Making music inside the war: Man From Light, Majesty of Revival and the Ukrainian sound
While the world is experiencing a new stage of distress and expectation due to an eventual third world war, especially now when NATO can actually enter the conflict against Russia in defense of Ukraine, Ukrainian artists resist as they can and with what they do. best: rock and roll.
The absurd invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with the even more absurd justification of ridding that country of the “neo-Nazis” was repudiated throughout the world. And of course, even 2/4 of U2 ventured into the KIEV subway to show all their support for the Ukrainian people.
And that’s why it’s an honor to present to you Man From Light and Majesty of Revival, 2 great Ukrainian artists who continue to deliver honest and engaged rock not only to their countrymen but to the whole world.
Valentyn Boiko, the original Man From Light, is an experienced musician with a stint in several bands whose trauma from the explosions profoundly altered his view of art. Instead of surrendering, he found relief in a powerful version of Iron Maiden’s “Aces High”.
I woke up that day hearing explosions near the place where I live, we gathered main possessions and evacuated with my wife and kid to western Ukraine.
Valentyn Boiko A.K.A Man From Light
Born and raised in Kyiv, Boiko created his first rock band when he was 11. It took him 20 years on the professional stage, several semi-famous bands, two marriages and two kids to finally go solo. He writes his songs and music, plays all instruments and does his own production and mastering. He positions his music as psychedelic rock, concentrating on the mature classic rock sound of electric guitar and simple but catchy lyrics. He combines inspiration from John Frusciante, Uriah Heep, Frank Zappa & many more.
In August 2020, Man from Light released his debut album ‘Switch’. In March 2021, he released the first Ukrainian track ‘MICTO’.
In July 2021, he released his second album with lyrics taken from famous (school book) Ukrainian poems. This album combined rock, punk, elements of spoken word and other influences such as, e.g., drum’n’bass.
2 3 Things about Man From Light
RC – How’s the felling about creating music today, while your country is under attack?
Man from Light: The war in Ukraine started back in 2014 when Russia occupied Crimea and the eastern parts of Ukraine. However, it did not feel that close, although at the very beginning we were shocked and angry at what was happening. So we lived our lives as normal. And on 24 February 2022 everything changed. I woke up that day hearing explosions near the place where I live, we gathered main possessions and evacuated with my wife and kid to western Ukraine. On our way, we took detour routes, experienced 2-hour traffic jams and when in traffic jams, heard more explosions in the vicinity. It all looked surreal. This severely affected me as an artist. At first I felt angry to the point that I became speechless – I just could not bring myself to create anything… Only after some time I managed to funnel my indignation and recorded my first cover to Iron Maiden’s “Aces High”:
I would say this is the first Ukrainian Iron Maiden cover of this song that I heard. I adapted Ukrainian lyrics which I wrote 20 years ago to the current situation and dedicated the song to brave Ukrainian pilots who throughout the war are defending our land.
RC – What are Man From Light projects for now?
Man from Light: Apart from music for main audience, I have written music to theatre plays. So I was actually planning to make two projects like that this year. But the war escalation changed everything. Now the funding for culture projects is severely cut, and I am looking to get my music to different outlets to spread Ukrainian songs and to show that Ukrainian music is beautiful.
RC – You make such a nostalgic sound (reminded us of Devo), is there a place for that kind of music in the media today?
Man from Light: Thank you for noting my retro sound! I am myself a retro man 😊 I believe that music becomes trendy when you reach some critical mass of people who like it. But what they like is not always their own choice. Even according to statistics, around 70% of people are prone to follow a general trend, so the question is who sets the trends. In Ukraine, unfortunately for rock musicians, the trend goes to other genres of music. In this sense, my music stands out. So I am still a niche artist. But I am blessed to be doing what I feel and what I like – to have no craving to follow the mainstream appeal and write for the audience (rather than introduce the audience to my vision of music). In other countries, I see a much more open attitude to my music. For instance, my track “Simple Box” plays on several independent radio stations in Latin America:
Other Ukrainian artists you may check as well:
Majesty of Revival and their epic progressive metal
Founded by Dimitriy Pavlovskiy in 2009, Majesty of Revival released 4 full-length albums and already earned a name far beyond Ukraine. A characteristic feature of their music is often an unusual combination, technical, and at the same time melodic performance, creating what is called Progressive Metal.
More than a metal never before experienced with such purity, the band excels in creativity, delivering true epics in music format, in lyrics that embody all the fear and hope that are part of the soul of the Ukrainian citizen today.
So, what did you think about these 2 great Ukrainian artists? Tell us in the comments, please!