The music continues in Kharkiv under the Russian bombardments

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Kharkiv (Ukraine) (AFP) – Russian bombs have been falling on Kharkiv daily since the invasion of Ukraine, but time stood still briefly on Saturday as a group of Ukrainian musicians moved listeners with a classical concert.

Three violinists, a cellist and a bassist delighted an audience of a few dozen people for half an hour in one of the largest metro stations in Ukraine’s second city, close to the Russian border.

Underground and safe from rockets and missiles, the musicians, aged 20 to 35, played the national anthem and several tunes from popular Ukrainian folklore.

The delighted listeners were displaced people, enjoying the concert which took place on a marble staircase.

They have been living in the station since the start of the invasion on February 24, fleeing the war from above and sleeping in old train cars.

“When our hearts are full, it helps us overcome difficult times,” said Sergiy Polituchy, director of Kharkiv Music Fest, one of Ukraine’s most prestigious music festivals.

The concert was his idea, held on the same day the annual event would have started.

Underground and safe from rockets and missiles, the musicians, aged 20 to 35, played the national anthem and several tunes from popular Ukrainian folklore. Aris MessinisAFP

Despite the sounds of war, “the music doesn’t stop,” he says.

“This mini-concert is a symbol that light will conquer darkness, that truth will triumph over lies… the organization was a bit complicated because of security, but we got there!”

The musicians thrilled the audience with an excerpt from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 as well as Dvorak’s humoresques.

They then played an aria by Myroslav Skoryk – a Ukrainian composer who died in 2020 – which is often used by President Volodymyr Zelensky in his videos and posts on social media.

‘Right way’

Protected by armed guards, the governor of Kharkiv Oleg Sinegubov and the mayor of the city Igor Terekhov also attended the recital.

“A month ago, we could not have imagined that our soldiers and soldiers could, hand in hand, protect the city,” Terekhov said.

“In times of war, we all work together for victory, this concert shows that we are on the right track,” he added.

The musicians thrilled the audience with an excerpt from Bach's Orchestral Suite 3 as well as Dvorak's humoresques
The musicians thrilled the audience with an excerpt from Bach’s Orchestral Suite 3 as well as Dvorak’s humoresques Aris MessinisAFP

Videos of professional cellist, Denys Karachevtsev, have been shared on social media of him performing in front of bomb-destroyed buildings, magical moments between chilling periods of fierce Russian bombardment.

“It was just an idea, to be useful to my people, my country and my hometown. I love this city, its people. Anything I can do to help, I will,” he said. told AFP.

“People tell me that my videos are bringing some normalcy back into their lives. It’s important right now… We’re not afraid, we’re strong and everyone can help in their own way,” he said. he adds.

Other Ukrainian musicians also shared hopeful clips on social media.

Violinist Vera Lytovchenko in her refuge in Kharkiv, pianist Irina Maniukina in her damaged house near kyiv or other members of the Odessa opera, in front of their rooms protected by sandbags.

“Everyone came to my house for just one rehearsal,” said Tatiana Chukh, one of the violinists who performed at the metro concert.

“In the early days of the war, there was a silence within me. Then I understood that we had to go on living, for our ideals, for our country, for our future,” she added.

The performance also included an aria by Myroslav Skoryk – a Ukrainian composer who died in 2020 – which is often used by President Volodymyr Zelensky in his videos and posts on social media.
The performance also included an aria by Myroslav Skoryk – a Ukrainian composer who died in 2020 – which is often used by President Volodymyr Zelensky in his videos and posts on social media. Aris MessinisAFP

“Playing our instruments is what we know best, we will do it in all circumstances,” she said, adding with a big smile and misty eyes: “It was perhaps the best concert of my life.”

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