Andrij Shkurhan

* 1961

  • "Another person with whom we experienced the wartime was visiting me here. Yulia Berezhko Kaminska, an outstanding poet and writer, a member of the Ukrainian Writers' Union. She read her poems written during the Russian occupation at the Czech Brethren Church parish in Liberec last Friday evening after the national holiday of 18 November. It just so happened that she worked in Irpini as the director of the community center and lived in Buch. During the Russian occupation she found herself in a cellar in Buch and she spent two weeks there. She survived in these conditions with her family. She evacuated when she had the chance. During the two weeks she was in the cellar, with Russian tanks and mortars firing over her, she wrote a whole collection of poems, which she read to us and while I was translating it into Czech."

  • "The majority of the nation, who wanted to live according to European laws and rules, organized a huge protest. They wanted to see Ukraine as a country developing normally among other nations of the world, and not to come back under the rule, albeit informal, of Russia, and remain a colony of a great empire that had just begun to gain power. His government, and Putin in particular, have sought to annex the Ukrainian state into their orbit. I took an active part in those events, considering that my niece was a member of the opposition in the Ukrainian parliament at the time. The opposition did not only fight against the government on the Maidan, but they also used several political methods. One of them was to convince other European countries to help the Ukrainian people to win this revolution. I translated first-hand information from the Ukrainian opposition - all the proclamations and appeals to the nation, but also to the governments of the neighboring countries, especially Poland - into Polish and sent them directly to the office of the President of the Republic of Poland or to the Polish Foreign Ministry."

  • "It was quite interesting in America. I was on my second pre-show, when it was over, they said, 'Okay, you’re hired, we need someone like you.' And as soon as it ended, the gentleman who was the host and from whom I had run away came up to me, along with two other sturdy and muscular men. On the other side was my uncle, and with him there were four other men. The host was coming and saying: 'He’s coming with us.' - 'My uncle said: 'He's not going anywhere, he's ours.' - 'How so? I'm the major here,' the guy said. - 'Nice to meet you,' my uncle said, 'I'm a general.' And the four men with him were Marines. That's how I stayed in the United States." - "For how long?" - "Even though it was for a really short time, it was just June of 1991, I was declared a traitor in the Soviet Union." - "Officially?" - "Something like that. My dad's hair turned gray, and my ex-wife, a former pianist and composer, officially disowned me. She said she wanted nothing to do with the traitor."

  • "In 1989 I went for the first time to the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the important Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, which was not allowed in Kiev at that time. But the then Minister of Culture of Latvia, you know, the Baltic countries have always been characterized by a greater quest for freedom - so the celebration of Taras Shevchenko’s anniversary was held in Latvia. I went to Latvia with my now-deceased professor Zinaida Maximenko, a meritorious Ukrainian artist and an outstanding pianist and composer, and we did concerts where we played music by Ukrainian composers, especially Mykolas Lysenko, to the words of Taras Shevchenko’s poems. None of the prominent Ukrainian artists dared, they were all given a secret order not to go to these celebrations. And Shkurhan just didn’t care, he sent everyone as far away as possible and went there and did two concerts, one in Riga and the other in Jurmala." - "Did it cause you any trouble back then?" - "It caused me problems, because they wouldn't employ me anywhere. I was on the KGB list, and when I came somewhere for a pre-singing session, they told me, 'Great, you’re hired!' But two days later, 'You know, we got a letter here saying we can't hire you.'"

  • "Aunt Hana also survived a lot, because her husband was arrested by the Communist government in 1946 and had to spend ten years, he wasn’t released until the end of 1956, in a gulag. In the family we had a living witness of what was happening in gulags. He was held beyond the Arctic Circle in Norilsk, working in the mines and in the brickyard. All his toes were frostbitten and amputated. He came back crippled. Those are places where the temperatures reach 40 degrees below zero. He was one of the survivors of the hell of the Soviet gulag. He came back, and for most of his life until Ukraine's independence, his rights were violated. As a former prisoner of the system, he had no opportunity to assert himself. So my parents took in their children who were born after my uncle's return from the gulag, my cousin Maria in 1957 and my cousin Peter in late 1958."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Liberec, 15.11.2022

    délka: 02:15:00
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Voices of Ukraine
  • 2

    Liberec, 22.11.2022

    délka: 02:06:31
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Voices of Ukraine
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

The Ukrainian singer conquered the world, he also played an important role when helping his fellow countrymen in need

Andriy Shkurhan in the Memory of Nation studio, 2022
Andriy Shkurhan in the Memory of Nation studio, 2022
zdroj: Post Bellum

Andriy Shkurhan was born on November 27, 1961 in the West Ukrainian town of Sambir in Soviet Ukraine. His mother‘s family belonged to the Polish-Ukrainian aristocracy, which acquired this status in the 17th century. During World War II, they had to hide their origins from the Nazis and the Communists, and lost their extensive property in Ivano-Frankivsk. His paternal grandfather, who fought against the Bolsheviks in the Polish-Soviet War, was often put in danger by the Soviet Communists. The contemporary witness’s parents met at a music conservatory, and both later pursued music professionally, his father as an opera soloist and his mother as a choirmaster. The contemporary witness originally studied applied mathematics, but eventually also decided to pursue a career in music and graduated from the Lviv National Music Academy. Before the collapse of the USSR in 1991, he began working as an opera soloist in Poland, where he also studied translation at the University of Warsaw. He participated in a number of international vocal competitions, mainly in Europe, winning eleven of them. In 2000 he received the Taras Shevchenko National Prize, which is the highest cultural award, for his successes abroad and for the promotion of Ukrainian folk music. Since 1999 he has also performed in Czech theaters, and later he moved to the Czech Republic permanently. He got married and divorced twice, and his third marriage resulted in the birth of two sons. During the Maidan Revolution of Dignity in 2013 and 2014, he translated the statements of the Ukrainian opposition and sent them to the top political leaders of Poland. After the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, he organized aid to refugees arriving in the Czech Republic and participated in the community life of his fellow countrymen. At that time he lived in Liberec, where he also worked at the F. X. Šalda Theater.