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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.


Cover Story

Showbiz Whizz

Natasha Gordienko is still feeling her way in the world of Ukrainian showbiz, despite some hard slog in the business over many years. Her story became one of success thanks to her desire to sing and her willingness to take a gamble in reality TV. Whats On looks at her journey.

Natasha Gordienko has been gigging since 2007, however it was only after competing in the Holos Krainy (Voice of the Country) talent show did she achieve her goal of gaining a wider audience by signing a contract with Universal Music Group (UMG). Last year her debut videos and singles Kyiv-Goa and Lyubov ne Tekila (Love is not Tequila) rocketed up the Ukrainian charts.

Moment Of Glory
In 2011, Gordienko took part in Holos Krainy, making it into the finals, only to lose out to Ivan Ganzera in the sing-off for top honours. The loss was not a waste of time for Gordienko as producers came calling and she signed a contract with UMG soon after the show. Ask her what she thinks attracted producers and she replies: Its hard to say, so Ill just quote my producer who says I have crazy energy and charisma. I do know my vocal skills are not the best you can find, and there are people who sing better, but I still managed to get through.
The show follows the same format as The Voice, an international reality television singing competition where contestants chosen are then trained by a successful recording artist acting as a coach. Now the tables have turned for the singer as she is coaching a choir from Kharkiv in the third season of Battle of the Choirs talent show. The switch from contestant to coach has been an easy transition for her, she says. Singing and knowing people are judging you is so much scarier than guiding the participants. The mission of the coach is to help participants feel confident. My choir is from Kharkiv and aged 1319. Ive chosen the youngest to have the chance to be the boss, as it makes me wonder how I would manage somebody older than me.

Gordienko Project
Gordienko has released two singles with videos from six songs in total. All her lyrics and music is, so far, the product of her composer Ehor Solodovnikov, despite the fact Gordienko can write lyrics herself. She explains: I do write songs, but they are not used in the project. I totally trust UMG and follow their direction. But if anything changes, in the future I can always go back to my band or continue as Gordienko singing what I write.
For now, Gordienkos single focus is her audience. She grew up watching movies about Jim Morrison and The Rolling Stones, and romanticised of going on a year-long tour. But to achieve that, she needs to build her audience in order to pack concert halls. As she tells it: Right now Im at the stage of gaining an audience. When I have my little army of followers then there will be a reason to record a full album and go on tour. According to her, her target audience is young and energetic people; youth who are wild and free and have not become stale.

Looking To Europe...Via Russia
Although Gordienko is a Ukrainian singer, UMG is Russian. She also sings in Russian but recently started working on a song in English written by a European producer. Last year she sang on Moscows Red Square for thousands of people, which she says was a great experience. However she admits her aspirations extend beyond the Russian market. I think it would be good to play in Poland because, according to what Ive heard from my fellow colleagues, they would accept me more readily. Many musicians admit they feel European audiences are so overwhelmed with quality music that they treat musicians with snobbery. And its so hard to impress them. But Poland is closer to us and I hope people they will get my message, Gordienko says.
She believes Ukrainian artists are in demand in Russia as they are more sincere, making their musical material more interesting for Russian people. With Russian-Ukrainian relations in the spotlight just now, what is Gordienkos take? As a media personality I dont want to promote myself through these events, but I have a strong position. I cant say anything publically as Im signed with a Russian company, but I admit to looking the way of European clubs... Gordienko leaves us with little doubt about what she means.

by Vadym Mishkoriz

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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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