2016 was supposed to be a glorious year for Ukraine hockey. A revival that began 10 years ago had the objective of making Ukraine an elite hockey power, instead, the Ukraine/pro-Russian war devastated the plan. But thanks to the resilience of a Ukrainian billionaire, the dream is still alive. Warning: Viewer discretion is advised.
Counting Sheep is a deeply personal retelling of the Maidan revolution in Ukraine — an immersive Ukrainian folk-opera set to the sounds of beloved guerilla-folk party-punk band, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra. In January 2014, Mark Marczyk touches down in Kyiv and is quickly thrust into a nation on the eve of revolution, a volatile whirlwind of tragedy mixed with hope and solidarity, torn apart by brutal violence. Counting Sheep is a striking, visceral exploration into the politics of revolution, beating with the heart of a people yearning for a better tomorrow. A call-to-action and affirmation of the human condition, Counting Sheep invites audiences to be part of the Revolution.
The 12-member cast envelops audience members in this historic time period as they perform moments of revolution amongst three large screens projecting real life news coverage of the revolution that began in 2013. Counting Sheep is performed using gorgeous Ukrainian polyphony choral music and though not in English, the exuberant musical performances and vibrant visuals offer a clear view into the lived experience of those involved in the Maidan, and to an extent, any modern day political revolution. Anticipation, excitement, fear, loss, anger and the will to keep fighting – audience members are by the Revolutionaries’ side, riding the wave of each emotion.
Lonely Planet has ranked Lviv, Ukraine as the 5th best destination you need to see in Europe for 2016. With its independent coffee houses and traditional chocolatiers, Lviv looks, smells, and tastes like the best of Europe. Indeed, its Western flavor has earned it the moniker “Little Paris of Ukraine.” And yet, compared to other prized European cities, relatively few people travel here. Here’s hoping that the Lonely Planet guide opens it up to many more eyes!
Ukrainian artist Viktoria Kravchenko began to notice that not all doors are the same, especially in Ukraine and Europe. Below is a sample of the beautiful watercolor paintings she has done of the unique doorways she’s encountered.
Jamala recently won Eurovision 2016 for her song ‘1944‘ which evoked the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Josef Stalin and likened to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. However, she is not only a singer but a great actress and featured on our site before. In 2014 Jamala appeared in a Ukrainian film Поводир, the Guide about a trip of a young American boy and a blind Ukrainian musician across Soviet Ukraine before and during the Holodomor.
One Thursday in January 2001, Maksym Igor Popov, a 20-year-old Ukrainian man, walked nervously through the doors of the United States embassy in London. While Popov could have been mistaken for an exchange student applying for a visa, in truth he was a hacker, part of an Eastern European gang that had been raiding US companies and carrying out extortion and fraud. A wave of such attacks was portending a new kind of cold war, between the US and organized criminals in the former Soviet bloc, and Popov, baby-faced and pudgy, with glasses and a crew cut, was about to become the conflict’s first defector.
The fundamental purpose of the Ukrainian Institute of America is to develop, sponsor and promote through educational, professional and social activities a greater awareness, understanding, knowledge and appreciation in the United States of the traditional and contemporary art, literature, music, culture, history and traditions of Ukraine, as revealed through its people, both in Ukraine and abroad. Here is a short history of how it came to be.
Aleksandr Hrustevich is a musician from Ukraine whose speciality is the bayan (a chromatic button accordion), an instrument largely unknown in the United States, but gaining momentum in Europe, not least because of Mr. Hrustevich.
In October 2008, the bayanist uploaded a video of himself playing two minutes of “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as a few other videos. A year later, the Vivaldi went viral, especially after he was featured in Digg and NPR. Concert organizers reached out to Aleksandr to showcase his incredible ability to interpret complex pieces meant for the violin and piano, to the bayan. We recently interviewed Aleksander to discuss being a performer in the age of the internet, and the challenge of arranging music for such an unusual instrument.
Not everyone knows that the first fully operational electronic computer in continental Europe was created in Ukraine over 60 years ago, in 1951. The first electronic computing machine was called the Small Electronic Calculating Machine (Russian: MESM). Despite the humble name, the machine was hardly “small”; it contained 6,000 vacuum tubes, and just barely fit into the left wing of the dormitory in the former monastic settlement Feofania 10 kilometers outside Kyiv. The machine was created at the laboratory of computing technologies of the Institute of Electric Engineering of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, under the supervision of Academician Sergey Alekseevich Lebedev.
It began in the 1930’s. The then-young scientist Lebedev was doing research on power grid stability at the All-Union Electric Engineering Institute in Moscow. His work required difficult calculations, and eventually Lebedev began looking for ways to automate and accelerate the calculation process. Thus, the idea was born to create a machine capable of performing complex calculations.
Thirty years ago, on April 26, 1986 the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine. The surrounding area, like the town of Pripyat, were evacuated. This is how the area looks — 30 years later. Be sure to view this video on your mobile device and move it around so you can experience the full 360 degree perspective.