Interview

The Bright Lights of Maidan

Maidan is not dead – yet.

Last night, its main stage hosted a concert in support of the Ukrainian army fighting in the East. For such a low-key event, the showcasing of Ukrainian talent – both young and old – was pretty formidable. With its flashmobs, poetry readings, folk songs and impassioned speeches, the cries of “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine!) carried on well into the night.

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Ukraine’s youth is not to be underestimated. The event’s organiser, Alexei Vetchinov, a 17-year old aspiring actor, has been coordinating cultural events like this since the protests began.

Alexei is adamant that Maidan should stay untouched. In the wake of recent announcements that a clear-up of the square may be on the cards, he wanted to prove that Maidan still has a function.

“Maidan should stay as it is until the system is crucially changed… until members of the government act on behalf of the people.

“By doing this, I want to give a voice to those who have stayed here since winter.”

It’s attitudes like this which challenge the general consensus that Maidan has become a haven for drunks and social exiles.

Yesterday’s viche was attended by around two hundred people of all ages. Not bad for a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon.

I talked to Lumiere, an up-and-coming boy band featuring Ukraine’s X-factor participant Roman Veremeychik, about their involvement in the concert.

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In a salute to their predessors and inspirations, they summed up their motives in one word: peace.

“As musicians, we can only show through our songs that we don’t want people to fight.

“What’s happening in the East is very sad – as one nation, we must be united.

“Nobody wants this war – we want to live in peace and in harmony with our government.

“…And play good music!” piped bass player Leo (29).

This isn’t the first time the band have set foot on Maidan’s main stage.

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During the protests, they joined the ranks of Dakha Brakha and Ruslana to volunteer on stage, in an effort to raise morale amongst the protesters in the worst stages of the revolution.

“At that time, we were playing against our government: a president and prime minister cannot be richer than the country they run.”

With their floppy hair and easy smiles, it’s hard to forget that, at heart, these boys live for their band.

“We want to share positive songs and experiences with people — we want to make our art eternal; for it to last forever.

Guitarist Tarik (30) added, “Music is above everything – it’s of greater importance than war and politics.”

When quizzed on Maidan’s future, they simply responded.

“Klitschko has many problems to solve- this is not a priority for him right now.”

So perhaps Maidan should stay. If anything, it certainly puts on a good show.

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