The melancholy sound of Ukrainian violinist Vera Lytovchenko’s music echoes in subway stations, comforting people, including some homeless, huddled in fear of Russian bombings.
The new music video The Brave Ones features them in an online collaboration with more than 200 musicians from different nations including the USA, South Africa, Japan and Canada.
The video, which includes news footage of neighborhoods being reduced to rubble and the sad but lingering faces of the people of Ukraine, is raising money for humanitarian aid for musicians in Ukraine and has raised more than $20,000 (£16,200) so far.
Lytovchenko said she believes it’s important for people, especially musicians, to connect.
If I know I’m useful, I can do something good, it’s not that scary. It gives me strengthVera Lytovchenko
“Maybe I don’t have a choice. I just have to do it. I have to do what I do and this is the right place for me right now,” she said in a recent Zoom interview with the Associated Press.
“If I know I’m useful, I can do something good, it’s not that scary. It gives me strength. You know, I don’t consider myself a very brave person. I’m only human.”
After windows in her apartment in Kharkiv were shattered by shelling, Lytovchenko began practicing and recording in the basement.
She has also performed there.
Lytovchenko said that sirens often go off and there are explosions.
One day in April, when the bombing near her home was particularly heavy, she thought she might die.
Lytovchenko rarely leaves her apartment, except to get food and take care of cats that her neighbors had to leave behind.
I saw their faces, I saw their tears and their smiles. Now I know that my profession is usefulVera Lytovchenko
And she can’t stop wondering: Why?
“I don’t have an answer,” Lytovchenko said.
“How could that be possible in Europe now, in the 21st century? I have no words to describe my feelings,” she said.
Initially, when the war began, Lytovchenko even had doubts about making music and felt helpless.
Maybe the world needs doctors and politicians who can end the war, she thought.
Then she realized how her music could help people, raise funds and tell the world about Ukraine.
A wave of sympathy erupted on social media.
It’s our home. We can’t leave our home. And we should stay to protect it, try to salvage whatever we canVera Lytovchenko
Most of all, people loved their music.
“I know it helps them. I saw their faces, I saw their tears and smiles,” Lytovchenko said.
“Now I know that my job is useful.”
She vows to keep playing.
And Lytovchenko refuses to leave Kharkiv.
“It’s our home. We can’t leave our home. And we should stay to protect it, try to salvage whatever we can. And we should stay too, to show the world that we’re not afraid,” she said with determination in her voice.
The online video, which includes the words “with yellow and blue,” the colors of the Ukrainian flag, features choirs in South Africa, Canada, the US and the UK.
Grammy Award-winner Judith Hill, who worked with Michael Jackson, sings the lead role.
I didn’t play to show off my musical ability. I played to show my soulManabu Sakai, member of the Dako-on taiko group
The producer and writer who put it all together has requested anonymity.
Participants were approached and given simple instructions without realizing what the finished product might be.
The violin group was included first.
The person behind the video, who was emailed, said the project is about musicians helping each other and the hope for peace so music can be performed the way it was before, not just in bomb shelters.
Manabu Sakai, who plays taiko, a Japanese drum, in the video, said he was approached via Instagram and relied on translation apps to work out details.
Despite playing a huge instrument, he knew it was important not to play too much.
“Taiko is the kind of music that brings people’s hearts together. It’s festival music, so I played it hoping people could get a feel for this Japanese festival music,” said Sakai, a member of taiko group Dako-on.
“I didn’t play to show my musical ability. I played to show my soul. I tried to play and put my heart into it,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/more-than-200-artists-join-ukrainian-violinist-in-music-video-collaboration-41620865.html More than 200 artists join the Ukrainian violinist in the music video collaboration