Black Balloon – In Session – 2014-2015 – Past Daily Soundbooth: Rock Without Borders – Listening Ukraine
Black Balloon – in session – 2014-2015 – Various Venues and RTI-TV, Kyiv –
Black Balloon to start the week and still in Ukraine, investigating sounds and genres. I confess to knowing virtually nothing about this band, other than they got together around 2013 – were based in Kyiv, have one album, part of one compilation and have a few singles and ep’s to their credit. They have a Facebook page and the last entry is 2018 where they tell their fans there are new songs on the way.
After that; nothing.
Some digging around various websites, I unearthed this:
Black Balloon was founded in early 2012 by Alya Shandra and Oleksiy Bondarenko. At the same time released his debut single – Cocktail. In December 2015, the debut mini-album I I Won (Not Really) was presented. In the spring of this year, the song Garage from the latest mini-album became the official soundtrack of the festival “De Kino”.
And still later, I found this article written by Black Balloon co-founder Alex Bonderenko who is also a journalist. Here’s a bit:
“On February 23 in the evening, I was sitting with my bandmate Alya (she’s frontwoman of our band Black Balloon) and our friends in the pub in the very centre of Kyiv. After that we went to my home drinking beer and watching videos of “Liga Smekha”. That’s a humoristic show founded by Volodymyr Zelenskiy which he led before going for a president.
Alya woke me up at 5 am. “Wake up. It has started. Hurry up”. I didn’t need more explanation about WHAT has started.
We’ve been waiting for a war to start for a month. Russian attacks are not something totally unusual for Ukrainians. I’m almost 30 years old, born and living in Kyiv. I have seen two revolutions — Orange Revolution in 2004 and Euromaidan in 2013. I was already working as a journalist in 2014 when the first invasion started. That year Russia occupied Crimea and invaded Donbas. So, there was no hesitation that Russian can do something awful.
But honestly almost no one believed we will face a full-scale war.
Almost everyone in Ukraine woke up on 24 February because of the sounds of explosions. Russians began to shell every major Ukrainian city — from Sumy in Eastern Ukraine to Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk in Western Ukraine.
I called my sister and we decided to get to our parents. We have developed this plan beforehand. We were preparing but not actually believing.
We don’t count by the days of week anymore. So, it’s not Tuesday but 6th day of war. It is 6th day of war at the moment I write this text.
My sister with her boyfriend evacuated far away from Kyiv. In our house only few flats are still with people inside. If the numbers by UN are correct — at about 750 000 Ukrainians have already left the country. And I totally understand and appreciate their choice.
Ukraine faces a catastrophe. People die every day. There are missile strikes of the biggest cities. There is fighting all over the country including Kyiv suburbs. On the weekend there was a curfew in Kyiv for two days. Our forces were trying to find Russians who sneaked into the city. There were fighting and shooting all over the city. I’ve heard it for a dozen of times. I’ve heard sounds and explosions and fighter aircrafts.
We already got used to the sound of sirens. We hear it almost every hour and drive down to the basement. We are lucky, we’ve got a big basement in our house, so we don’t need to run to the nearest subway station. On the other hand, I do not know whether it’s safe enough. So, if missile hits our neighborhood we all could be dead under the blockage.
Needless to say, the war has overtaken everything, even the lives of the members of Black Balloon.
He ends with this:
“We also ask all the music distributors and streaming services all around the world to stop supporting Russian offices. Although Ukraine was invaded by Russia in 2014 our music industry is still majorly dependent on Russian market. Spotify and Apple Music content in Ukraine is managed from Moscow offices. Orchard and Believe distributors have to get permissions from Moscow offices.
It has to be changed. We don’t what CEE or CIS region jurisdiction anymore. We need to be Ukrainian region. Or European region. We don’t want to be connected to Russia in any possible way. And that’s what British, European and American music industry can do to help Ukraine right now.
While writing this text I was hearing air sirens 4 times. I don’t know when it will stop. I don’t know whether I will get alive from this war. But if I, luckily, do I hope that at least we will have independent music market and Russia totally isolated from the civilized world.”
As I’ve said before, check this and the other bands out and support the Ukraine any way you can. Tell your friends. And light a few candles and say a few prayers for Alex Bonderenko. He’s right in the middle of it.
It’s the least any of us can do.
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