His call for American support could not have been more clear.
One of the biggest surprises at the 2022 Grammys had nothing to do with music. Midway through the telecast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared through a pre-recorded video to deliver a message about the current war between his country and Russia.
Outlets began reporting that Zelenskyy may appear via video message shortly ahead of the Grammys, but his cameo during the show still came as a big surprise to viewers. He called for U.S. support, and the 2022 Grammys emphasized the message by following his plea with a touching performance by John Legend and Ukrainian Eurovision finalist Mika Newton.
“The war. What is more opposite of music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” Zelenskyy said. “Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died, and we will never see them drawing. Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning in bomb shelters, but alive. Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.”
Zelenskyy’s video messaged continued: “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway. We defend our freedom. To live. To love. To sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today. Tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks and TV. But not silence.”
The impassioned speech was followed by an emotional performance of the inspirational ballad “Free,” by John Legend and Ukrainian singer Mika Newton. The stirring song also featured Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk and Ukrainian musician Siuzanna Iglidan.
The Ukrainian performers may be new names to some Grammys viewers, but they all have very impressive backgrounds in the arts.
Who is Mika Newton?
Newton is perhaps one of Ukraine’s most well-known international pop stars. She rose to fame during the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, where she placed fourth while representing her country.
Who is Lyuba Yakimchuk?
Yakimchuk has been a powerful voice amid Russian’s invasion of Ukraine. The Kyiv-based poet rose to prominence when her 2015 book of poems Apricots of Donbas reflected the turmoil in Kyiv throughout the past decade.
Who is Siuzanna Iglida?
Iglida is a multi-talented artist: a singer, pianist, composer, producer, and model, per her website. She is also a skilled bandura player, which she showed in the Grammys performance. The bandura is a Ukrainian plucked string instrument, similar to the lute.
To say the 2022 Grammys were memorable would be an understatement.