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Monday, April 07, 2008

Ukrainians take their treasures for granted?

It's unfortunate to see negative attitudes like this making the news in Ukraine:

Ukrainian travellers are up in arms after authorities ... issued a decree that only Ukrainian songs could be played over the sound systems in aeroplanes and trains run by the state...

But locals [want] to listen to western music.

Oksana Petrenkova from the capital Kiev said: "When I'm travelling I want to hear someone like Robbie Williams, not some folk band from the countryside."

Someone please point out to Oksana that many western tourists on Ukrainian planes and trains will be delighted to hear those "folk bands from the countryside" instead of the same-old same-old they hear at home. She (and the rest of the travelling public) can hear Robbie, et al. on British planes and trains.

If she really hates her own native music that much, I am sure there are iPods available that she can purchase for use while travelling in Ukraine, and listen to her musical choices to her heart's content.

But more to the point is that maybe Oksana and others with this attitude might consider developing a little pride in their own culture, or at the very least, respect for other people's musical preferences. Like it or not, Ukrainian "folk bands from the countryside" have quite a following in the west. No need to insult them and their fans.

(Oh, and someone please point out to the editors and writers at this paper that the proper English spelling of their nation's capital city is Kyiv.)


Orest said...

Maybe Oksana should just stay home in backwaters Donetsk and listen to her hero Yanukovych sing a few tunes.

She lives in Ukraine and should get used to the only language that they have - UKRAINIAN.

Slava Ukrayini!!

Pawlina said...

Well, it's a good thing the Ukrainian government is enacting cultural affirmative action policies, because attitudes like this won't go away on their own.

In Canada, CanCon rules have helped Canadian artists somewhat. And might have helped them a lot more, if the industry had implemented them as intended rather than begrudgingly following just the "letter of the law."

Maybe heavier-handed tactics in Ukraine will build a stronger sense of national identity there than we have here in Canada.

Taras said...

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

On April 3, Sofia Rotaru, a onetime fan of the Orange Revolution, performed at an anti-NATO rally in Donetsk sponsored by the Party of Regions, which supports Russian as a second official language.

Сумно, сумно аж за край
Не дивись на мене
Грай, музико, грай...

Orest said...

She's a real nobody anyway.
Always considered a little too Soviet anyways.

A non-player on the Ukrainian music scene!

Pawlina said...

Well, I wouldn't say Sofia Rotaru is a "nobody" ... she certainly has her loyal fan following, and it is quite established.

But as for her anti-NATO performance, it would appear she is just another entertainer (likely bored after so many years in the biz) who has decided to peddle some influence in the political sphere.

It's becoming common practice in Europe and North America, and I find that quite troubling.

The problem is that certain political entities are very adept at manipulating influential public figures in the entertainment/media industry in order to cultivate their "useful idiots."

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, I can't help but recall how well that practice was used in the past ... with very tragic results.

Anonymous said...

Do not bring politic in this subject. It is all about taste and anything else. Oksana from Donetsk is rather Ukrainian, Yanukovych is Ukrainian as well. Just different, but they have rights to speak. You Orest and myself, we have the same rights as well. And we have to support this policy by all possible ways. Did you ask newspapers in Ukrainian language while traveling plain? I did. And I've sent complain to the company and got official answer by email. And this answer was published in ePoshta from Toronto... That's an example how it works. Don't be negative, rather supportive.

Pawlina said...

Of course you're right, Stan, it's about taste. My original point was in fact that some people actually appreciate and enjoy "folk bands from the countryside" ... and my objection is to anyone dissing them. I have a (rather long) history of producing a radio program that caters to fans of such music, so I hope I can be forgiven for defending it against disrespect by those with different tastes. There is no call for that kind of negativity.

As for politics, many prominent entertainers in all parts of the world *do* use their celebrity to push political agendas. Sometimes, unfortunately, that celebrity is for sale ... an unpleasant reality which Taras' comment underscored.

I agree that entertainers are free to say what they want, and even to peddle influence. But just because they can and do doesn't mean I have to agree with what they say, much less like it.

Likewise the rest of us have similar freedom of expression, thanks to venues like this that allow more ordinary folk to exchange opinions and ideas. We may not always agree with each other, but by listening to and truly respecting each other's opinions (and tastes) is how we learn as individuals and grow (up) as a society.

And, interestingly, it often helps people realize that in the end we actually agree on more than we disagree on. :-)

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