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The Ukrainian music industry is perhaps the most experimental sphere of our modern culture. Singers, songwriters, and composers present new singles and albums that have become popular in Ukraine and abroad.

What makes modern Ukrainian music special is the mixing of folk tunes and ethno motives with new genres like electronic music and hip-hop. Check out world-renowned freak cabaret Dakh Daughters or the powerful songs of famous ethnic chaos band Dakha Brakha. It’s better to get to know them at live concerts or at least on YouTube as each show is like a theatrical performance.

Video: DakhaBrakha

Experience the sound of bandura and trembita intervened with the electronic beats of Onuka.

Video: ONUKA

Hear how Go-A band combines ethnic motifs with modern electronic music and even authentic instruments from all over the world — from Ukrainian sopilka to African djembe drums and Australian didgeridoo. In 2021, Go-A will represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “SHUM”.

Video: Eurovision Song Contest

Crimean-Tatar singer, Jamala, has become the embodiment of Ukrainian neo-soul and ethnic fusion. Lovers of hip hop will definitely appreciate Alyona Alyona with her sincere lyrics and positive energy. An authentic hip-hopper — Alina Pash mixes her tracks with rap, pop and ethnic motifs. Ukrainian rock band ‘The Hardkiss’ are big stars on the Ukrainian rock scene and ones to look out for. As is one of the leaders of Ukrainian intellectual pop music — Pianoboy.

The place to experience almost all of these bands and singers is Atlas Weekend, an annual music and art festival. The event offers an extensive lineup spanning pop, rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music.

Stage and people during at the Atlas Weekend Festival in National Expocenter, Kyiv
Photo: Oleksandr Gusev, Depositphotos

Classical music lovers will love Borys Lyatoshynsky who has taken Ukrainian symphony music onto the world stage. With his support, an innovative group of modernist musicians, known as the Kyiv Avant-garde, emerged in the 1960s that had a great influence on Ukrainian contemporary music. From that group, the brilliant musicians of our times emerged, such as Valentyn Silvestrov or Yevhen Stankovych, whose works have been performed around the globe.

When it comes to strong female voices in the classical world, Alla Zahaikevych is a Ukrainian composer of contemporary academic music and performance artist. She is well-known for her electroacoustic music projects. Another name to look out for is Oksana Lyniv — an internationally renowned conductor who has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages.

Ukrainian performing schools produced many talents who shine brightly in the world of music. Pianist Antonii Baryshevskyi has won many prestigious piano competitions and plays in renowned concert halls. Marko Topchii is a classical guitarist, orchestra soloist, concertist, and recording artist, winning more than 100 awards worldwide to date.

The best examples of Ukrainian classical music are available at your fingertips. In the application Ukrainian Live Classic, you can enjoy classical music for free, as well as learn more about composers, history and styles of Ukrainian music.

Kyiv Contemporary Music Days organizes contemporary classical music concerts, lectures and masterclasses with the participation of Ukrainian musicians as well as musicians and composers from all over the world.

Ukho music agency helps to challenge the perception of modern classical music in Ukraine, organizing concerts of academic and improvised music. 

Are you in the mood for jazz? An international open-air jazz festival Leopolis Jazz Fest offers a line-up of over a hundred world-class musicians. The Guardian has included the festival in its list of Europe’s top ten jazz festivals. The festival of Black American and improvised music Am I Jazz? invites you to listen, discuss, and dance. The programme focuses on vanguard expressions, emphasizes contrasts and parallels between new acoustic and electronic music.

Ukrainian Institute created a catalogue of bands and performers representing contemporary academic, jazz, and mainstream music. Check it to add something new to your playlist!

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