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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Kyiv Culture

Three Faces of Basta

Russian rap star Basta, aka Vasiliy Vakulenko, is returning to Kyiv with his fourth album Basta 4, released earlier this year. A rapper with a 16-year career, a back catalogue of eight albums, and several different guises, his lyrics are confrontational and direct, as Basta addresses what he sees in the world around him and he does so without fear of judgement. He tells Whats On a little more about his music and his life philosophy in the run up to his show.

If you are a fan of Russian rap youll have definitely heard of Basta, or his other incarnations Nogano and N1nt3nd0. All three are the creation of Vasiliy Vakulenko, but each of them has a different face. The lyrical Basta, the brutal Nogano and the cybernetic N1nt3nd0 are used to send his message out to the Russian-speaking world. On this occasion we speak to the first of his personas Basta.

Basta 4 has been three years in the making. What took you so long?
Alongside working on the album we were also involved in creating N1nt3nd0 hip-hop in South American style. N1nt3nd0 is about gangsters and tracks of the 90s like Cherniy Pistolet (Black Gun), Mama ama Kriminal (Mama ama Criminal), Pulya Navylet (Bullet Right Through) and so on.

Tell us about the track list on Basta 4 is there an overarching theme or message?
Its sad in the beginning and bright at the end. The track Eto Vse (This is Everything) is definitely the light at the end of the tunnel.

Listening to your tracks, rap seems to be your passion, devotion, and lifestyle. Why would you say rap is so close to your heart?
Rap is a comfortable and open form of narration for me its how I like to communicate.

Do you remember when you first experienced this genre? What attracted you to it?
When I was a child I listened only to metal: Biohazard, Black Sabbath and so on. When rap came on the scene and became more mainstream, it was something completely new for me and so it went further. Onyx, Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Wu-Tang Clan they were my favourites. Its easy rap is riot, protest. Rap replaced punk and rock.

Speaking about how you got your start, your grandmother was your first musical mentor. Were music lessons a disaster for you at that time?
Yes and yes. My granny was Alla Razdaybeda, who was from Kyiv by the way.

Tell us about your journey into music what happened along the way?
I was walking, falling, getting up and walking further. This is the way of every man.

What do you think about your popularity, does it come with some responsibility?
Of course, responsibility is important. Im from Rostov-on-Don, so I know what it means to be responsible. (Smiles)

Usually its the young who listen to rap, but as they get older move onto other genres. Is the rap framework getting narrow for you, have you thought of branching out into other forms of music?
Well, youre not completely right about the youth. Rap is the most developing genre. Analysis of the hip-hop industry shows rap is listened to by people 13 to 60 years old. Can you imagine that range in any other genre?

Some of your tracks have a political subtext is it a creative protest against whats happening in Russia? Did you get any calls after the song Solntsa ne Vidno (No Sun is Seen) was released?
This is not a protest. This is just whats happening around me. I didnt get any threats, at least not yet.

Your songs draw a picture of your personality as being uncompromising, straightforward, brutally honest surely somewhere deep inside you are romantic and perhaps even somewhat sentimental?
You are 100% right! Im pleased you understand me and my work.

Basta (RU, rap)
18 October at 19.00
Tickets: 250 1,200hrv
Stereo Plaza (Kikvidze 1)

by Kateryna Kyselyova

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Comments (3)
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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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