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Photo project about jazzmen, film, and concert. Ukraine at WOMEX 2022


For the first time, Ukraine has been officially represented at the largest conference of the world music stage Worldwide Music Expo (WOMEX) in Lisbon. Ukrainian Institute in cooperation with Music Expo Ukraine organised a Ukrainian programme.


Every year, WOMEX gathers more than 2,600 music industry professionals from more than 90 countries. This year, the conference lasted from October 19 to 22. The packed program included public discussions, networking, concerts, film screenings and exhibitions. Among the highlights of the Ukrainian programme were: 

Photo exhibition ‘Ukrainian jazzmen at war’

Photo project about the stories of jazz musicians who joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Territorial Defence. Photographs of jazzmen from pre-war concert life were contrasted with current life during the war. Concert photos were taken by professional photographers, and photos of everyday military life are taken by comrades in the service. Among the musicians: Volodymyr Lykhoshva, Oleksandr Lebedenko, Mark Tokar, Danylo Vinarikov, Oleksandr Remez, and others. Spectators could listen to jazz compositions by the musicians using QR codes.

The project was initiated by the Ukrainian Institute and created in partnership with Jazzography.in.ua.

Balaclava Blues concert 

The Ukrainian-Canadian band Balaklava Blues performed a modern folk-noir show. The band was created by an ethnic Ukrainian from Toronto and a Kyivan. Marko and Marichka met in 2014 on the Maidan in Kyiv, created a family and a series of powerful world-famous music and theatre projects in Toronto. The band actively supports Ukraine: it played dozens of charity concerts in Europe, Canada, and America. In August 2022, Balaklava Blues had a charity performance on the main stage of one of Europe’s biggest festivals Colours of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. 

Balaklava Blues’ latest release SWALLOW/LASTIVKA is dedicated to Ukrainian women who, because of the war, are forced to adapt their lives in a foreign land. Russia’s war against Ukraine is a part of life for Balaklava Blues because Marichka and Mark’s brothers serve in the Armed Forces, and part of Marichka’s family died near Kyiv.

Film screening ‘Rose. Film-Cabaret’ by Irena Stetsenko Irena Stetsenko

Tragicomic musical about seven members of the Ukrainian band Dakh Daughters. Cinematic cabaret shows the beauty and difficulties of the life path of female musicians in a country experiencing revolution and war.

Delegates from Ukraine who participated in public discussions: Iryna Lobanok (musician of the band Krapka;KOMA), Daria Leleko (bandurist), Maryana Bondarenko (Ukrainian Institute), Alyona Dmukhovska (Music Export Ukraine), Diana Dadonova (Music Export Ukraine), Anastasia Pokaz (music manager, producer).

Ukrainian programme at WOMEX 2022 was jointly organised by Ukrainian Institute and Music Expo Ukraine.

Photo credits: Eric van Nieuwland, Yuri Gryaznov.