song was performed in Ukrainian instead of English, but Greenjolly came down with low scores across the board.

The band, no doubt, played a major part in supporting the protests, argued the critics, but sending them to the international song contest was a miscalculation.

Today, Kostyuk and Kalyn feel indifferent about the loss at Eurovision. Their only remorse is with the production company, which helped them climb the big stage.

Kalyn said they were scammed by the recording label and banked only $300 following “Together” release.

Oleksandr Dakhovsky from Universal Ukrainian Records was surprised to hear the allegations, saying they had “good working relations during the contract and good non-working relations when it expired.”

Greenjolly's big moment has come and gone, both members admit, but the message of their song is still alive. "People must stay together. We can do anything by being together," said Kostyuk, repeating the lines from the song. "There is no better motto."


The lyrics of Razom Nas Bahato (Together We Are Many)

Together we are many,

We will not be defeated ...

Falsifications, no!

Machinations, no!

Understandings, no! no!

No to lies!

Yushchenko, yes!

Is our president, yes!

Yushchenko, yes! yes! yes!

Together we are many,

We will not be defeated ...

We aren't goats (kozly)

We are Ukraine's

Sons and daughters.

It's now or never,

Enough waiting!

Together we are many

We will not be defeated.

Together we are many,

We will not be defeated ...

Kyiv Post staff writer Alyona Zhuk can be reached at zhuk@kyivpost.com

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