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Young pop singers at a song fest in Yalta



The 8th International Television Festival of Young Singers More druziv (Sea of Friends) was held in the resort town of Yalta on the Crimean southern coast, in September 2003.


September in Yalta is traditionally called a velvety season  the sea is still warm, the air is balmy, the sun is gentle, and it was in September that Yalta was the venue of an international song festival, Sea of Friends. This time the participants came from Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine. The audiences were also international  in September in Yalta there were tourists from over 30 countries of the world, many of whom watched the shows.

The Yuvileyny Concert Hall, the most prestigious one in Yalta, situated close to the water front, was filled to capacity. The song festival was also a contest, and a tough one at that. It took several days before the jury named the winners who had to demonstrate they possessed not only good voices but also were stageable and could establish rapport with the audience. The first prize went to Hunesh Abasova from Belarus; two second prizes were won by Dmytro Kochurovsky from Belarus and Nazar Savko from Ukraine, and two third prizes were awarded to Iryna Kostina from Moldova and Sunay Chalakov from Bulgaria.

The general atmosphere was very friendly as is usually the case at such festivals, the tough contest notwithstanding. Ive come to this festival not only to take part in the contest  it was a great fun to talk to other singers, to find out how they assessed things in the world of music in their native countries. Incidentally, I have several Ukrainian songs in my repertoire and now I want to establish closer contacts with Ukrainian song writers, said the Bulgarian singer Sunay Chalakov.

The Belarus top prize winner Hunesh Abasova was ecstatic: Oh Im so glad Ive won this contest in Yalta! Of course, its nice to be loved and respected in your own country but to receive recognition at an international contest is quite another thing and is of a great importance for me.

The Sea of Friends Festival was primarily designed to let young singers reveal themselves to new audiences and make themselves better known. So far, most of the participants have been coming from the Eastern European states and from the countries of the former Soviet Union. This years festival has shown that the young singers introduce into their songs performed in their native languages some elements of the latest trends in the world of pop music. At this time, the growing popularity of such widely recognized performers as Deep Forest, Enigma, Afro Celts, Sound System and Lachrymose indicate a trend towards a more active use of national motives in pop music. But it takes time to break down the stereotypes and open the way to new developments.

Nazar Savko, a prize winner from Ukraine, used the rap beat to sing his Synyooka, or Blue-eyed, in Ukrainian, and both the audience and the jury enjoyed it  Savko proved that rap should not necessarily be performed in English and that Ukrainian sounded perfectly all right in a rap song. It should be added here that this young singer impressed everyone not only with his expert handling of the Ukrainian rap song but also with the way he performed it on stage  his was an expert stage act. One of the songs he performed was about an unrequited love and he actually moved the audience to tears. Performing Synyooka, he engaged in some acrobatic stunts which were no less impressive than the song itself.

To a large extent, it was the Ukrainian composer Mykola Mozgovy, head of the jury, who should be credited with the resounding success of the festival. In fact the whole thing was his idea in the first place. There is little doubt that next year the festival that has become so popular will be held again, with participants coming from a greater number of countries to entertain the eager audiences in the hospitable town of Yalta at the Black Sea shore in the velvety season.


By Nataliya Rudnichenko

Photos by Viktor Pensky

and Oleksandr Burkovsky


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