Three weeks have passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and more than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled their home country. According to the United Nations, it is Europe’s largest refugee crisis in the last decade. But people are finding ways to unite with Ukraine through music.
The internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma began his concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. playing the Ukrainian national anthem expressing his support with the country. After the honoring performance, the full house audience fell silent, but erupted with applause seconds later.
Yo-Yo Ma, along with Emanuel Ax and Leonidas Kavakos, begins his performance at Washington’s Kennedy Center with a performance of Ukraine’s national anthem. A full, standing house. pic.twitter.com/m1shyLzY4Z
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 8, 2022
Later that day, Ma performed in front of the Russian Embassy continuing his protest to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Next to him was a sign that protesters set up declaring the street, “Zelensky Way.” The public street performance was unannounced and most of the people passing by did not recognize the famous musician. He told one local cyclist who noticed him during his low-key gig, “Everyone has to do something.”
Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays outside of the Russian Embassy.
Video: Ryan Stitt pic.twitter.com/NMsBHmverL
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) March 8, 2022
The British singer-songwriter’s “Another Love” has become a symbolic song representing Ukraine’s resilience. Tom Odell’s song ballads about fighting for someone you love and is relatable to many going viral on TikTok. Odell performed for Ukrainian refugees who were passing through the Bucharest station in Romania as they fled their home country. He is scheduled to have a concert alongside Romanian artists to raise funds for the Red Cross in helping Ukrainians in the Romanian capital.
Ukrainian Boy Plays Piano As Russian Troops Invade
Amid the chaos of the Russian invasion – sirens blaring and people yelling in attempts to flee their home city of Kharkiv, Ukraine – one young boy calmly sits down playing the piano. The heartbreaking video of him playing the piece, “Walk to School,” was recorded by a Washington Post reporter and shared on The Post’s Instagram account. The composers of the music piece, Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan, never imagined it would be used as a soundtrack to war, Glass saying, “I never thought of this music as a political piece, but it has become one.” It especially hit close to home for Glass, who lives in the area of “Little Ukraine” in New York, “I sympathize with [my Ukrainian neighbors], their families, and all the innocent citizens and people of Ukraine. They are living through difficulties we all hope to never face,” he told The Post.
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Ukrainian Girl Singing “Let It Go”
The unidentified young boy is not the only Ukrainian musician who moved us with their powerful performance. The whole world was touched watching a viral video of a young Ukrainian girl singing “Let It Go”from Disney’s Frozen in a bomb shelter in Kyiv. She began singing in front of a crowded basement where adults and children were talking and moving around, but as soon as they heard her angel voice, the room fell silent as they listened to her encouraging performance. Idina Menzel who played Elsa in Frozen retweeted the emotional video saying, “We see you. We really, really see you.” Along with garnering millions of views, the video of the seven-year-old also reached the composers of the song, Kristen and Robert Anderson-Lopez. Kristen praised the “Little Girl with the beautiful voice” tweeting, “My husband and I wrote this song as part of a story about healing a family in pain. The way you sing it is like a magic trick that spreads the light in your heart and heals everyone who hears it. Keep singing! We are listening!” The girl, Amelia, is now safe in Poland with her grandma.
We see you. We really, really see you. 💙💛 https://t.co/Vhln1MjXpX
— Idina Menzel (@idinamenzel) March 7, 2022
After 30 years, the Grammy-winning singer is returning to his 1985 song, “Russians” which he hoped would no longer be in need. The 70-year-old British singer posted on his Instagram saying the song is more relevant than ever with the ongoing war in Ukraine. The song is from his debut solo album, “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” singing about the Cold War. Sting signed off his caption with an address to send supplies to Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
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Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York
The Ukrainian chorus group opened for Saturday Night Live performing a patriotic hymn, “Prayer for Ukraine.” Dumka performed in solidarity with their Ukrainian brothers and sisters as a majority of chorus members moved to the U.S. when they were teenagers and young adults. SNL set up their stage with candles spelling out “Kyiv” and sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine which has now become a symbol of peace. Dumka showed their support to their country, posting on their Instagram, “Slava Ukraini” which translates to “Glory to Ukraine.”
It is so empowering and beautiful to see so many people standing with the Ukraine and its people.