Panel: Ukraine – Music Boost or Nemesis?
(Vienna, October 1, 2015)
What does the music scene in a crisis-ridden area such as the Ukraine look like? In what way is the Russo-Ukrainian conflict affecting new art movements within a field of economic pullback and human misery?
PANEL HOST & SPEAKERS
One of the most important parts of the WAVES CENTRAL EUROPE festival is to bring together European cultures and foster a fruitful exchange. Although Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by several countries, there is still a lot to learn about various European neighbors – especially the West getting up to speed with the East.
Of course this development is due to the division of Europe in the recent past. And even though the physical borders were removed a long time ago, old thinking still has to change. It is time to realize that new music discoveries not only come from England, France or Scandinavia. Of course we are not always consciously aware of such stereotypical thoughts, but subliminal changes in thinking take a long time.
At this panel, speaker Dartsya Tarkovska was confronted with quite a few audience attendants that had only little knowledge of the music scene in the Ukraine. The leader of the East European music conference Colisium was asked to give an insight on the crisis in the Ukraine and whether it caused a boost or collapse in the local music world. Perfectly prepared and supported by vivid image and film footage, Dartsya held a short presentation on the situation in her home country.
With her summary of events in the Ukraine, Dartsya managed to convey the perfect foundation for a deeper understanding of the panel topic. Changes in the music scene began in 2013 with peaceful student riots at the “Independence Square” (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), which were soon violently dissolved by the police. But instead of giving in, the accession to the EU was still demanded, and so the streets were filled, day after day, with people who wanted to be part of the revolution – now known as the “Euromaidan”.
At first this had a negative impact on the music business, with foreign artists cancelling their concerts for security reasons. This meant that a considerable amount of concert promoters had to give up their jobs, because the financial problems became too serious. And even though the Euromaidan was supposed to have a happy end, the Ukraine soon fell into conflict with Russia.
MUSIC BECAME POLITICAL
This had the effect that the previously peaceful and harmonious cooperation between the Ukrainian and Russian music industry slowly crumbled. Listeners began to think about which side they wanted to be on and whether it would be justifiable to continue to support Russian music. This was a very serious change for a market that used to be limitless.
Ukrainian artists also had to pick a side. Local bands started writing songs about the revolution, which became true anthems of that time. Due to the absence of foreign bands performing concerts in the Ukraine, listeners were thrown into their own local musical world and found a new liking to it. Suddenly shows of Ukrainian bands were sold out, which had not happened for a long time.
In this sense, Dartsya sees the crisis as a boost for the local scene. The revolution also brought a political dimension to the music and motivated people to invest their money in local bands, which in turn donated this for humanitarian purposes.
Looking at the example of the Ukraine, it becomes quite clear that music can have a bonding function in difficult situations, but at the same time a political crisis also has a devastating effect on a well-functioning and stable market.