Written by Jade Ruston

Music is a universal language that we don’t need to all understand, sometimes it’s more connecting without lyrics at all. 

It carries the soul to other souls. It ‘rock and rolls’ our world. It’s every single mood that we all experience put to a rhythm that flows our lives. It’s alive. It’s real. It’s creative. It’s ever evolving yet timeless. Music can accompany the happiest of moments of our days, as well as the bleakest. 

On the front line of battle for Ukraine, music is being used to motivate, boost morale to the highest, and as an outlet for the pain they are enduring in the face of the world media. They are using music to communicate their emotions to loved ones that can’t be by their side, to acknowledge and pay respects to one another’s courage and efforts which are unquestionably strong. 

Many artists have done their best to be a vessel of communication for the people of Ukraine, using the luxury of having easy access to a large fan base spreading from country to country, to preserve real time reports and emotions of war from the people to the people. 

Ed Sheeran is probably currently the ‘look at’ artist who is supporting the voices of Ukrainian heroes, that not so long ago, slept as soundly as you and me will sleep tonight. With a remixed rendition of his song 2 step, Ed has made space for the truth from Ukrainian pop-rock band turned soldiers ANTYTILA in the place of Lil Baby. 

Lead singer Taras Topolya wrote the lyrics whilst serving as a medic on the front line in Borodyanka, (west of their capitol, Kyiv) which for a moment that lasted too long was occupied by Russia, but has since been regained with the succession of Ukrainian troops. “We just stopped in the middle of the road and were singing there in the middle of nowhere,” Taras said.

Lyrics of the verse sung in Ukrainian;

Sirens interrupted our sleep, in two suitcases all the past

Then go go, you’re behind the wheel, into the unknown

And all the nerves in my fist, and do not tear me so

I stay to inhale the smoke

Dior’s latest scents with him

I remember you wanted to go to Rome

Everything goes to the fact that first to the Crimea, we will stir up our movement

No one will come out of the water dry

We were caught on a busy morning as a drama series

We have been heroes here for months and we are showrunners here

The plot is on fire, how many more missiles

Honey, I promise when it’s all over

I will dance with you so slow

And I will kiss you where love-ov-ov

Again and again, wait for me when it’s all over

I will fall with you into this flowHeal where love-ov-ov

Again and again, wait for me when it’s all over

The official video for the song was filmed across three different locations, Kyiv, irpin and Kharkiv, showing the before and afters of devastation, and re enacting those initial moments of fleeing for safety. The video tells us the experience that Topolia’s family went through on the first day of the Russians unjustified invasion. 

“I waved to them, kissed them and stayed in Kyiv to carry out my duty as a citizen by defending the state,” said Topolia, “I was only left with memories of them, the smell of my beloved wife’s Dior and the smell of smoke that was already approaching through the capital.”

The idea for the remix was proposed by Ed Sheeran himself to the band, to which he has committed that all funds raised by YouTube monetization and royalties, be sent to Music Saves UA, which is a non-profit fundraiser providing on the ground humanitarian help to those in immediate need in Ukraine. 

Taken from a quote from the song’s description on YouTube, Antytila points out that the video is dedicated to Dmytro Manifest, a Ukrainian film director, whose life was cut short.

“There are people that are ready to go through the fire and flames with you. Specifically because of our friendship with Manifest,

I finally understood that doing anything at half strength makes absolutely no sense.

Life is very uncalm now, so when Antytila asked me to support and, in fact, to produce and film the video by myself, I instantly agreed, though I understood that it would be an extremely challenging task. Me and the team did our best to make it happen. If Dima was alive, he would definitely be with us on the set. And all I want to say to the boys — get back home alive!” — shares Dmytro Shmurak –  a close friend of Dmytro Manifest and director/producer of the video.

Sting has also re-released his song ‘Russians’ in a soul swaying acoustic/ cello rendition which the public heard for the first time 12 years ago, and is unfortunately now relevant again in today’s time. Sting quotes in the video, “I never thought it would be relevant again, but in the light of one man’s bloody and woefully misguided decision to invade a peaceful, unthreatening neighbour, this song is once again, a plea for our common humanity.”

Displays of music being a comfort outlet are popping up from all the corners that Ukrainian people have been displaced to. From the EuroVision contest to Lithuania, America, England, Poland and more, voices processing this grief to the sound of music in strong efforts to connect with us all. Their experiences and emotions. 

Music is a wonderful, uniting tool. That in itself is Jolly, even if for a brief moment in time.

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