EUROVISION NEWS WITH ATTITUDE
It’s her first effort to go to Eurovision, but she came prepared! Alina Pash is one of the eight finalists of Vidbir, Ukraine’s selection for Eurovision 2022. With “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, performed in both Ukrainian and English, she chronicles the history of her home country and calls for peace and hope for the future.
Scroll down to read the “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” lyrics
Alina Pash will definitely bring some flair to Vidbir 2022. The Transcarpathian-born “Bitanga” hitmaker has been topping fan wish lists for several years.
Born in 1993 in the small village of Bushtyno, she’s since grown into one of the country’s most interesting faces in music. She participated in X Factor Ukraine in 2015, finishing third overall. However, her big breakthrough only came in 2018 when she first started releasing her own music.
In 2021, Alina Pash was one of the young Ukrainian artists to appear on the Tina Karol collaboration album Молода кров (Young blood).
She has received international acclaim too. Most recently, Alina won a Music Moves Europe Talents Award (a successor of the EBBA Awards) at Eurosonic Noorderslag, following in the footsteps of Ukrainian rapper alyona alyona.
Alina Pash’s song bares the same title as the famous 1965 film that depicts the tragic life story of a Hutsul Ukrainian man. In the 1960s, the film was progressive and controversial for its strong depiction of local culture, traditions and customs at a time when national culture was repressed. The soundtrack, including many folklore instruments, is one of the most striking parts of the film.
The film’s main characters are also featured prominently in the artwork of Alina Pash’s “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (see article’s main image). Below them, there is an image of Lesya Ukrainka, one of the country’s most famous and celebrated writers. Above in the right corner, Iryna Vilde is depicted – the UNESCO-protected writer who is known for her literary depictions of Western Ukraine.
In the first and only verse of “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, Alina Pash chronicles the history of her home country Ukraine. Starting with the line “Trembitas are crying for my free people / Who centuries live through storm“, she sings about the long history of war and struggles that the country has known for centuries. The trembita is a horn instrument used in the Carpathian mountains as a means to communicate events such as danger and also death of locals – Eurovision fans will recognise them from the opening of Ruslana’s performance of “Wild Dances” in 2004.
After peace returned to the country, as Slavic ancient gods Perun and Dazhbog heard the prayers of the local people, Alina sings that communities started to arise in the Middle Ages. These are the so-called “Viche”, which are gradually controlled by noblemen and Pani – a type of gentry. In other parts of Ukraine, Cossacks are defending the newfound land.
In the chorus, there is a call for unison between the peoples who inhabited the land throughout time: “Come out from the water, destiny, destiny / All my sisters, all my brothers / Give the drop that all we need / Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, mine and yours / In chronicles, hearts, eyes, blood century after century”.
The spoken word section following this is reflective of the history told in the first part of the song. Alina refers to “writings of Dumas”, which can mean Ukrainian folk epics and/or point towards historical writer Alexandre Dumas. She sings that, at times, the history of Ukraine seemed so depressive that Dante could have written a Divine Tragedy instead of his famous Divine Comedy.
Referring to Picasso’s dove — a symbol of peace — Alina says that peace is the only way out. She compares herself to the Grimm Brothers, who are responsible for the retelling of folklore stories in parts of Western Europe. In the last part before the chorus, Alina says Ukrainians are not dependent on the tragedy of the past, but can instead create a better future for themselves.
Music and lyrics by: Alina Pash, Taras Bazeev
Do you like Alina Pash’s “Shadows of Ancestors”? Is it your favourite for Vidbir 2022? Let us know in the comments down below!
Our Renske is a graduated Slavicist from the Netherlands. As a daughter of a Eurovision fan, she grew up watching and listening to Eurovision songs. wiwibloggs introduced her to a community of loving people from all over the world, including to her significant other.
Stop comparing this to 1944, there is zero similarity. Both invoke historical trauma, but Jamala sang about a very specific ethnic group which was targeted in a very specific historical event, one which was playing out all over again. The song was an indictment of the crimes committed against her people. Jamala was both singing a song of grief and sounding an alarm. It was strong and clear and necessary in the moment. This song is about the nation’s history, it’s historical trauma and how Ukraine can learn from the resilience and the strength of their ancestors in order to… Read more »
The song is overall good BUT that rap section isn’t doing it for me at all. Btw why do you need to brag about reading Shakespeare?
I’m sorry, but it’s a No from me.
messages like this belong on the esc stage
The chorus is magical
I honestly love it. I still don’t understand how some (ignorant) people are belittling the situation Ukraine is in right now but it’s a perfect entry for Eurovision.
P.s.: The lives and futures of people > Eurovision!
Stop joking about such serious things for the love of god!
Haven’t listened to the song I just read the lyrics. But why do I feel this will be another Jamala case? I am a bit fed up with this sort of statements at ESC. And the situation with Russia and Ukraine is something extremely serious that shouldn’t be downgraded to “who will play the sympathy card at ESC better”.
You probably don’t know what Jamala sang about. The theme of this song is not about Crimean Tatars story ?
Think what you think of the English part, but anyone calling out the Ukrainian verses as “nonsense” need to read more books and I mean this in the most respectful way. Poetry is poetry and you can learn to understand it as long as you want to put in the work.
I think the Ukrainian parts are great but the English rap will be polarising.
Yeah it’s something I think could be honed to become great but as it is on the Studio track feels… Wrong.
But also a live performance might change my mind if it flows better on stage.
Anyone who is Ukrainian *and* finds the Ukrainian verses “meaningful” needs to read better books 🙂 Poetry is poetry and some of it is written by 10 year olds who just discovered the power of rhyming two adjectives. “Divchyna moloda”, “pshenytsia zolota”, what an deep not-cliché-at-all turn of phrase. Alina is indeed Dante of today, just edgier because she don’t write no comedies (!)
In what world does a cliche mean something is not good.
They become cliches for a reason.
“Popular thing bad because popular” will never not be a weird take to hear from anyone.
The english part is cringy and unnecessary. I guess she wins this Saturday!
I like the idea of the song but it’s honestly not very melodic. Quite flat to be honest and it shows in the chorus. The lyrics feel like they’re being jammed in as well, too tightly packed to feel like they do not flow.
I honestly prefer Kalush.
I love this. I was taken back by the English spoken word part on first listen but I listen to it a few times and now I get it.
I thought this was decent and then the rap happened and I cringed into oblivion
Same. Really liked where is was going, and then the necessary forced rap happened. I may get used to it, but it doesn’t fit with the song.
Too heavy for me
but we need her to remove the spoken english part, it really ruins the flow of the song
So … she’ll pass the Jamala test?
That would be a hilarious title for future Ukrainian NFs: The Jamala Test 😉
This has begun to grow on me the more I listen to it. Very understated, but like a work of art, I keep listening and find something new. Hopefully, the staging will blow everyone away.
Ukraine is the only country with a 100% qualification round and there is a reason why. I hope they stay in the contest regardless of what happens in the country in the future
Even if we may have different opinions about the song, I guess we can agree that this is art. She’s taking references from Ukrainian History, adding some universal ones to build some context and help spreading her message. I really like the musical part of the song, but I believe the spoken part is a little too long and breaks the flow. The name-dropping doesn’t bother me that much, but the line “my favorite toy was a book of Shakespeare” sounds a bit pretentious. Anyway, this is a high quality entry and I imagine it can be very impactful with… Read more »
Maybe the Shakespeare bit is feminist, that girls are more than just playing with dolls.
You’d think the lyrics would be less clumsy if she is such a Shakespeare lover though. Unless ofc she read Shakespeare in Ukrainian.
But isn’t Shakespeare too dense for a kid? Some kids love books and started reading on an early age, which is obviously great, but usually with more age-aproppriate books. Anyway, I can see the bigger picture she’s trying to draw here. And maybe it’s just what you implied, that in her small town girls weren’t encouraged (or even allowed) to get an education.
Let’s just imagine it was an illustrated edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with kings and queens, fairies, and magical jesters. Ten-year-old Alina might love that.
Fair enough. If this doesn’t exist yet, some publisher should think about making it happen!
No we can’t agree. I disagree. But respectfully 🙂 Bad English isn’t art per se imo. More lack of language skills. and I ask myself where do we draw the line between patriotism and nationalism. Imagine if Germany sent a song about blood and whatnot.
I won’t get deeply into the patriotism/nationalism issue for a reason: I’m not from the region and I don’t feel comfortable addressing something I’m not familiar with. But I can assure you we share similar concerns, because the line between one thing and the other is too thin and dangerous. About her English, of course those aren’t the best written lyrics in the idiom I’ve seen, but I don’t think they’re a disaster either. She manages to communicate something and I personally prefer when this happens than when we see nonsense lyrics written with perfect grammar. Finally, I’ll also respectfully… Read more »
Fair points. I took the song seriously until the rap kicked in. After that, it was pretty much a goner. And the blood stuff is sth I personally don’t want to hear about. It feels wrong and weird. Then again, like you, I have no idea about the region either
I took the blood part more as a reference to the blood ties shared with her ancestors than the blood shed during Ukrainian history, though it’s indeed ambiguous, even more considering the current situation of the country.
In one thing we agree, when the spoken part comes (I wouldn’t even call it rap, it’s more like one of those poetry songs we have in Sanremo sometimes) it drives me away a bit. Though it’s true that this part also made me more curious to find out how they’ll stage it.
Everybody should be proud of their ancestors, even Germans and if they want they can send a song about their ancestors, I’d love it. Moreover she is not glorifying the spilling of blood, she’s saying that blood is in Ukrainian history century after century which means that people have suffered a lot throughout their history. Saying a historical fact doesn’t mean that she likes it. It’s actually a way to say that they have suffered enough and now it’s time for peace.
Ugh, this is one of the dumbest pieces of graphorrea I’ve seen. And it’s a strong statement for an English-language song from Vidbir lol. The first verse is utter nonsense stitched together just for the sake of rhyme. As a Ukrainian, I really hope the jury and the televoters will not buy into this cringeworthy pseudopatriotic posturing. So much pretence, so little substance
I didn’t wanna put it like that but thank you. It’s exactly what I think as well.
At a time when Putin may or may not invade Ukraine, this is a song Ukraine needs to send to Eurovision!
How many times can Putin invade Ukraine?
Ukrainian entries are always too good. Someone needs to stop them
Stephane & 3G: “It’s our time to shine.”
Lyrics are cringe. Stefania is much better option in my View.
“Stefania” is great. I haven’t listened to Wellboy’s song (is it out already?), but Kalush would be my pick for now.
Everyone has the right to like this song, but I don’t like it. The rap part came out of nowhere. It is like the song is two songs glued to each other.
The ethnic part: 10/10 magical and impactful
The rap part: 2/10 –> it is so unnecessary and random. The only reason why I give it a 2/10 is because of the good lyrics. Without the good lyrics, I would’ve given the rap part a 1/10.
During the rap I went from having goosebumps to being disappointed.
Honestly, I have mixed feelings with these lyrics. To be proud of ancestors and blood and genes may lead into something really bad.
Everybody should be proud of their ancestors. What’s so bad about remembering one’s roots? And btw she NEVER said that you should be proud of blood and genes. She said that blood is in Ukrainian history century after century which means that people have suffered a lot throughout history. Where does it say that you need to be a proud blood spiller? Nowhere…
Second time with this one (first time with River) that I feel potential esc winner vibes since the start of the national final season, it’s beautiful, and I can see the crowd going crazy during the rap/talk part, big potential, I think she is the obvious front runner in this very interesting NF.
I know very well already Alina Pash and in live she is fire so, everything’s good. Roxolona song is good, cool and fun but less powerful than Alina’s song. For me Krystian and Alina if chosen would be the main contenders so far.
This is what ESC should be: a promotion of cultures.
And Ukraine understand this better than others
What a fabulous entry! I hope Ukraine chooses this!
I like how she takes a novel title, but doesn’t reference anything out of the book. Though the song is good overall and I will be glad if it will represent my country.
They have better options, as long as they deliver a decent live performance. This one sounds way too heavy for Eurovision. The English and the Ukrainian don’t really flow well together. And I don’t think that people crave another heavy, dark and complicated entry from Ukraine.
It’s very heavy on the one hand and due to the lyrics very cringey, sometimes even laughable on the other hand. Not a good combination.
I actually didn’t dive too deep into the lyrics but now that I read them, with all the name dropping going on it’s almost like Diva but with none of the fun. Also in Diva the name dropping made sense conceptually, here I can’t really understand what she wants from me.
It makes sense in context of ukrainian history. But obviously it is very particular that is true
None of the people she’s referring to are Ukrainian. Dante? Picasso? The Grimm brothers? Those are not Ukrainians, yet the song theme is Ukrainian ancestors. Like.. What?
I feel the same way. Essentially, it’s really weird and clumsy name-dropping.
Find this streak of name-dropping kinda excessive. Tho it’s cohesive to the title (which is borrowed from a prominent Ukrainian novel and the art film based on it).
another great song from Ukraine although not sure if suitable for Eurovision. Maybe they should skip the monologue. I think my favourite still is Demons.
Kvinta said that Vidbir isn’t choosing entries with being as ESCy as possible thought in mind. A damn good strategy in my opinion and I think Suspilne should carry the tradition.
If every entry deemed ‘not suitable for eurovision’ was never send then eurovision would have died out the last decade.
When I read the title I feared it’d be another Jamala. But this one is certainly different I find a lot of the lyrics weird and the rap part especially.
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