Yesterday, after church, we embarked on yet another Ukrainian cultural adventure. We decided to go see the second day of a music festival called "Hnizdo" (Nest) that was being held just on the outskirts of our city, Bila Tserkva. Some girls from our church had gone the day before and said that they had had a lot of fun so we decided to check it out. We were really excited about going because our favorite Ukrainian band, Скрябін (Skryabin), was scheduled to play and the fact that it was free made it all the better. Maria's sister Nastia and a couple of girls from our English Club also met up with us at the concert.
"Are you sure this is the way to the concert?"
What I thought was interesting about the concert was that we were told that they stressed that it was a Ukrainian concert celebrating the beauty of the Ukrainian language. The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, and while Russian is also spoken in Eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian language is a symbol of national pride. We live far enough West that Ukrainian is mainly spoken here, although a little Russian is sometimes mixed in for good measure. Schools are all taught in Ukrainian which is why, with two school aged boys, we chose to learn Ukrainian rather than Russian. It's true that Russian can be used in other countries, but when we speak to people in Ukraine in their mother tongue, it has a huge impact on them. They've told us that they feel as though we've made a commitment to Ukraine and aren't simply planning on moving on to another Russian speaking country. No offense to any Russian speakers (we're learning a little Russian too), but you have to admit that Ukrainian sounds better. ;) As it has been said, "She is beautiful, Ukraine's language.".
One of our favorite Skryabin videos filmed in Kyiv
So after saying all this about a Ukrainian concert where they all spoke and sang in Ukrainian, I have to mention that one of the six bands that played was from Russia. I was wondering how that was going to work until the band came out and spoke. The first thing they did was apologize for not being able to speak Ukrainian, then they proceeded to sing all their songs in English complete with British accents. I was totally shocked. That's the first time I've heard a Russian apologize for not being able to speak Ukrainian.
I was impressed by the level of security that the city provided for the concert. Police were posted at every entrance making sure no glass bottles found their way in and they were posted literally every few feet in lines throughout the concert. At one point, Joshua really needed to go to the bathroom, but we were in the front row against the security barrier with a sea of people between us and the portable toilets. So Joshua simply slipped through the security barrier and walked up to one of the police officers. After a brief discussion and Joshua pointing out that we were his parents, the police officer escorted Joshua backstage to use the portables set up there for the bands. Joshua said the police officer never suspected he was an American.
It wouldn't be a concert without an accordion
The crowd seemed excited enough about the music, but when the group Tik (pronounced Teek) came on stage and began playing an accordion, things suddenly picked up. There's just something about an accordion that makes you want to dance. It also started pouring rain, but spirits weren't dampened by this little inconvenience. People simply shrugged and said, "It will get better". It continued to rain off and on until the end, but we stayed until the last band, Skryabin, played. We were all tired and wet by the end, but we had a great time and tucked away a little more Ukrainian culture into our hearts.
Here's the video I took of people dancing in the rain
ьо - Вона м'яка, твоя мова.
йо - Вона модна, твоя мова.
ї - Вона унікальна, твоя мова.
She is soft, your language.
She is fashionable, your language.
She is unique, your language.