The Saint George Ukrainian Festival took place this past weekend in the East Village, New York.
This annual event marks a wonderful time of celebration of Ukrainian culture as we come together — Razom!
Razom was so happy to take part in this event through hosting our Razom Lounge. It was great to meet so many new individuals and start conversations about Razom projects.
Many of you donated, tried out our VR experience, or stopped by to mark where you’re from in Ukraine on our interactive map (thank you to Bohdan Yaremko for making the map!), stop by for a chat with a Razom volunteer, bought Ukrainian books, got yourself a cool Razom t-shirt, and lucky two of you even won tickets to the June 2 Jamala concert. It was a wonderful weekend and we would like to thank everyone for coming to support.
We thank all attendees and our amazing Razom volunteers for making this possible. And hoping to see you next year!
Enjoy this special video by Markian Nychka. Featured in video are:
Ukrainian cinema has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade, with a new generation of filmmakers producing bold and innovative works that have gained international recognition. From gritty social dramas to surreal, genre-bending art films, Ukrainian cinema is attracting attention from audiences and critics around the world. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the state of contemporary Ukrainian cinema within the Razom For Ukraine network, exploring some of the most exciting films, directors, and trends emerging from this vibrant and dynamic film scene.
The Cleveland International Film Festival is starting on March 22nd and will highlight some films that are supported by Razom for Ukraine, so we encourage you to tune in virtually if you cannot attend the Ohio festival in person.
Whether you’re a fan of independent cinema or simply curious about the latest developments in international film, Ukrainian cinema is definitely worth exploring.
A RISING FURY
Synopsis: Filmed over eight years, A Rising Fury tracks the evolution of the conflict in Ukraine, from the 2013 Maidan Revolution in Kyiv, Ukraine to today. The documentary intimately accompanies Pavlo, a young idealist who enlists in the Ukrainian army to defend his country following Russia’s invasion of the Donbas and Crimea regions in 2014. In this vicious struggle between two culturally intertwined nations where friends can suddenly become foes, Pavlo finds himself on the opposite side of the battlefield from many he once considered allies as he fervently acts to defend his country’s independence, sovereignty, and democracy.
Why you must watch it:
the perspective of a civilian who became a soldier is conveyed through a first-hand narrative;
from Maidan to the full-scale invasion — a span of 8 years was dedicated to filming;
one of the director films the impact Razom makes in Ukraine;
Razom connection: grantee.
When and where to watch: The film had its World Premiere at Tribeca 2022. Follow the instagram page @a_rising_fury_film for upcoming screenings.
FREEDOM ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
Synopsis: The film depicts the horrible realities of this unprovoked war instigated by Putin. It’s an exploration of the courage of the Ukrainian people, fiercely determined to stand their ground until ‘the last drop of blood’. Demonstrating an astounding ability to unite as a people and defend the sovereignty of their country, Ukrainians show compassion and resilience even when surrounded by death, destruction, and unfathomable war crimes. The film transports viewers through a war that started immediately after Maidan (Revolution of Dignity) in 2014 and continues through the 2022 Russian invasion. Through personal stories of civilians, children, soldiers, doctors, the country’s elderly, journalists, religious leaders, and international volunteers, this is a humanizing diary of millions of people whose lives were turned upside down by eight years of conflict.
Why you must watch it:
great companion to the Oscar nominated Winter of Fire documentary;
gives an overall timeline of the full-scale invasion events leading up to July 2022;
follows few storylines of Ukrainians in different regions;
Razom connection: amplifying the message of the film
When and where to watch: The film had its World Premiere at Venice 2023. Follow the instagram page @evgeny_director for screening updates.
SUNFLOWER FIELD (Short Film)
Synopsis: Under the shadowy threat of war, a young girl awaits a call from her father. As the day turns into night, she sinks into a dream from which she must find her way home.
Why you must watch it:
this film explores the impact war and conflict has on young children and shows that children have both the agency and ability to connect with the complexities of life. This is also a film about finding hope in the midst of loss and fear;
Razom connection: the director of the short, Polina Buchak, is an active Razom volunteer who curates film programming as well as creates multimedia content for Razom
When and where to watch: The film will have its World Premiere at Cleveland International Film Festival and Seattle premiere at NFFTY. You can tune in virtually during the duration of those festivals. Follow the instagram page @ms_buchak for screening updates.
Synopsis: The story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Ukraine – Russia during the start of the war. Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village gets captured by armed forces. Shortly after they find themselves at the center of an international air crash catastrophe on July 17, 2014.
Why you must watch it:
offers a unique woman’s perspective on the war;
sheds light on how Russia shapes the narrative;
highlights the pivotal role played by the plane crash in igniting the war;
Ukraine has submitted this movie as its official entry for the Oscars 2023;
Razom connection: grantee.
When and where to watch: Klondike has a US distributor, and it is scheduled for the theatrical release in Summer 2023 in the US. Follow instagram page @klondike.movie for future screenings and updates.
Synopsis: Step by step, Roman Liyubyi’s collage of archive material of MH17 crash, news and social media clips as well as dramatized and animated elements lays bare the strategies behind this hybrid warfare, and exposes the mechanisms that were used to create a dense smokescreen around the true political and military situation. A painful lesson in revelation that also helps us to better understand the present.
Why you must watch it:
an experimental documentary that shows how vulnerable truth is and how it’s portrayed in media;
Razom connection: grantee.
When and where to watch: The film had its debut at Sundance 2023 and was later premiered in Europe at Berlinale 2023. The film is currently going through festivals.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of incredible filmmakers, so we encourage you to search for more on a Ukrainian streaming platform called Takflix that features Ukrainian films of all genres and lengths. Also stay tuned for more Festival Guides: Through Ukrainian Eyes on our social media. Have a lovely screening – дивимось Українське Разом!
by Polina Buchak
Learn more about Razom efforts on the cultural diplomacy front within our Razom Culture project.
Razom for Ukraine is passionate about promoting Ukrainian culture, art and literature. We were thrilled to support the publication of Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s book “Mondegreen” through our Razom Translates program, which raised funds for the translation of the book on Kickstarter. Thanks to the support of our generous donors, the book was published in early 2022.
Mondegreen is a critically acclaimed book that has received praise both in Ukraine and internationally. The book explores the themes of identity, memory, and language and is an important contribution to Ukrainian literature. Through our efforts in translating the book, we are helping to make sure that Ukrainian voices can reach a wider audience.
But our work didn’t stop there. In November 2022, we organized a book tour for Rafeyenko in the United States. Razom covered the author’s travel expenses, arranged his accommodations, and worked with other Ukrainian organizations and universities to organize book readings and events. One of the most exciting aspects of the tour was the active involvement of our Razom Book Club members, who were eager to host Rafeyenko and help bring him to their communities. This grassroots effort is a testament to the passion and commitment of our members to appreciating and promoting Ukrainian literature.
These are just a few examples of the truly inspiring collaborations with organizations and universities to organize book readings and get-togethers. Ania Solovey worked with the local chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and Emory University to put on an event in Atlanta. Irena Chalupa worked with UCCA, Ukraine House, and George Washington University to organize book readings in Washington D.C. And in Cleveland, Irina Bade, a member of Razom Book Club, organized a presentation at the Archive Museum. Maria Genkin moderated a session on the book during the 2022 ASEEES (Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) Conference in Chicago in collaboration with Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed of Carlton University.
Overall, the book tour covered several cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, New Heaven, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. The book presentations also happened at Columbia’s Harriman Institute, Penn State, Harvard and UCSD. The events were a resounding success, with a large audience eager to hear the author speak about his book and his journey as a Ukrainian author. It was a great opportunity for the author to share his experiences and connect with his readers, sparking meaningful discussions and leaving a lasting impact on all who attended.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done to promote Ukrainian literature and culture in the United States, and we’re grateful for the support of our community and partners in making these events a success.
Learn more about and join our Razom Book Club to appreciate Ukrainian literature together.
Learn more about Razom Translates and support our efforts to promote Ukrainian literature in the world. (link)
Razom is very proud to have co-presented the Notes From Ukraine concert at Carnegie Hall that took place on December 4th, 2022. No less than the Concert of the century! The concert that celebrated a 100 years of Shchedryk being presented to the same historic location of New York City.
“‘Carol of the Bells’, a Christmas Staple From Ukraine, a Century Later” – read the title of The New York Times article. And continues stating: “It started as “Shchedryk”, a song about a little bird that was first performed in the United States in 1922. Its enchanting melody has since been sung by Beyoncé and Barenaked Ladies”.
And for us, Notes from Ukraine was a holiday miracle three years in the making, and we are so grateful to everyone who took part in making this incredible experience happen. From bringing the children’s choir, Shchedryk, to the US from Ukraine, to feeding the choir, to co-organizing the concert, finding transportation from rehearsal to rehearsal every day, and doing everything in our power to fill every seat at Carnegie (which was sold out!) – we did it, together, which is the true spirit of what it means to be Razom. As one example of such Razom spirit, we brought together recently displaced Ukrainians that we have been working with, led by volunteer Mariia Khorun under the Ukrainian Response Initiative, to take care of the children from Shchedryk and show them the magic of New York City during the holidays.
Have a look at the video that went viral on Instagram and has been featured in media all over the world – The ‘Shchedryk’ children’s choir from Kyiv, Ukraine performing the Carol of the Bells (Щедрик) at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The choir had just flown in from Poland the night before and immediately took Big Apple by storm!
We were beyond honored to have Vera Farmiga and Martin Scorsese* as our hosts and deeply appreciate their contribution to the promotion of Ukrainian culture in the world.
If you could not join us for Notes From Ukraine in person at Carnegie Hall, or if you would like to recollect those special moments and notes, watch the recording of the concert and experience the magic from the comfort of your home.
We are thankful to our generous partner Vimeo that we are able to share Ukrainian heritage through the power of music with you and the rest of the world.
But the project isn’t over yet! When the curtain drops, the real work begins. Razom took on the financial burden of putting on this great concert and we need your help in making sure we can tie up all the loose ends. We incurred many unexpected expenses and tried to spend money wisely by relying on our volunteers to lend a helping hand each step of the way (thank you x 1,000).
Please head to NotesFromUkraine.org to find ways to donate to support Notes From Ukraine and get the very last tickets to this once-in-century concert. You can also support the children’s choir and their travels to the US to perform at Carnegie Hall directly here: https://htru.io/SzJP
Learn more about other Razom efforts on the cultural diplomacy front within our Razom Culture project.
*The hosts of the Notes From Ukraine concert were an American actress of Ukrainian heritage, Vera Farmiga, and movie director and legend of New York, Martin Scorsese.
Vera Farmiga was born in Clifton, New Jersey to Ukrainian parents. She did not speak English until the age of six and was raised in a Ukrainian Catholic home. She is best known for her roles in movies like Return to Paradise, Autumn in New York, The Departed, The Manchurian Candidate, Up in the Air and Bates Motel for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Vera has been a keen supporter of Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion.
Martin Scorsese is a native New Yorker from Queens with roots in Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later provided inspiration for several of his films. It is hard to encompass the full artistic heritage of Scorsese, but his most famous directing works include Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Shutter Island, Aviator, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Irishman. Five of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
This week we want to shine a spotlight on a very special event coming to New York City this holiday season and warmly invite you to Notes From Ukraine, a concert on Sunday, December 4, 2022 at Carnegie Hall dedicated to 100 years of “Shchedryk” and highlighting Ukrainian music and the connections between Ukrainian and American cultures.
A hundred years ago Ukrainians used the soft power of music to preserve and promote their independence, and today Ukrainian artists are once again turning to culture to communicate with the world.
On October 5, 1922, the Ukrainian Republic Capella performed Mykola Leontovych’s “Shchedryk” in New York City’s Carnegie Hall for the first time to North American audiences, sparking its journey to becoming the beloved Christmas classic known around the world as “Carol of the Bells.” Back then, the concert was a part of a cultural diplomacy missionlaunched in 1919 to promote awareness of Ukrainian independence in Europe and the Americas and to counter Russian propaganda. Under the auspices of the head of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), Symon Petliura, and the Ministries of Education, Arts and Foreign Affairs, the national choir performed more than 200 concerts in North America alone at major halls and universities. The Capella shared Ukraine’s unique choral tradition while promoting the country’s sovereignty and distinctiveness from “the russian world.”
Check out this video to learn more about the incredible and little-known history of one of the most beloved Christmas melodies around the world and its origins.
Notes from Ukraine on December 4th will be a culmination of the collective dreaming, vision, and work of many people, over many years.
Produced by Ukrainian Institute-Kyiv, Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival (UCMF), and us (Razom), it will feature performances by world-famous choral artists from Ukraine and North America, including Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York (as featured on SNL), Kyiv-based, Ukrainian Children’s Choir Shchedryk, TheChoir of Trinity Wall Street, along with special guests, including soprano, Janai Brugger, and Toronto-based Ukrainian folk singer, Marichka Marczyk. The program features a world premiere by composer Trevor Weston, setting the words of Ukrainian Nobel Prize-nominated poet, Serhiy Zhadan (a RazomPartner via the Serhi Zhadan Charitable Foundation), as well as American choral works with Ukrainian connections by composers Eric Whitacre, Leonard Bernstein, Valentyn Sylvestrov, George Gershwin, and others.
This project has never been as important as it is today, when the identity of Ukraine is again under threat and russia’s missiles have targeted cultural sites across the country. In buying a ticket to this concert you will not only discover amazing Ukrainian music and support Ukrainian musical artists and composers, but also become a part of Ukraine’s reconstruction. Proceeds from this event will go to United24 and allocated to the reconstruction of public services.
Notes From Ukraine is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, and the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA. We are grateful for our sponsor Samopomich, Self Reliance Federal Credit Union of New York, and we are looking for more sponsors to become a part this momentous event for the Ukrainian-American diaspora in the U.S. and music lovers in NYC.
We hope to see you all together on December 4th at Carnegie Hall, but before then there are several other great opportunities to connect with Ukraine with events across the country. Here’s a few to put on your radar:
The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the world’s leading national stage will showcase a Benefit Concert for Ukraine on October 18 at 7:30PM. The concert features joint performance by American violinist, Grammy Award-winner and global superstar, Joshua Bell, and the internationally acclaimed New Era Orchestra from Ukraine.
Upcoming premier screenings of Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom with director Evgeny Afineevsky scheduled to attend. Catch a moving, behind the headlines account of the Ukrainian people’s resistance and resilience during the 2022 Russian invasion. With unprecedented access to the events on the ground, it weaves together personal stories of civilians, soldiers, journalists, and international volunteers to give voice to the people whose lives have been turned upside down.
Hampton Film Fest in East Hampton, NY on Saturday, October 8 @ 5:00PM | Regal UA East Hampton and in Sag Harbor, NY on Sunday, October 9 @ 2:00PM | Sag Harbor Cinema
Brooklyn (home of the Brooklyn Cyclones Stadium) welcomes the Ukrainian National Baseball Team for charity baseball games to raise funds to rebuild Ukraine’s youth sports facilities and infrastructure. You’ll have a chance to meet some Ukrainian heroes (baseball players who are members of the Ukrainian military), while helping to raise awareness about the ongoing war in Ukraine. There are two games, each of which include pre-game performances and ceremonies, post-game fireworks, and raffle and silent auction opportunities. General admission is free, but you have to reserve your tickets here.
Game 1:Team Ukraine vs NYPD Baseball on Friday, October 14@ 7:00PM w/ pre-game performances and ceremonies starting @ 6:00PM.
Game 2:Team Ukraine vs FDNY Baseball on Saturday, October 15 @ 2:00PM w/ pre-game performances and activities starting @ 1:00PM.
Bar 9 Piano Bar in NYC, along with the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Bronx School of Music, the Hellenic Progressive Association: Peter Karanous Bx Chapter #175, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokersare hosting a Musical Jam and Fundraiser for Ukraine on Wednesday, October 12 @ 6:00PM. Our own Alex Pryrodny will be one of the performers and fundraising for Razom! You can buy your ticket and even watch the event virtually here.
The Oxbow Gallery in Easthampton, MA will be showing a series of new oil paintings by Joanne Holtje, “Lamentations,” from October 27-November 27, 2022. Begun in early 2022, this series served as a way for her to bear witness to the horror of the invasion of Ukraine. The proceeds of sales from the show, plus an additional 20% match from an anonymous donor will be donated to Razom.
KAZKA is back in the US for its “I’m Ukraine” tour that will kick off with a charity concert at New York’s Melrose Ballroom on November 4 @ 9:00PM. You can also catch them in Miami, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. Get your tickets here!
CALLING ALL CREATORS WHO SUPPORT UKRAINE
Monday, October 24th, 2022
Understanding and celebrating different culture is a necessity for peace and tolerance. Ukraine will have fought a horrific full blown war for 8 consecutive months on October 24th. What has lead Ukrainians to victory, time and time again, is the pride we share in our culture, and it’s what we want to share with the rest of the world.
This is an invitation for you to be a part of an international worldwide social media fundraising campaign for Razom. We have selected 10 Ukrainian mythological characters to highlight this Halloween season. If you choose to participate we would love to share these myths with you and let you create freely. The task is to create (art, music, dance, make up, fashion, etc) based on the myth assigned to you and to post this content on October 24th under the hashtag #UkrainianHalloween. Our team will not be micromanaging your process and we want to emphasize that this will be your work inspired by Ukrainian culture. All forms of artistry and creation are welcomed and encouraged.
This project’s goals are: – Celebrate and highlight Ukrainian culture in a unique way – Celebrate Ukrainian supporters through our close collaboration on #UkrainianHalloween – Fundraise for an imminent victory against our aggressor and also for the immediate rebuilding of a terrorized nation
Questions to: @aleksandr.krapivkin Illustration by: @bubblegum_effect
Razom was one of the winners of the 2022 Innovators Awards in Global Affairs from Network 20/20, their premier event showcasing emerging innovation, global leadership, and people-to-people diplomacy. The gala brought together prominent global leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics, and corporate supporters. Razom’s President, Dora Chomiak and Vice President, Lyuba Shipovich spoke at the gala and accepted the Communication and Civic Engagement award on Razom’s behalf!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about all the meaningful ways you can support Ukraine and immerse yourself and learn from its culture. We sincerely hope to see you at all of these incredible events because we’ll be there!
In our next newsletter installment, we’ll be sharing a deep dive into some new projects recently started by Razom as well as updates on our long standing work. There are some great stories coming your way.
The Ukrainian Institute (Kyiv, Ukraine), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine), Razom for Ukraine (New York, United States), and the Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival (New York, United States) co-present Notes from Ukraine: A 100-Year Celebration of Carol of the Bells at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage on Sunday, December 4, 2022at 2:00 p.m.
The concert showcases world-famous choral artists from Ukraine and North America, including Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York (as featured on SNL), Kyiv-based, Ukrainian Children’s Choir Shchedryk, TheChoir of Trinity Wall Street, along with special guests, soprano Janai Brugger and Toronto-based Ukrainian folk singer Marichka Marczyk.
The program features a world premiere by composer Trevor Weston, setting the words of Ukrainian Nobel Prize-nominated poet, Serhiy Zhadan, as well as American choral works with Ukrainian connections by composers Eric Whitacre, Leonard Bernstein, Valentyn Sylvestrov, George Gershwin, and others.
The choral celebration will bring continued awareness to the current war in Ukraine and part of the funds raised through ticket sales will be directed to President Volodymyr Zelensky’sInitiative: United24 Rebuild Ukraine campaign.
“This year, 2022, marks the centennial of the famous U.S. tour by the Ukrainian People’s Republic’s Koshyts Capella where they first performed the all-time-favorite ‘Carol of the Bells’, or ‘Shchedryk’ as we call it in Ukraine. Judging by the popularity of the song one century later, the tour was a great success of Ukrainian cultural diplomacy. We take this year’s celebration as a great opportunity to celebrate Ukrainian centuries-old culture and statehood in the times when Russia tries to destroy them. I am sure the event will give the audience a sense of what we are defending and why Ukraine will win,”Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba stated.
Celebrating 100 Years of Carol of the Bells
The year 2022 marks one hundred years since the North American premiere of Mykola Leontovych’s “Shchedryk” (known today as “Carol of the Bells”) at New York’s Carnegie Hall. This Christmas classic has captured the American imagination through film, television and commercials — from Home Alone to Coca-Cola to the Muppets — and through performances by groups as diverse as the NBA, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and many others.
“Shchedryk” (“Carol of the Bells”) premiered in the United States at Carnegie Hall on October 5, 1922 on a concert which was part of the first Ukrainian cultural diplomacy project, a world tour by the Ukrainian Republic Capella choir conducted by renowned musician Oleksandr Koshyts. The Capella was established on the initiative of the government of Ukraine and sent abroad to promote awareness of Ukrainian independence in Europe and the Americas and to counter Russian propaganda. The tour was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Arts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), and they performed more than 200 concerts in North America alone, at major halls and universities.
Carnegie Hall Renovation 2014, Location: New York City, Architect: Iu + Bibliowicz | photo credit: Jeff Goldberg / ESTO
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Tickets for “Notes from Ukraine: 100 Years of Carol of the Bells” range from $50 to $105 and are on sale now through the Carnegie Hall Box Office, by calling Carnegie Charge at 212-247-7800, or by visiting carnegiehall.org.
About Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kyiv The mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is to represent and protect the interests of Ukraine in the international arena and to facilitate a favorable international environment for the development and realization of the potential of Ukraine, its society and citizens.
About Ukrainian Institute, Kyiv The Ukrainian Institute Kyiv is a state institution acting in the field of cultural diplomacy. The institution’s activities are aimed at improving the understanding and perception of Ukraine in the world and the development of its cultural ties with other countries. Established by the Government of Ukraine, the Institute operates under the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
About United24, Kyiv UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs.
About Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival, New York The Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival is an annual three-day concert series showcasing Ukraine’s unique and exciting contributions to the field of contemporary music. Based in New York City, the festival engages audiences at the intersection of new music, contemporary events, and the culture of Ukraine.
Razom for Ukraine, New York Razom is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity. Razom, which means “together” in Ukrainian, believes deeply in the enormous potential of dedicated volunteers and donors from around the world united by a single goal: building and maintaining a democratic and prosperous Ukraine. Razom works towards that mission by creating spaces where people meet, partner, and do.
“War cannot eliminate our ability to speak. We retain the right to sing, the right to articulate and to debate our experiences. Ukraine is speaking and today it is impossible not to hear her.”
A third weekend of May is the time when East 7th Street turns blue and yellow and New Yorkers are heading to the annual St. George Ukrainian Festival. The festival celebrates culture and beauty of Ukraine featuring a variety of traditional food, clothing, arts and crafts, music and so much more.
After three years of quarantine, our famous yellow couch and Face Box were back at the Razom Lounge. Face Box by celebrated cartoonist Sashko Danylenko was a unique opportunity to get a portrait created with the help of unique biological intelligence technology all while helping Ukraine through your donations. While the yellow couch this year hosted congresswoman C. Maloney with Consul General of Ukraine O. Golubov and everyone who dropped by to experience Razom’s atmosphere.
This year Razom Lounge featured the Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) and guests were able to add a personal note to the heroes at the frontlines that went into a postcard inside IFAKs. As Ukraine is a winner of the 2022 Eurovision song contest, at Razom Lounge one could meet and converse with our volunteers, who were working at the Eurovision’s press center amplifying the voice of Ukraine to the world.
While at the Lounge one could pick up a custom made in a bomb shelter art piece, a sticker, postcard, poster, pin or a t-shirt. And have a blitz game of chess with the young prodigy. Engage in dialogues with the special guests and the Razom team, and so much more.
With the help of 30+ volunteers and everyone who stopped by we were able to raise around $10,000 for the Emergency Response. We thank all the friendly faces and all volunteers who worked many hours under the New York City’s sun – fueled by Veselka‘s raspberry lemonades and Plast NYC cold borshch – for the beautiful weekend full of love and laughter, all for a great cause of standing with Ukraine. We hope to see you at our upcoming events and the Razom Lounge next year.
This weekend Razom hosted two cultural events in NYC – a #StandWithUkraine Community Concert and a Private Art Tour at Zimmerli. Somebody may ask – is this time for culture? We believe – yes. For years, Razom Culture has been using cultural diplomacy and promoting unique Ukrainian traditions and customs, music, literature and art in the US and the world. These days, we also turn to Ukrainian culture for support and encouragement. Besides all proceeds from both events certainly go toward the Razom Emergency Response.
After the rally on Saturday, the Ukrainian community and all those who have been working to support Ukraine these difficult past couple of weeks were welcomed at the Ukrainian National Home in the Ukrainian Village for a Stand With Ukraine Community Concert.
Volunteers have been working tirelessly on various important initiatives but we needed to be reminded of our strength and resoluteness to keep going. Music, the international language, is the perfect way to do this. Big thanks to Iryna Kit for crafting a beautiful music program which included Ukrainian Village Voices, Zisl Slepovitch Trio, and Fima Chupakhin Jazz Quartet. The music soothed our aching hearts and gave us the zest to continue helping Ukraine. We are grateful to the great friends of the Ukrainian community Veselka, Two Boots Pizza, and Baczynsky East Village Meat Market Inc. for providing the food to sustain and nurture the volunteers. Thank you to everyone who came out for Ukraine and shared smiles, hugs, and words of encouragement. Together we collected about $8000 from the tickets purchases and donations made during the concert, all while enjoying Ukrainian creative genius. It was a wonderful evening amidst chaos, and the goal was always to remind ourselves of the amazing support Ukraine has all over the world and to give us the courage to continue fighting for peace, truth, and freedom.
Photos by AJ Stetson, Olena Blednova, and Alexei Zagdansky
And the very next day, on Sunday, Razom in collaboration with the Zimmerli Art Museum decided to keep the exclusive curator-led tour of Ukrainian art that was arranged a while ago. The exhibition is dedicated to the period of perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union that radically transformed the art scene of Kyiv. It launched Ukrainian contemporary art as a truly global phenomenon and changed the perception of Kyiv from a backwater province into a new art capital, preparing the city for its new role as the emerging state’s capital. The tour was led by Olena Martynyuk, PhD, a Guest Research Curator of the show and a postdoctoral fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University. Initially, the proceeds from the tickets were planned to send toward further development of programs and exhibitions dedicated to Ukrainian art. But a quick decision was made that all proceeds of $3400 would also go toward the Emergency Response, where are needed the most right now.
Thus, while learning more about and enjoying Ukrainian music and art, we have collected over $11,000, which means more tactical medical supplies will be delivered to Ukraine and help save lives of brave Ukrainians.
On February 7th, Razom Book Club gathered to discuss Victoria Amelina’s book “Dom’s Dream Kingdom” (Дім для Дома), and the following afternoon they met with Victoria Amelina virtually.
“As if we’ve been reading the same book for several years,” said Irena Chalupa, “a book about memory, how to prevent forgetting.” Indeed, in the book Dom’s Dream Kingdom, the Tsiliik family, who live in Stanislav Lem’s old apartment at 4 Lepkoho Street, do not know how to talk to each other about the past. How to tell about the fact that people who are no longer in Lviv used to live in this apartment, how to remember a family history that you want to forget so much, how to find out who you are, if your parents have been trying to forget for many years.
This is how Yana Zavada, another member of the Razom Book Club, described the conversation: “In our book club we have already read about the heterogeneous Donbass in “The Death of Leo Cecil Made Sense”. Now it was a topic of heterogeneous Lviv (some in the club were very surprised by this, by the way). In these literary parallels, I see a movement towards each other. We are the one country. Cool. Original.”
In the words of the novel: “The house where you are remembered is scattered like the wreckage of frozen rivers above the Earth. I can now say “my city”, but it is as absurd as saying “my air”. Even the air we breathe has already been someone’s and will be. Our air while it is with us. Our house, our home while it is with us. And we are all always in this home – each at our own depth.”
These topics were discussed with to Victoria among others, such as why she is not writing now as much as she is preparing for the New York Literary Festival and what she is planning to do in Poland with the Conrad Scholarship that Victoria won earlier this year. will begin in April. We invite you to watch this conversation, and if it inspires you, then read Victoria Amelina’s book “Дім Для Дома”.
It is unbelievable, but our Kickstarter campaign to publish Rafeyenko’s book in English has reached the initial goal amount of $5,500 — just two days after we launched it!
We THANK everyone so very much for incredible support of this important book.
Kickstarter campaign will still run for another month as per the site’s rules. The amount collected will cover the absolute minimum necessary to complete the translation, but the overall cost of the translation and rights to the book are a lot higher. And so every cent we collect above the initial goal amount will still go towards supporting the work of Volodymyr Rafeyenko and towards fully covering the cost of the translation so that the writer and the translator can continue their work!
Volodymyr Rafeyenko had to leave his home city of Donetsk immediately after the occupation by Russian-sponsored forces has begun. He started writing about the traumatic experience right away, too: first in the novel ‘Longue Duree’ (Dovhi chasy), which appeared in Russian and in Ukrainian (in Marianna Kiyanovska’s translation), and later in ‘Mondegreen.’
Volodymyr left his home when he was 45, having to abandon everything he had worked to achieve, and beginning from scratch in Kyiv. In one of his interviews, he compared the process to what Johann Sebastian Bach must have experienced when he had to bury four children from his first marriage, and then seven children from his second marriage. That experience of excruciating pain always accompanies Volodymyr, who now lives at a fellow writer’s dacha in Bucha near Kyiv, where he continues to write and from where he teaches literature courses online.
We believe that it is incredibly important for the world to learn more about such experiences that many Ukrainian citizens have gone through as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Your contribution allows us to change the way the world perceives Ukraine — and it will hopefully generate more support for our young democracy. There are many facets to Ukraine’s history and culture, and not all of them are tragic. With this campaign, we’re beginning with what’s very critical right now, but we hope to be able to count on your support in the future, too, when we campaign to translate and publish other works of Ukrainian literature in English.