Maryana Golovko recording the song Blue Skies
© Supplied
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The Ukrainian soprano raising her voice for refugees

Maryana Golovko has collaborated with Australian band The Bluesberries to produce the moving song Blue Skies.

Last month, Australian band The Bluesberries launched their song Blue Skies to raise funds for the people of Ukraine. The Bluesberries collaborated with 70 Australian and Ukrainian musicians, including soprano Maryana Golovko. Read our interview with Maryana below to find out how she got involved with this important project.

How did this collaboration come about and why did you decide to get involved?

I’ve known Polina Velichko, who is our amazing producer, for almost six years. We often work together in Kyiv at a classical music festival. In April, when Kyiv became a war zone, I had to leave and go to Berlin. When I was living there, she called me and said she wanted to play me a song demo that some Australians had made to support Ukrainians.

I listened and straight away thought that it was very important. It felt like a song that really unites people. I said to Polina: “I'm in.”

I recorded some notes for the wonderful composers, Dan Fallon and Paul Beard, just so they could listen to my voice and decide whether I was the right person. I sent it over, and they quickly responded saying they would like to work together.

You wrote a part of the song yourself. What do the lyrics mean to you?

This song is very special because Dan and Paul gave me freedom with my lyrics. And I decided to write something that will be meaningful and reverberate with the Ukrainian people, because I understand what they feel. My lyrics give Ukrainians a picture of a better future.

Maryana Golovko
© Hanna Hrabarska
Ukrainian soprano Maryana Golovko.

What challenges did you face, collaborating on this song from Europe? 

I think the most challenging part of the process was the time zones. Dan and Paul would usually call me from Australia in the early morning. For me, it's always such a hard time to Zoom and to show my face. We were always joking about that. They would laugh and say: “Maryana, show your face!” and I would say: “No, no, no, never! Listen to my voice.”

But of course, since February, Ukrainians have been living in a very different world in our minds. Even if you are staying in a normal place like Berlin, your thoughts are still with your family. My family stayed in Kyiv the whole the time I was in Berlin – my husband, my parents. You cannot enjoy life as you usually do. You're living in a new place and you're trying to survive. I decided to return to Kyiv in October after recording the song. 

What is the situation in Kyiv like?

We had several absolutely awful attacks on Kyiv. There was a weird atmosphere – a lot of people, including myself, were just waiting for a new attack. And we're still waiting. But we're trying to work and live. All the people are so brave, we’re showing our courage. We’re trying to maintain our businesses, we’re trying to work, even in these circumstances, without any electricity.

I know so many friends that only have electricity for six hours a day, so they're traveling around the city trying to find power in different places. The government is trying to help people as much as they can. They’re trying to build some points where people can come and recharge everything.

It’s been snowing in Ukraine. How is your family dealing with winter?

It’s very cold, but we still have central heating here. However, people are preparing themselves for the worst. We don't know when or where the next attack will be. Our heating supplies could be destroyed.

My husband and I bought a lot of supplies and we are trying to collect essentials like water, because when the electricity cuts off, the pumps stop working. We’re buying candles and warm clothes and also trying to help others who can’t buy these things.

Sometimes you can't even believe that these things can happen in the 21st century. There are parts of Ukraine that lack water, lack everything, because their electricity is gone.

What are you hoping Blue Skies will achieve?

We’re trying to fundraise for Ukrainian refugees by sharing this song. They are really suffering now, and struggling in this war.

I would like to say thank you, and that I'm really grateful for all people of Australia, that you are giving me this chance, that you are giving your heart and love to us.

Donate now to send life-saving aid to Ukraine and to listen to the Blue Skies EP.


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Maryana Golovko recording the song Blue Skies
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The Ukrainian soprano raising her voice for refugees

Maryana Golovko has collaborated with Australian band The Bluesberries to produce the moving song Blue Skies.

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