Sunday, 11 February 2018

Ukraine 2018 - Kozak System – Mamai

I do enjoy a Ukrainian selection process. The songs alone make place it head and shoulders above most of the trailing pack, as far as variety, invention and downright excitement goes. But dig a little deeper and there's a whole load of political showboating to be found. Some of it subtle, much of it less so. After all, this is a country that sits very literally at the crossroads of history, and where even going to down the shops for your daily hleb can be a politicised action, so it's hardly surprising.

Take Kozak System here. To the passing punter it was a raucous punky ska-cum-hardcore folklore stampdown, with metallic fringes and little slivers of local traditional instruments infused throughout. It's the kind of thing we're more used to seeing come from Moldova in this contest, but spend any time in the old country and you'll hear this stuff coming out of cabs and barbers and towerblock bars wherever you go.

But scratch below the surface and you'll find a whole lot more. Kozak is how the locals say Cossack - another group of fierce locals - and their members were at the very heart of the EuroMaydan protests back in 2013. So big are they locally that they've played shows at the Olympiysky Stadium, and you may even have seen them play a show on the big stage at the Eurovision Village on Kreshchatyk last Spring. On top of that, the subject of the song, Mamai, is an old Cossack folk hero who embodies the spirit of the Ukrainian people.

In fact, we're surprised that they didn't qualify last evening. Although perhaps they weren't there for the qualifying. Perhaps they on the show, you know, just to be seen, like. So next week, when you watch the second episode of Vibdir, if something seems a bit incongruous or ill-placed to you, just do a little bit of a background search while you watch. For there may be reasons that it's there way beyond the auspices of Eurovision. And we can't flipping wait!


  1. Wow - who knew that's what you'd come up with!
    I just saw a jolly romp :-)

  2. I like to get to the heart of these things!