Ukrainian singer Viktoria Korniykova has never been to Israel before, but hadn’t seen much beyond her hotel or the Park Hayarkon Amphitheater where she performed Thursday night with her band, Leléka, and singer Ivri Lider to celebrate Europe Day.
“I want to get a sense of what Tel Aviv is,” said Korniykova, who added that she planned to spend Friday touring the city before returning home to Berlin, where she has lived since. seven years.
The Ukrainian-born artist was invited to perform at the Euro Party organized by the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel with Lider, with part of the profits going to support the efforts of the services Magen David Adom emergency in Ukraine.
The show was special, Korniykova said, in solidarity with Ukraine.
“I felt a responsibility knowing that this audience of people not only wanted to have fun, but wanted to support Ukraine,” she said.
Korniykova’s band, Leléka, is a collaboration of musicians from Poland and Germany, playing an unusual mix of European jazz and Ukrainian folk, creating an experimental sound full of improvisation.
Their albums regularly include traditional Ukrainian music, such as “Karchata”, an old Ukrainian folk song which is the first track of their new album “Sonce u Serci” (Sun in the Heart).
Korniykova also tends to sing “Plyve Kacha” at many concerts, an anti-war song included in Leléka’s 2017 album.
The song is a conversation between a mother and her son, their last before he goes off to war.
“He knows he’s going to die,” Korniykova said. “These are the mother’s cries.”
Singing the song, a sad and heartfelt piece, is like therapy for her, Korniykova said.
“There’s always a minute of silence for the public that I don’t ask for, and it’s a moment where I can express something that the people of Ukraine feel and all mothers feel if they lose their children,” said Korniykova. “A mother is so universal. Mothers have no nationality and I just wish in my heart that we can all live in peace and never have mothers who lose their children again.
While Korniykova has lived in Germany for seven years, her family was living in Ukraine at the start of the war.
She spent the first weeks of the war working to evacuate them to safety, including her sister with three children who lived in kyiv, her disabled mother and grandmother who had not traveled anywhere for many years, and her father in the eastern Donbass region, where Korniykova grew up.
She brought them all to Germany, setting up each family unit in different villages across the country.
Korniykova is still in close contact with friends in Ukraine and tends to spend a lot of time on her phone trying to help where she can.
The Euro Party concert in Tel Aviv offered a different perspective to her own reality, Korniykova said.
“I think every action, every concert helps,” she said. “Sometimes I’m so tired because there are so many refugees and so many problems and it’s easy to lose hope. But then you see people from another country coming together to celebrate Ukrainian culture, you feel you are not alone, people care. Maybe there is no solution, but it helps to talk about it.
Korniykova has also considered performing in Israel, a country she’s only heard of in the headlines, where she’s seen people in military uniforms on the streets.
“If it’s not your country or your problem, it’s really hard to understand,” she said. “I often think about being away from Ukraine, wishing I could be of more use, but my friends tell me to keep singing around the world, to show how beautiful Ukrainian culture is.”