If you think Ukrainian music is all about melancholy, you've clearly never heard the Ukrainian Voices choir! While their repertoire spans a range of genres, from heartfelt ballads to reggae, they also have plenty of upbeat folk tunes that will have you tapping your feet and clapping along. And if you're lucky, you might even catch them doing traditional Ukrainian dancing on stage!
Founded in 2022, the Ukrainian Voices are a Brighton-based community choir created to share Ukraine's rich musical heritage with audiences in Brighton and beyond. Many choir members are refugees who have fled Ukraine's ongoing conflict and sought safety and new beginnings in the UK. For them, the choir is a creative outlet and a way to reconnect with their homeland and preserve their culture.
One of the unique features of the Ukrainian Voices choir is their commitment to inclusivity and community. They warmly welcome singers of all ages and backgrounds who want to sing and learn something new about Ukrainian culture along the way. Choir members have spoken about how being a part of this group has allowed them to form meaningful friendships and create lifelong memories.
The choir member tells us how being part of the choir has been a transformative experience for her: "I never thought I'd be able to sing in front of people, let alone in a choir. But the Ukrainian Voices choir has given me the confidence to embrace my voice and my heritage. Plus, we get to wear embroidered shirts and sing about Сossacks, what's not to love?" Joking aside, the choir takes its mission to celebrate and promote Ukrainian culture very seriously. The choir members note, "We want to show people that Ukraine is more than war and politics. Our rich history and culture deserve to be celebrated and shared."
The choir has performed at various events and venues, including but not limited to:
Independence Day of Ukraine,
Patcham Duck Fayre 2022,
City Annual Interfaith Service 2022,
Refugee Week in Jubilee Library,
Brunswick Festival 2022,
"Made in Ukraine" concert,
Ukrainian-Brightonian series of events,
St. Nicolas Day,
Ukrainian film festival in Brighton,
International Women's Day.
Whether you're a fan of traditional music or simply looking for a unique and uplifting performance, the Ukrainian Voices choir is not to be missed. Booking the Ukrainian Voices choir for your event is a great way to enjoy beautiful music, celebrate Ukraine's rich cultural heritage, and support the choir's refugee members in their journey of resettlement. They are always excited to bring their music to new audiences and are happy to work with organisers to create a bespoke programme that fits the occasion. So why not add a touch of magic to your next event by inviting the Ukrainian Voices choir to perform?
"Singing takes an important place in my life. My mother and grandmother often sang folk songs and taught me. During my school years, I also sang in the choir. As an adult, I began writing and performing with my own songs. I went through life singing. When I had the opportunity to perform with the Ukrainian Voices choir, I was pleased to become part of a friendly team. I found like-minded people, I feel comfortable in my creative element. In addition, I would like to add my own poetic lines: A song is the soul of a person! Time will not stop it! In the heart of the country The song unites us!"
"The idea of creating a choir came to me in the summer of 2022. I recently arrived from Ukraine and felt that I lacked inspiring activities. In Kyiv, I used to attend an amateur choir led by Malyarevsky. I shared my thoughts with the English tutor at Functional Skills, and she supported me. The Brighton swimming center, led by Paul Smith, kindly agreed to provide a room for practicing. Oksana Kovaliova became our musical muse and conductor. So we started to gather, sing, perform. To me, the choir is a lot of work, but also a great inspiration."
"I am a refugee from Mariupol who has found solace and community in the choir. The power of music and shared experiences has allowed me to connect with others and express myself in ways I never thought possible. Singing in Ukrainian Voices Choir has provided a platform for me to share my story and connect with others who have gone through similar struggles"
Thanks Tetiana for writing this post, and all the choir members for their contributions. The choir are fantastic to see perform live, keep an eye out on their social media (or ours) for more concerts coming soon!