Shchedryk Returns to Carnegie Hall for Centennial Performance

I sing, therefore I am.

“A 1919 review of the Ukrainian Republic Choir in the Genevan journal La Patrie Suisse mused that the Ukrainian National Republic established its independence through the motto, ‘I sing, therefore I am.’  Ukraine continues to sing and continues to be.”  —Notes from Ukraine (carolofthebells100.org)

How often does an art reviewer from a neutral country declare that a choir’s performance inspired a nation’s victory in their war for independence?  That choir performed for the first time in America in Carnegie Hall in 1922, during that war, which ultimately ended in Russia consuming Ukraine into the Soviet Union, though Ukraine had made itself an independent nation, and despite Soviet domination remained a republic to this day.  (Ask the UN who were the first signatories to its charter in 1945.  One of them was the Soviet Republic of Ukraine, a nation by UN’s definition.  Ukraine was the first republic to break away from the Soviet Union, causing the collapse of that Union.  It absolutely could not survive without Ukraine.)  One hundred years later, on December 4, 2022, Ukraine returned to Carnegie Hall to bring again the power of music during war.

“CULTURE UNDER THREAT” says the website of Notes from Ukraine (carolofthebells100.org), and then, that culture again exerts its centuries-old power to overcome the threat.  The website continues, with this inspiring statement:

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, has purposefully sought to destroy Ukrainian culture as part of its aims. Cultural sites have repeatedly been the target of attacks including works by painter Maria Prymachenko at the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, the historic home and museum of Ukrainian poet and philosopher Hryhorii Skovoroda in the Kharkiv region, and the Theater of Music and Drama in Mariupol.

Just as in 1922, the Ukrainian National Republic used the soft power of music to preserve and promote Ukraine’s independence, Ukrainian artists today are once again turning to culture to communicate with the world. A 1919 review of the Ukrainian Republic Choir in the Genevan journal La Patrie Suisse mused that the Ukrainian National Republic established its independence through the motto, “I sing, therefore I am.” Ukraine continues to sing and continues to be.

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Bella Ciao – Obiymy – Embrace Me – Despacito – Do Something

Now that the Monster of Mar-a-Lago owns the headlines again, where is Ukraine?

I will continue rallying support for Ukraine, by raising consciousness of their culture, their natural resources, their contributions to the good of the world, their centuries-old democratic spirit, their Cossack spirit, their traditions.

If we had Ukraine’s democratic spirit, we would be a democracy rather than a twisted, self-corrupting anocracy.  We lost that quest.  The United States of America has fallen from grace.  As Bill Moyers recently put it, “We’ve run out of luck.”

Ukraine has not run out of luck.  It’s not about luck there.  It’s about commitment.  Commitment to what?

What does her flag stand for?  NATURE.  Blue sky and yellow waves of wheat fields.

If you are new to this blog or perhaps did not get a look at them before, take another look at my posts about Ukraine.  There’s a lot of history in those posts, and art, music, spirit … all that stuff I said I would continue raising up in our consciousness of Ukraine.

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Willa

Are her musical gifts enriched by color synesthesia?  Join me for an introduction to a new star born in our midst.
 
(Note: Willa Blog Post Review is a YouTube playlist of all 24 videos shown or linked in this blog post, in the order presented, including the music, news and interviews.  It is a one-stop source of all the video material presented here.)
 
I found Willa Amai while looking for covers of the 1993 song What’s Up by Linda Perry and 4 Non Blondes. It is a song that I would scream at the top of my lungs, as it says, if I could sing.  (Image above snipped from Willa’s music video of What’s Up.)

 



 
The song offers no solution.  Not a clue.  It just says how things feel, and how they don’t make sense, and how we ache because of it, trying to keep the faith, wanting to hope, despite the impenetrable insanity of the inhuman side of humanity.
 
The song cries out loud from the heart for revolution, the only solution.  As do I, at times in tears, wishing I knew how to start it, finding that all I have is a song short on hope.
 
It sings, “And I tried, oh my God did I try, I try all the time, in this institution.  And I pray, oh my God do I pray, I pray every single day for a revolution!”
 
The line demands a middle finger thrust to the sky in revolt.

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Щедрик – Shchedryk, On the Generosity of Spring, with Music

Updated May 30, 2022

Rarely do I wake from a dream realizing that in the dream I knew I was dreaming.

I recently dreamed that I was lost in the woods, exhausted, when I found a cave just before dark.  I reclined on a sloped rock with my head on my fanny pack and fell asleep.  That’s when I dreamed that I knew I was dreaming, making it hard to separate reality from the dream.  Even when I woke up I didn’t know if I was only dreaming that I did.

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“Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes”

In a comment on my previous post (introducing the new video “Ukraine is a World of Love” by Alicia Kishe), a friend wrote, “It was painful watching the video of Alicia. The beauty and sweetness I saw … and Putin blowing it up.”



By the way, folks, be happy for Alicia Kishe.  I happen to know from experience of her elsewhere that she is thrilled to see Views and Likes and Subscribes.  Please reward her.  It will mean a lot to her.  For a little extra fun, here is Alicia’s latest self-made 19-second home video, posted April 26, 2022, titled, “I Just Dance.”  Stop by and give her a Like and good wishes:


Cracks me up.

My reply to my friend’s comment got out of hand, so I moved it to this new post instead of a comment.

Friend, I believe that you speak for many people who get struck by the video that way, but most would not say so out loud as you have, for fear that they would be admitting that they did not “get it” in the expected or “appropriately” sentimental way. That kind of expectation just adds to the pain.  The only “appropriate” way is to try, as one is able, to keep an open mind.  That can be hard to do in pain.

You got me thinking more about the ways Alicia’s video can affect people, and about the overall situation in Ukraine and my relationship with it.

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The Putin Circus and a child’s love of her homeland in song

Please share this funny Putin video if you like it.  That’s why I post them.  So you can share them.  This is the YouTube link to share: https://youtu.be/t-wFKNy0MZQ if you are not foolish enough to share the link to the blog post you are looking at.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ll never know.  But I do not mind at all being a fool for the glory of Ukraine, in silly ways and others.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you … below the comedy here, there’s also the April 24, 2022 world premier official music video of the Ukrainian very young lady Alicia Kishe, accompanied by her father Timothy, singing the song she wrote, “Ukraine is a World of Love” sung in Ukrainian (a language that gets more beautiful the more you hear it) with English subtitles.  I think some people will like it; fools like me and otherwise.  Please share it when you get done adoring it.  Then adore it some more.  Let Alicia be Ukraine to you for a while.

TURN ON CAPTIONS (CC AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VIDEO WINDOW) TO SEE THE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  It works best if you watch it at the YouTube site.  For a special treat, run them in full screen mode.

Vladimir Putin – Putin, Putout (The Unofficial Russian Anthem) by Klemen Slakonja

[The name Vladimir means “ruler of the world” or “ruler of peace.”]



Enough of the funny stuff.  Now for the heart-melting beautiful stuff, what you always come here for, of course …

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Girls just want to have fun (and boys want them to)

While researching the story of a famous Ukrainian song that has inspired endless versions around the world, from the ancient folk chant to epic orchestral and chorale concert works, to the latest rock, hip-hop, metal and electronic synthesis and LED and laser light shows (you’re going to love it if I ever write the post), I stumbled across this bit that said inside me, “Hey, shut up and have some different fun.”  It has nothing to do with the Ukrainian song.  It’s just a distraction.  A good musical distraction is worth its waste in gold; i.e., no waste at all.

Music is not real except as a miracle.  It is impossible.  It can’t be done.  But it happens anyway.  The more I explore it, the more impossible it seems.

It’s like learning about oneself, in a sense.  Like the beauty in any other kind of nature, beauty in music does what it does to us because of who we are, and yet it shapes us, too.  In this case, it “does me” in humor, too.

Enjoy this break from and into reality.  Watch it in full screen for best effect.

(Link to YouTube video: https://youtu.be/BKezUd_xw20)

Explore more Salut Salon music in their YouTube channel.
And visit their website.

(I wonder if they could be booked at the Upper Jay Art Center?)

From the Salut Salon website:

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Telling the Times; Carl Sagan and many others warned us of the shining city in a ditch.

Call this scribblement pessimistic if you must, but calling it so does not change anything.  Optimism begins with noticing, not with self-delusion.  It may begin with noticing self-delusion, too.  I want to point out some things we’ve been told about the soul of a nation and democracy in peril.  I want to tell of their telling, and tell of my seeking, and suggest yours.

If, however, a reader wants to use their idea of pessimism as an epithet, read on and enjoy your conviction.  Just give yourself the benefit of the doubt by reading.

Call this scribblement didactic if you want.  That doesn’t change anything either.  Try responding to something in it, optimistically.  Try acting on it, even if only in words.  That would be a change.

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It’s one world NOW, huh?

“Dance” by Henri Matisse, 1909

I never paid much attention to this Matisse painting until recently when I added it to my screen saver collection. I now see that Matisse’s dancers are all women. Good. That’s the stuff of a one-world mind, because men are feudal. Women are the more evolved half of humanity. I’m not kidding.

In a pandemic, everyone is responsible for everyone else in the world. Everyone fights for everyone to win. If they don’t do it together, it cannot be done. The virus will continue to flourish. We walk and stand together or fall down together. Frankly, that’s a scary thought.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T ALL WASH OUR HANDS. Photo: Spencer Tunick Arrow To Washington, NYC, 1995

.

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Australia Black Summer Untold? And Slicing Songs.

I promise that if you stay with this post to the end, you won’t be sorry.  If you start feeling sorry, feel free to just jump to the end!

I want to follow-up on my post of January 3, 2020, I Am Australian Today.  I’m concerned that it will be forgotten because the news media have moved on to the latest crises.  I’m not letting go of it.  I want to remember that we ARE STILL all burning together.  Watch what happens when Antarctica starts dropping whole worlds of ice into the ocean, which is coming soon to a planet near you.  Have you heard?  Greenland is pouring ice melt water into the ocean at a rate equivalent to the mass of 2,000 elephants per second!  No kidding.  I saw an ice expert who studies Greenland say it.

I owe it to myself to not let rapacious news feeds — including the best of them on public broadcast services — feed on my attention as though it were theirs to consume, not mine to apply.  And there is no more important news than the planet’s ability to sustain life (as we know it and depend on it).

I’m not certain that humanity really should continue to exist.  Maybe it’s time we went the way of the dinosaurs (although they did not kill their own world).  Fine.  But we don’t have the right to destroy the world for all the other species.

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