Do you have some Ukrainian bands in the playlist of your music player?

Привіт! Мене звати Іванна Войцехович. Hi! My name in Ivanna Voitsekhovych. I am a new author at Ukrainian Lessons (my previous article about Ukrainian podcasts is here) and in this post, I would like to share with you a list of Ukrainian bands I adore.

It’s not a secret that songs are one of the most pleasant ways to learn another language. It works on so many different levels! First, it gives you some new words to learn. Second, you can see grammar rules in action. Third, singing along improves your pronunciation. And last but not least, it’s nice and easy. The only hard part may be finding a band that you will love. Here are my favorite ones.

Скрябін (Skriabin)

This may be one of the most popular Ukrainian bands. Being founded in 1989, it’s one of the oldest bands as well. Its one and only permanent member was the frontman Andrii “Kuzma” Kuzmenko with different musicians around him. It’s hard to describe something as ever-changing as Скрябін.

It seems that, at first, they were aiming for Ukrainian Depeche Mode. In fact, they were the first Ukrainian electronic band. As time passed, they began playing more rock and pop, so any music fan can find something to love.

I can’t name one favorite song. Instead, you can listen to their most famous tracks Люди як кораблі and Спи собі сама on our website (with English translation, yay!). 

Тартак (Tartak, ‘sawmill’)

I fell in love with these five guys when I was a teenager. These boys are an excellent example of Ukrainian alternative rock, rap, and hip hop. They started in the 90s when Ukrainian music was just beginning to find its own sound. Even though the frontman Oleksandr Polozhynskyi is 47 now, fans still call him Sashko (which is a pet name usually used for boys only) and he is still able to set the stage on fire, believe me.

Originally Тартак comes from Lutsk, so their language is what you can hear in Northwestern Ukraine (or wherever you listen to your playlists). I recommend starting with their hit song Наше літо, because it’s summer now, isn’t it?

Танок на майдані Конго (aka ТНМК) (Tanok na Maidani Kongo, ‘a dance on a Congo square’)

These musicians don’t tell the story of their long and intriguing name. Rumour has it, they went with TNMK because they wanted to sing in English and become a part of a foreign hip-hop scene. Unfortunately (or not?) it didn’t happen and TNMK became the leading hip-hop band in Ukraine.

They originated in Kharkiv, so their language is an example of what you will hear in Eastern Ukraine. Their albums have little comic interludes between songs that are a signature feature of this band. The first album included a small dictionary with their dialect and made-up words. If you are not afraid of lots of lyrics, you’re in for a treat! My favourite is Та Ти Шо! which may be translated as ‘Get out! No way!’. 

Один в каное (Odyn v kanoe, ‘alone in a canoe’)

In contrast to the previous bands, this one sounds really soft and serene, like something you’d listen to while watching the rain and drinking a cup of tea. Despite being really new (their first and only album was released in 2016), they are quite famous.

The band plays relaxing indie-rock. Their independence is real – they don’t have any managers or producers – and take care of all business issues on their own. These musicians write magnificent thought-provoking lyrics.

Their biggest hit may be Човен a song which incorporates a poem by Ivan Franko – a great Ukrainian poet from the 19th century. On our website, you may also find their other song.

Vivienne Mort

This band is quite similar to Один в каное. They play indie-rock with mesmerizing female vocals. Their music makes me want to hug a friend and say that I love them.

The vast majority of their songs are about love (like most of the songs in the world, I guess). However, this is not only romantic love. They promote pacifism and vegetarianism, too, with simple slogans such as “If you don’t have to kill, don’t kill” (“Якщо можна не вбивати – не вбивай”) and “Let all the live things live” (“Все живе – хай живе”) in their track Риба


Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you found something you are going to listen to? Is there another Ukrainian band you love? Tell me in the comments!

If you’re keen on music and lyrics, remember to check out all the Songs we have here 😉

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Ivanna Voitsekhovych

Hi! My name is Ivanka, I'm 27 and I'm a teacher based in Kyiv. My passions are reading and writing. When I get tired of words and letters, I go cycling or dancing with my friends.

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