Jamala: Ukraine Struggles On


Jamala’s Story of Courage and Resilience

Jamala’s life has changed many times. The last time when the Russian army decided to attack Ukraine and she found herself suddenly in war. An artist, singer, daughter of a Crimean Tatar and an Armenian, she won the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 singing 1944, which tells the story of Stalin’s invasion. Almost 70 years later, Jamala found herself in the same situation. She is a refugee, she had to leave her city, Kiev, and completely change the organization of her life and work. Today, almost two years later, while her country unfortunately continues to be attacked and is at war, Jamala (stage name of Susana Jamaladinova) has taken up her work with more strength and determination than before. “Throughout my life I have had to fight for my rights: the right to be myself, the right to create. And now, like thousands of brave Ukrainian women, I am fighting for the right to live in my home,” she told becoming the face of Spotify EQUAL, the global program of the platform that aims to combat gender inequality in the music industry: “Despite the bombings and explosions, I continue to fight – as do all other Ukrainian women – for the freedom to live in a free country where the voice of each of us can be heard.”

Jamala’s Global Reach

Jamala has been in Europe in the last months, in Liverpool, for the final of the last Eurovision and to present her new album, Qirim, in Italy, where she dreams one day to perform in a big theater, and she is ready to sing live for the first time in the United States and Canada. “After the attack on my country I found myself at a loss, on the one hand the singer me remained, on the other the activist me,” she tells the guest of the Milan offices of Spotify, “It seemed impossible to me to be able to sing in war. I was on the front line for my people, giving all the help I could, but then I realized that I could do something with my work too. I took part in several events and benefit concerts. We managed to raise 67 million euros singing my 1944 in Germany. Since then I have used every opportunity to make my voice heard in support of my brothers.”

The Reality of War

How is your life organized today? “My children are in Warsaw with my husband’s parents. I go and come back, even if it is not easy to do it, from Kiev. We have to ask for a lot of permissions. Today it is really difficult for me to answer a simple question like “Where do you live?”. I live on a train, but I am happy to be able to support my country. It is really magical to be able to use your voice in this way.” Have you felt the support of the rest of the world? “I could say that Europe has been really supportive of our country. There has been a lot of talk about our battle and our rights. For almost a year Ukraine has no longer been at the top of the news headlines, but unfortunately the situation is still very difficult. Every day they bomb us, there are many dead and wounded. I hope people don’t forget about us.”


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