Earlier it seemed to me that pain and grief in the life of a creative individual is exactly what makes you a real artist. Now I know that above all it can make you a real person – which is much more important.

The year 2014

I’m 21. I seem to be watching the burning Maidan, Molotov cocktails flying, burning tires, mattresses in the National Academy of Music where I was studying then and still hoped to attend classes. Did I understand then that I was a victim of the moral occupation the Russians had been carrying out in Ukraine for centuries? In those days, even though I argued with my professor, defending the ideas of Maidan, I was still both participant and victim of Russian propaganda and believed that culture and politics should be separated.

Feb. 24, 2022 

I’m 29. That day I decided to stay in Kyiv. Was that really me – the girl for whom there was no difference what language she was speaking – during that first month of the war, writing songs in Ukrainian in the basement under the sounds of explosions together with other musicians, performing my music for the military in the empty city and its surroundings? I didn’t know then that I’d be one of those heroines from out of a book who loses her boyfriend in the war, and that three out of four of my closest friends would be widowed by the age of 30.

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Now it’s 2024, the second anniversary of the war.

I’m 31. I’ve seen hundreds of destroyed houses, heard hundreds of terrible explosions. I once wanted to tour Europe, but now I’m looking forward to going to the de-occupied territories again, performing songs for those who have been or are going through hell. Yes, I keep dreaming about an artistic career, but my dreams are about the future. Now I just don’t want the war to take anyone’s love away, I don’t want children to become orphans. I wish I could cry tears of joy, standing in the center of my city with millions of people shouting, “Victory!” This is the ovation I most want to hear.

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Unfortunately, music can’t defeat the enemy, but it helps us remember, cry and laugh – to become stronger. We’re strong because we laugh when in pain and sing because we’re alive.

Glory to Ukraine! I love you, my homeland. Just wait a bit longer...

Vlada Buchko describes herself as a “non-standard” composer, pianist and singer from Kyiv who writes her own songs and poems. She actively supports the Armed Forces of Ukraine.  See her Instagram site here.

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Comments ( 1)

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John
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Thanks Vlada and all other Artists supporting Ukraine. Sometimes it's the shared personal stories and beautiful works from artists like yourself that to brings people back to the the realization that this war is about saving humanity lives from a genocidal tyrant (putin).

The shared personal experience fosters human empathy for the plight of all Ukrainians. It brings home the fact that our support must not waiver.

It's been 2 years since (for the first time in my life) I became an activist about anything. I have been moved strongly to support Ukraine every day, in some way. I grow more inspired each day to support Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini

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