The Prince Albert
48 Trafalgar Street
48 Trafalgar Street
AboutThe Ukrainians’ unrelenting energy and cross-category appeal has meant that they have wowed audiences at more than a thousand festivals and clubs throughout Europe and North America over the last three decades, including both Glastonbury and Womad in the UK.
As well as exploring the traditional Ukrainian folk repertoire The Ukrainians play Ukrainian language versions of Western pop songs, including their brilliantly danceable interpretations of classic tracks by Joy Division, T-Rex, The Sex Pistols, The Smiths and The Velvet Underground. The majority of their songs are self written in their unique cross-over style.
The Ukrainians were formed in 1991, the year Ukraine regained its independence from the Soviet Union. 'Oi Divchino' was the band’s first single, which became an NME Single of the Week, and the video for it was shot in Kyiv. It was the first pop video to be produced in the east for a western band.
The first album, 'The Ukrainians', established the group as the world's major exponent of a new hybrid of traditional Ukrainian folk and British Indie rock music. The Sportswear company NIKE then approached The Ukrainians to record the soundtrack for a TV ad to accompany footage of Ukrainian world champion pole-vaulter, Sergey Bubka. It was screened globally.
In 1992 the group next released its ‘Pisni Iz The Smiths’ EP, which included Ukrainian language versions of classic Smiths songs. It was voted no.1 ‘Single of the Year’ by Berlin DJs. The ‘Vorony’ album followed, extending the Ukrainians' popularity to almost every country in Europe. As a result, The Ukrainians played a 110 date tour from Western Spain to eastern Ukraine. In Ukraine, as guests of Ukraine's Ministry Of Culture, the band played to a crowd of 75,000 people in Kyiv's Independence Square. The next album, ‘Kultura’, was influenced by the band's experiences on that tour.
The Ukrainians’ fourth studio album, Respublika, contained mostly traditional Ukrainian folk songs and captured a post-punk urgency reminiscent of Peter and Len’s early Wedding Present John Peel sessions.
In 2009 The Ukrainians released ‘Diaspora’, the concept of which was migration: the heartbreak of leaving family and homeland coupled with the excitement of starting a new life. The album had a strong resonance at a time when a wave of young Ukrainians were moving to the West.
2014 saw ‘Never Mind The Cossacks’ on vinyl for Record Store Day 2014. It featured the bands unique versions of classic Sex Pistols songs and sold out in one day.
In 2015 ‘A History of Rock Music In Ukrainian’ was released, featuring The Ukrainians’ re-workings of some of their favourite classic British and American rock and pop songs. It was exciting stuff, and made you wonder how rock music might have sounded had it developed in the east rather than the west!
The Ukrainians’ most recent, and arguably best album, ‘Summer in Lviv’ deals with themes that reflect the Ukraine of today: conflict, populations on the move, immigration, and a struggle for identity. It is also - like all Ukrainians’ albums - bursting with fabulous danceable tunes!
* One of The Ukrainians’ sessions for the John Peel programme on the BBC was included in MOJO magazine’s ’20 Landmark Peel Sessions’ alongside sessions by Pink Floyd, The Buzzcocks, Nirvana, Billy Bragg and Joy Division.
* The Ukrainians’ music has been used as a wake up call for astronauts on the orbiting International Space Station.
* In Ukraine, many of the band’s own songs have become standards and are to be found in the repertoires of music ensembles ranging from heavy metal bands to school choirs.