“Not a Macbook and an iPhone — a car and a weapon”: Words from Ukrainian Multidisciplinary Musician, Люсі (Lucimuz).

To continue our series offering our platform to Ukrainian voices, we spoke to multidisciplinary musician Люсі (Lucimuz) about her practice of weaving Ukrainian folklore and religious romanticism into her music, fleeing to Berlin, and her feelings on the current invasion of her homeland.

You can see Люсі perform in Berlin at Refraction Festival on Friday 29 April.

Below are some links to ways you can help Ukraine right now.

If you would like to support through donations, you can do so here.

If you would like to host refugees, you can find more information here.

To learn other ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner, please see this website.

And if you know of any stories or individuals who you think should be heard on our platform, please reach out to us.

“I’m a Ukrainian musician — multidisciplinary — based in Kyiv… I think [the music] is kind of experimental because I mix different styles. Mostly synthwave pop, mixing with folk background — because I studied folklore in school for eight years so I know all of Ukraine’s native songs and rituals and native history. So that’s my background, and I merge it with my music experience.”

“I am [in Berlin] for like a month and a week. I think Berlin and Kyiv are very similar in a cultural way, and many people from Kyiv feel here like home, and I’m not an exception. So me and my husband decided to go to Berlin. We plan to stay here for two years because we’re expecting a baby and we need a doctor and all this stuff and we don’t have the possibility to do this in Ukraine because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow so it’s a danger for our child. So we try to give birth here, and then we will see.”

“It’s not a safe place to work there or to live there. Even if our presidents make a peaceful contract, it’s not good, because Russia is a big, big black hole. They don’t have rules, they don’t have a judge, they don’t have this ‘Stop’ word… The president is a crazy man and they can use their bombs at any time… I cannot really enjoy life, and enjoy this weather, and enjoy the architecture and the tastes of Berlin because I always think about this painful news… So I try to avoid bad news, for my mental health.”

“I went to a music school and the lessons weren’t about classic music; Bach, Mozart. No, it was about our native music. My Mother and Grandmother chose this direction because it wasn’t popular — and I have this really powerful voice. So from when I was 10, with a group of people, every season, we went to a small village and recorded old songs from Grannies for one or two days and bought native clothes and tried to revive all these rituals — because in Ukrainian culture, everything’s built on rituals. Every season means some connection with nature. And we try to remake this for our future generation to try to keep this in our history and our memory. It’s a very deep cultural code, and I use it for my creation.”

“I create music only in Ukrainian. It was my first position, when everybody is creating in Russian. Like Russian language songs are basic for Ukraine until 2014, when we had the cultural revolution. We don’t restrict Russian language songs, because every second person is speaking Russian. But I wanted to create a Ukrainian product… All my friends except one or two create their songs in Russian, but I just held this position that I create only in Ukrainian as this is my Mother language… For now, it’s very popular and my listeners grow rapidly on Spotify because now people massively refuse Russian language in music — even if it’s Ukrainian artists.”

“My visual perception is mostly connected with my childhood. I grew up in a small town — not religious — but everything was very, very old. So in my family’s apartment, people tried to keep all the things; furniture, old dishwashers; pics of God. And everything inspired me to find my visual expression. I loved these colours and textures from my childhood, so when I moved to Kyiv when I was 18 years old and I was searching for something to connect me to my roots, it led me to this visual universe.

“I had this one video on YouTube that’s really popular. It’s for my first song, Марія Магдалина [Maria Magdalyna]. I just took my camera and was shooting everything. Random things. It was very intuitive. But now, I see sense in everything. I thought that this will be a funny video, but it’s really grown the whole music project.”

“I always use Bible motifs, Bible stories for my lyrics. I think it’s a good base for everything to create this narrative. I think everything is very relevant, but the Bible is eternal… The core of my music is religion. Religious romanticism. Something like that. A connection with God… who is God? I don’t know who God is, but I think he’s a good guy. And I always think about this connection, and in my world, this God is like a part of me. Like this integrity that I found… People always say that they’re looking for their ‘second part’ — because the first part is you and the second is your partner. And I always think that this second part is actually you and you need to find this integrity within yourself. And God is a good leader to lead you to this.”

“I started this music project when I was 19, really… I didn’t understand about the whole picture, but after the first two years of searching I realised that I create some kind of spiritual and ritual thing in my videos and my music. Like something transcendental. And that became a part of me and a part of my vision.”

“I have this ‘Luci’ [name], which was just my image mostly. But in Berlin, everybody calls me Luci — so I think it’s part of my personality for now… It’s a good possibility to live outside of Ukraine and start learning and building our knowledge about other lives. Because in Ukraine, you can only have a better life in Kyiv. In small cities, it’s a very, very limited life. We need to develop small cities, small towns, small villages, especially with education of children.”

“My aim for my whole life is to create an institution, maybe a school or maybe a platform that can enrol and encourage people from creative industries or business or finance or law to come to educate children in small villages. Because education in Ukraine is so bad. There’s these basic, basic things that you don’t receive from teachers and it’s horrible. And so I want to build this system in Ukraine for the future generation.”

“For now, most of my friends go back and try to live [in Kyiv], and they say ‘oh there’s such safety, it’s so cool, we drink flat whites with croissants’, but I think it’s just this first euphoria of coming back home. But we will see what will happen in the next weeks and months.”

“What will be really important in a political context is going to the date 9th May, because it’s the victory day in post-Soviet countries, so this day always celebrates with a big holiday, like a festival. In Ukraine, we refused from this really great and expensive celebration in favour of Independence Day for the last years. Because how can we celebrate the Victory day when the war is still in the country? But in Russia it’s a big, big celebration, so the President swears the people to get a big win for this celebration, at any price… But what win? They don’t have this territory. They don’t have any city for them. So I think until 9th of May they could be doing anything to have this win. Even a small win as a reason for celebration. So it’s still very dangerous to be there. Like they could use the most dangerous weapons. Nuclear. Or maybe chemical… And everybody in Ukraine knows about this date like… what will happen?”

“Most of them live in West Ukraine because they cannot cross the border because of this mobilisation law — for guys. So they’re trapped and cannot move West or East, and so all they can do is something like volunteer because they really don’t know what to do… Everybody wants to buy a car and a weapon. Not a Macbook and an iPhone. A car and weapon. Because we don’t know how long this war will last, and maybe if something happens in the future, you can just get the car and go somewhere. That’s the plan.”

“I have a hormonal balance inside myself connected with my pregnancy, so I feel peaceful. Maybe this helps me feel better than my friends. I actually only cried maybe once or twice, but for example some of my friends cry every hour. But I need to percept everything very rationally. So I’m in harmony, and I hope it continues, because I have this mission to give birth and I need to be very, very strong. So I don’t have any chance to be nervous and crying. Depressed? No, it’s not my story.”

“I hoped for Russian people to make a big protest and kill Putin. But it was my last hope. I think we just need time for now. The main hope is to finish this and destroy this imperialism. And also to close the sky. To provide Ukrainians with weapons and a protected system. I don’t believe in peace between Russia and Ukraine. It cannot. We just need to keep peace inside of us and keep doing everything for ourselves… We need time to renovate the whole world, because this shows that our world system is not perfect. It’s not working. Especially these governments and organisations. It’s bullshit. We should change this structure.”

Thank you to Kristina.

Website -- Instagram -- Spotify -- YouTube

***

Below are some links to ways you can help right now.

If you would like to support through donations, you can do so here.

If you would like to host refugees, you can find more information here.

To learn other ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner, please see this website.

And if you know of any stories or individuals who you think should be heard on our platform, please reach out to us.

***

Interview by Ewan Waddell.

Photos by Dima Horeniuk.