The Soviet ideology –
communist, totalitarian – paid a lot of attention to Ukraine
to prevent it from expressing itself. Now everybody knows what was done
to the Ukrainian language, culture and everything else. They wouldn’t let Ukraine to create this kind
of orchestra (orchestra of traditional instruments) despite all of the other republics
having them. It was easier for us because we
played instrumental music. You can’t tie it to an ideology. I can’t say that polka is
Bolshevik or communist’. A polka is a polka! A hopak is a hopak! But for us it (was hard as well)… We never started a concert without
playing “Duma About Lenin.” It’s a fact, you couldn’t avoid it.
It was obligatory. But when we started playing
the Zaporizhian March… they saw the reaction
(of the public) to it. We played it for multiple times as
an encore during the concerts. Multiple times. We played it
in Moscow three times as an encore. I was fired back then because
the March was so powerful. Moreover, we started reaching out
to popular musicians and they started reaching out to us… For them it was interesting
(to work with us). And it was interesting for us too,
because it’s new music, contemporary music. But we also gave a push forward
to all of the musicians, the bands and singers we performed with. Because what is an orchestra?
It’s like a bouquet. When you add to one beautiful
rose a bouquet of other flowers – – it’s wonderful!