For the uninitiated, The Ukrainians were formed just over four years ago in Leeds, England. Reflecting the band's diverse cultural backgrounds, their music mixes the chord progressions and melodies commonly found in ethnic Ukrainian music with the dynamics and rhythms of western rock. Due to the fact that many of the group are second generation Ukrainian, the band writes and sings using the Ukrainian language.
To celebrate The Ukrainian's Canadian debut, True North has reprised the band's PISNI IZ THE SMITHS EP as a bonus with the full-length recording KULTURA. The EP's astonishing renditions of Morrissey's and The Smiths' four tracks -- The Queen Is Dead, Meat Is Murder, What Difference Does It Make, and Bigmouth Strikes Again -- are masterful creations and represent brilliant, barnstorming cross-cultural folk-rock fusion's.
KULTURA (literally meaning culture) has always been an important Ukrainian word. It describes traditional arts, skills and ways of life, particularly in context of the constant struggle against modernization and cultural imperialism. The most recent period of independence has opened Ukraine to western consumerism and modern political processes and the effects of these new 'cultures' form much of the CD's subject matter.
The album artwork aptly depicts these changes. A pile of hammers and sickles lie broken and discarded at the foot of the statue of liberty, brightly painted in Ukraine's national colours (blue and yellow). The Ukrainian word for culture, while still large and imposing, appears dull beside the English translation of the same word.
The first track on KULTURA is called Politika and describes the new breed of manipulative politicians that have appeared in Ukraine. Public demonstrations are now allowed, and these along with political broadcasts are used by cynical politicians to gain power.
Another song concerns the thoughts of someone who anticipates the arrival of multinational corporations, and the new land of UkrainAmerica that will emerge. In the new state, everyone will smoke the correct cigarettes, fry beef burgers, buy heavy metal records, and ultimately speak the English language.
These tracks are representative of the myriad styles and eclectic genre bending music that could only come from The Ukrainians.
Doug Flavelle, National Press & Promotion
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