Press Release via AS Written, June 2022
DAVE AND FRIENDS ‘LAMENT FOR UKRAINE’
While most of us watch helplessly as the brave people of Ukraine battle Russian aggression, six musicians have decided to remain helpless no more. And, as a result, they collected a special award at the Albanian Video Music Awards in Montenegro on May 27th.
These musicians have reacted to this still unfolding tragedy by pouring their hearts into their craft and creating a stunning portrait of the pain of war. Their song, LAMENT FOR UKRAINE – which features the Albanian popstar Mentor Haziri – is their version of the Ukrainian folk song Verbovaya Doschechka, The Willow Board.
“In the early weeks of the Ukrainian war”, recalls DAVE McCUNE, one of those Irish musicians involved, “myself and my partner, Joey Moore, heard the harrowing news reports of women and children leaving Ukraine, leaving behind their husbands, their fathers, their sons… to fight. And not knowing if they would ever see them again. Those reports left their mark on both of us. We felt helpless, but wanted to do something.”
Dave revealed that he had first heard the Ukrainian folk song Verbovaya Doschechka when he saw the YouTube video Violinists Across the World Play for Ukraine. In that video, a lone violinist in his basement shelter in Ukraine plays a haunting melody, and is then joined virtually by a host of violinists from all over the world in an act of support and defiance. One of those violinists was Irish musician Lynda O’Connor.
“Lynda is a wonderful violinist, and we work together regularly”, Dave continued. “Lynda shared their version of ‘Verbovaya Doschechka’ featuring Ukrainian violinist Illia Bondarenko and musicians from all across the world. That was the first time I’d heard ‘Verbovaya Doschechka’, and when we decided to record our version, Lynda was happy to take part. Joey and I wrote the English lyrics for ‘Lament for Ukraine’ and the second verse, sung by Mentor, is the original Ukrainian lyric.”
“Mentor”, revealed Dave, “was a teenager during the Kosovo War and literally fled for his life. Even though he was safely evacuated, he helped Kosovo refugees in Macedonia. He went from there to Australia as a refugee, and later returned to Kosovo to find his family alive. When I visited him in Kosovo in 2018, we passed one village in particular, Racak, the scene of a massacre which was the tipping point for NATO becoming involved”
Also featured on Lament for Ukraine is Sharon Gaynor, a freelance singer who regularly appears with the RTE Concert Orchestra. In keeping with the personal nature of this project, Sharon’s husband, Eric Campbell, shot the video footage of Sharon here in Ireland.
Session guitarist Dave Molloy, played electric guitar – featured on the track’s extended instrumental ending – and Albanian musician Keli Guga played the haunting Persian bamboo flute, the ‘Duduk’, with Dave McCune himself producing Lament for Ukraine, and also playing percussion, drums and bass guitar.
With the project’s main intention being to further highlight the heart-breaking pain Ukraine is currently suffering, Mentor and Dave had the chance to do exactly that on the international stage on May 27th. They were invited to perform Lament for Ukraine at the Albanian Music Video Awards in Ulcinj, Montenegro, where they also received a special award for the song.
~ You can view the official LAMENT FOR UKRAINE video by searching Lament For Ukraine (Verbovaya Doschechka) on YouTube.