I was walking the streets of London one evening and met a group of young tourists from Sweden. We met, talked: how are you, where are you from? When he answered that he was from Ukraine, one of the young men reached into his pocket, took out a mobile, rummaged a little in it and showed me – on the screen was the cover of the album of the Stoned Jesus band from Kyiv.
I was pleasantly surprised. Finally, I met people who, with the word “Ukraine”, do not remember Chernobyl, Andriy Shevchenko or Maidan, but associate this country with a specific cultural product.
More and more Ukrainian musicians, tired of the dominance of the pop format in the Ukrainian media space, are looking for and finding their listeners far from home.
Stoned Jesus is often considered a Ukrainian stoner band, although they have recently transcended style and country.
The Stoned Jesus band, which plays rather heavy music, has become recognizable in Ukraine quite recently. Although this was preceded by a long and meticulous expansion into large and small Western scenes.
In total, there are already 22 countries behind the back of the team led by Igor Sidorenko.
As a result, an invitation to the USA, Great Britain and, at the end, the appearance in the list of participants in the world’s largest rock festival Hellfest-2016 is a success that no Ukrainian performer has yet been able to achieve.
“We started from Eastern Europe, where we contacted brothers in the genre among specialized clubs, promoters, groups, gradually creating our own network of acquaintances,” Igor Sidorenko shared his experience with BBC Ukraine.
Like Stoned Jesus, the ethno-group “DakhaBrakha” did not immediately manage to gather its audience in Ukraine.
However, now everything is different – tickets for their last performance in Kyiv were sold out a month before the concert. Although sold out (when all tickets are sold out before the start of the event) is a rather rare occurrence for Ukrainian show business.
The year 2015 was full of pilgrimage for the members of “DakhaBraha”: the first broadcast on the eminent KEXP radio station in Seattle, the first performance of Jools Holland Later on BBC Two – on the same stage with David Gilmour, other stars … All this was the first not only for the group, but also for the Ukrainian scene as a whole.
And also the performance at Sziget, in America and Europe, confidently secures the status of a world-class team for the group.
The group from Kharkov was at first a solo project, but gradually acquired musicians, including Nikita Rubchenko, known for creating a rock version of the National Anthem of Ukraine.
Having started in 2013, the team played the first tour in Ukraine only last month. However, this was preceded by two trips to Europe – about 120 concerts in 17 countries.
The band even made a short film about their life on the road.
“In a nutshell, it’s hard to describe, because the process is long and rather difficult. But in general, it’s a search. Bookers, musicians, just people who listen to your music and are ready to help, and so on. Thousands of letters to an email address and the same dialogues on Facebook,” group leader Andrey Medved told Air Force Ukraine.
Andrew Bear have recently recorded their second album and are already gearing up for another creative tour of Europe in the spring.
The duet of the poet and music Pavel Nechitailo and Yana Shpachinskaya from the group “CheChe” comes from western Ukraine.
This team can be safely considered an export project. Zapaska publishes his albums in Europe, the vast majority of concerts also take place there.
For example, just before the end of winter, Zapaska should perform in Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Slovakia, and who knows where their music will take them. The same thing happened last year.
The group, among other qualities, catches the sophisticated Western audience with the live-looping technique – when the music is looped and mixed right on the stage.
This mysterious trio from Rivne, playing “dark” electronics on the border with post-punk in the spirit of the late 1970s, is just preparing its first full-length album.
However, this did not interfere with numerous concerts in Ukraine, a contract with the Kyiv label WornPop, appearances at GOGOLFEST and performances in Warsaw, Lodz, Poznan, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In the near future, the band members say, the continuation of foreign tours, including in Poland and Germany.