|There are quite a few pop stars in Ukraine
but none of them is known outside Ukraine (excepting, probably, one or two, known in
Russia). None of them has made it big at the international level. Some of the pop stars
have very good voices, many of them perform at a professional level, and yet international
recognition has kept alluding them.
There is definitely something lacking and this something prevents them from becoming known internationally. Maybe, it was worth paying more attention to the very young performers, promoting them, teaching them the ways of international success? With this objective in mind, the VESELAD International Festival of Ukrainian Pop Songs was launched in 1994.
was the fruit of combined efforts of the Chief Department of Culture at the Administration
of the City of Kyiv, of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine, of the Velem Educational and
Cultural Centre and of the State Television and Radio Company of Ukraine. The Festival has
grown to be one of the most important events among the pop shows of Ukraine, held
annually. There are signs it is becoming known abroad as well. The Festival makes it
possible to search for and then support and promote talented children; to promote
children’s pop songs in particular and Ukrainian pop songs in general; to involve
prominent singers, poets, composers and musicians in the work with young singers; to
engage professional producers and teachers of singing in promoting and teaching
musically-gifted children; to unite the efforts of show business companies, both private
and state-run, and of the charity funds.
The Festival is also called upon to bring together children from different countries and thus provide them with an opportunity of coming to know and befriend each other, which, in its turn, facilitates beneficial exchange of cultural ideas and traditions.
are children of up to 16 years of age. Each of them is supposed to be able to sing two pop
songs, one of them in Ukrainian. The singing will be done to the accompaniment of recorded
music, not a live orchestra. Their performance is assessed by the qualified jury who take
several things into consideration: the quality of the voice; the ability to control it;
acting gifts; music arrangement; the quality of the recorded music. The participants for
the final stage of the Festival are selected by the Organizing Committee, the members of
which listen to tapes of songs, which should be sent to the Committee well in advance, and
then pass their judgement.
The Festival itself is held in late July – early August, on board a big ship, during the cruise along the Dnipro River and in the Black Sea (Kyiv – Zaporizhzhya – Odesa – Dnipropetrovsk – Kyiv).
Rade Radivoyevych, Ihor Perchuk, Ben Raffaelli.
things happen during the cruise: performances of the Festival participants who sing their
songs; pop stars shows; shows in the ports of call; press-conferences; sight-seeing tours;
a few days of rest at the Black Sea beaches in Odesa, plus a lot more. The Festival
returns to Kyiv where a gala concert of the winners, with the participation of adult pop
stars, is organized. This last show of the Festival is televised and can be seen on the
channels of the Ukrainians TV network and via satellite.
The winners of the Festival are awarded all kinds of prizes and are entitled to taking part in VESELAD concerts, organized after the Festival, and in other international shows and children song festivals. The songs, performed by the winners, are taped and broadcast by Ukrainian radio and TV stations.
The winner of the Grand Prix of the festival is awarded the VESELAD bronze statuette. The awards are given in several nominations: the best song; the best composer; the best dress; the best choreography; the best stage performance; the best music arrangement; the best first performance of a song, and some others.
Those who wish to take part in the Festival can turn with their inquiries to local departments of education and culture, children’s centres of performing arts, to Consulates and Embassies of Ukraine abroad, to offices of the Ukrayina Society. Ukrainian periodicals, broadcasts of Ukrainian radio and television regularly carry pieces of information about the Festival.
The children who perform at the Festival are divided into three age groups: up to 10 years of age; from 11 to 13 years of age; from 14 to 16 years of age. The prizes are given within each group separately.
Those who want to take part in the Festival should send tapes with their songs to the Organizing Committee. The songs should be recorded at professional recording studios. 60 best performers, from among the children in all the three age groups who pass the audition, are selected for participating in the final stage of the VESELAD Festival. Each participant should be accompanied by a grown-up person.
The Organizing Committee pays all the expenses of the participants and their escorts during the cruise (that is, the actual duration of the final stage of the Festival), which include accommodation and meals. Transportation to and from the Festivals is taken care of by the participants themselves. If they so desire, the Organizing Committee can arrange transportation and meals for them, at their own expense, for several days prior to the cruise and after it.
In the past five years about 1,500 children from Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Yugoslavia, Slovakia, Poland, Israel, Italy and Germany have applied for audition and participation in the VESELAD Festival. The participants of the VESELAD Festivals gave concerts and were very well received in the cities of Kyiv, Zaporizhzhya, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Ternopil, Lviv and in other towns of Ukraine.
Thanks to TV and radio broadcasts millions of people in Ukraine and elsewhere have seen the VESELAD shows.
|Leading directors, poets, scriptwriters and pop stars have been invited to help with the organization of the Festival. Among them: Yury Rybchynsky, Volodymyr Bystryakov, Oksana Bilozir, Taras Petrynenko, Tayisiya Povaliy, Anatoly Matviychuk, Lidiya Mykhaylenko, Vitaly Bilonozhko, Lyubov Anisimova and Victor Anisimov, Tetyana Tsymbal, Oleksiy Kononenko, Nina Matviyenko, Oleksandr Tyshchenko, Victor Pavlik, Zhanna Bodnarouk, and many others.|
of the former participants and winners of the VESELAD Festival have taken part at other,
“grown-up” festivals and performed in many shows, have appeared on TV and on radio,
have featured in hit parades. Ani Lorak, Elzara Batalova, Katya Buzhynska, Katya Chili,
Yevhen Moskalenko, Yuliya Popova, Olena Perchuk, Olena Berezyuk, after their successful
appearance at the VESELAD Festival, have performed at the Tavriyski Ihry Festival,
Chervona Ruta Festival, Dolya Song Fest, Barkhatny Sezon Song Fest, 12 Minus 2 shows,
Pisenny Vernisazh Song Fest, Utrenniaya Zvezda Song Fest, Big Apple Festival, and at many
other similar music festivals.
Following are quotations from what the key figures who make the VESELAD Festival possible, have had to say about the Festival.
Rybchynsky, advisor to the president of Ukraine on cultural affairs, poet, head of the
Festival jury: “We have witnessed the coming into being, thanks to the VESELAD Festival,
of something quite new — Ukrainian children pop songs. Among the participants of the
Festival we have seen and heard a number of performers who, though quite young, were so
good that they could easily become professional pop singers of a very high level, and
could easily compete with the best pop stars of the previous generation.”
Rade Radivoyevych (Yugoslavia), composer; Ihor Perchuk (Israel), composer; Ben Rafaelli (USA), composer and singer; all of them members of the Festival jury: “ The Ukrainian VESELAD Festival has won our hearts by its unique and unusual image. It is like a ship, similar to the one shown by Fellini in one of his films, sailing all by itself in the ocean of time.
The Festival is a tiny magic land, in which children and adults of many nationalities from many countries, come to feel real closeness, they socialize, they influence each other. Even we, members of the jury had lumps in our throats when children performed — it was so touching, nice and friendly. We hope that VESELAD Festivals will be able to travel along new routes in the future: from Ukraine to Yugoslavia, then to Israel, then to the USA and then back to Ukraine.”
Taisiya Povaliy, one of the leading pop stars of Ukraine, a member of the Festival jury: “When I received an invitation to join the jury of the VESELAD Festival, I thought to myself: well, it’s going to be a sort of another boring amateurish matinee, with children singing their little kid songs. But what I saw and heard came as a great and very pleasant surprise. I was greatly impressed. Everything was done professionally, everything went off without a hitch. And some of those kids sang so well that I felt their hot breath on the back of my neck — they are sure to become new bright stars of the Ukrainian pop music! I wish there had been festivals like VESELAD when I was a kid!”
Ani Lorak, one of the prize-winners of the VESELAD’94 Festival: “This Festival has given me so much. It has launched me into the world of pop music, it has given me wings. And now I want to fly higher and higher. It was at the VESELAD Festival that I realized for the first time that I could do it! After that Festival of 1994, I have won prizes at about twenty music fests and competitions, including the Utrenniye Zvezdy in Moscow and the Big Apple in New York. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more of impressions and experiences in my life, but I’ll always remember the cruise and the Festival of 1994.”
Kateryna Buzhynska, the singer who won the Grand Prix at the VESERLAD’96: “If I am not mistaken, the word festival has been borrowed from Latin and means: holiday, celebrations, feast, something nice. Probably, that’s the main feature of the VESELAD Festival — it’s not just a singing competition, it’s a holiday! Of course, I was so happy to get the Grand Prix, but even a greater prize for me was a chance to meet so many friends!”
O. Zhylinsky, Yu. Rybchynsky.
Festival participants on Marshal Koshovy pleasure boat.
|Oleksandr Zhylinsky, President of the Festival, composer: “In creating pop songs composers and poets of today draw their material from many sources, folk songs including. That is why we do not impose any limitations on the songs presented at the VESELAD Festival. At present, we give prizes for best songs, best lyrics, best ballads, best music arrangement, etc. In future, we’ll, probably, find new approaches to awarding prizes, but even now there are many interesting developments. The Polish participants, for example, write the lyrics for songs in Ukrainian; Yugoslavian composers write music for lyrics written by Ukrainian poets; the participants from Greece have used music and lyrics supplied by us, and the Israeli participants have made new arrangements of songs written by the Ukrainian composer M. Leontovych.|
it is not only young singers who have a chance of showing their talents at the Festival
— young composers who have not been known before the Festival, have an opportunity of
presenting their song to the big audiences, and if their songs are broadcast afterwards on
radio or television, the number of people who can hear their songs grow immensely.
For many years, up to quite recent times, Ukrainian culture, in contrast, say, to French, Italian or British cultures, developed in isolation from the western cultures, stewing, as the saying goes, in its own juices. It was detrimental to our culture, of course, but now we want to go international, and that is why we’ve made VESELAD an international festival, inviting participants from other countries. Participants and their escorts come and see with their own eyes, and hear, as it were, with their own ears, that Ukraine, a country many of them have not heard of before, has a tremendous cultural potential.
The VESELAD Festival is an amazing phenomenon. It is democratic, as far as its rules are concerned, and very professional as far as the level of performance is concerned. Both the professional musicians and general public have come to enjoy it. The number of countries, sending children to participate in the Festival has grown to eleven. We, at the Organizing Committee, are doing our best to keep the number of participating countries growing, as well as the number of the Festival fans and supporters.”
to join the sponsor team of this annual charitable event.