The OneBeat Podcast

Roman Garkavenko - Life & Music in the shadow of war

Episode Summary

In the second of a series of interviews focusing on music and musicians in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine, talented bass player and OneBeat 2014 alumnus Roman Garkavenko discussed his coming of age as a superfan of Queen, and the limitations of music in the context of unimaginable violence.

Episode Notes

“I can’t listen to music. Since day one, since February 24. I tried, but I just cannot…For some people, they find our music helpful. But this is not for me right now.” 

This is the second in a series of interviews focusing on music and musicians in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The last episode focused on Margot Kulichova, a Ukrainian musician currently based in Lisbon; and while Margot has felt the excruciating weight of war from abroad, Roman Garkavenko, a OneBeat 2014 alumnus, has been in Ukraine since the war began on February 24. In a moving conversation with FSN co-founder Jeremy Thal, Roman shares his story from within Ukraine, from harrowing encounters with Russian soldiers during an attempt to find safety outside of Kyiv, to where he is now — back in Kyiv, living in his apartment, where he volunteers helping Ukrainians who have been displaced. 

As much as this interview touches on the power of music in times of war and revolution, it also highlights what music is not capable of. Roman, who is the bass player of beloved Kyiv-based indie-rock band 5 Vymir, speaks of his mode of survival as a Ukrainian living through terrifying times, and the ways he has learned to cope and support his people. 

Similarly to Margot, Roman has recommended links and resources for ways listeners and the OneBeat community can support people in Ukraine, and refugees around the world:

Check out our Youtube playlist to discover music by Ukrainian bass player Roman Garkavenko and his band, 5 Vymir, found in the podcast episode.

Produced and Edited by Jeremy Thal

Production Assistant: Nyokabi Kariuki

Mixed by Jeremy Thal

Executive Producers: Jeremy Thal, Elena Moon Park, and Kyla-Rose Smith

Featuring: Roman Garkavenko

OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, & produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.

Episode Transcription

Music Interlude: 5 Vymir - Karma

Kyla-Rose Smith (KRS): Hello and welcome to the second episode of the second season of the OneBeat Podcast. My name is Kyla Rose Smith. This podcast tells the stories of musicians, spanning all across the globe – their lives, their perspectives, their dreams, their realities. It is inspired by the artists we have met through an ongoing global music exchange program called OneBeat.

Elena Moon Park (EMP): And I'm Kyla’s co-host Elena Moon Park. This year marks the 10th anniversary of OneBeat programs. For the past decade we have been meeting and working with incredible artists in highly collaborative settings – sharing our creative processes, our artistry, and our vision of how music and sound can make a positive impact in the world. We are celebrating this achievement with an anniversary edition of our U.S.-based residency and tour, happening right now, fall 2022, in New Mexico in the U.S., featuring a cohort of OneBeat alumni and a series of special events.

KRS: To date OneBeat has brought together over 400 musicians from over 60 countries around the globe. Every single one of these artists has a different approach to music-making and social practice – different ways of creating music, different ways of working with their communities, and different ways of striving to make the world a more just and harmonious place.

EMP: This episode features an interview with OneBeat 2014 alumnus Roman Garkavenko –   bass player from Kyiv, Ukraine – in conversation with OneBeat co-founder Jeremy Thal. 

This is the second in a series of interviews focusing on music and musicians in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Our last episode focused on Margot Kulichova, a Ukrainian musician based in Lisbon. And while Margot has felt the excruciating weight of war from abroad, Roman has been in Ukraine since the war began on February 24.

KRS: Roman is a founding member of the beloved Kyiv-based indie-rock band Piaty Vymir – which is Ukrainian for “5th Dimension.”  The band has been playing together since they were kids, and while they have yet to achieve international fame, their music is a staple of Ukraine’s indie scene.

Their music is not explicitly political, and yet they have found themselves in the midst of pro-Ukraine movements for many years. They performed at the Maidan protests in 2014, in which millions of Ukrainians rose up to oppose their president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych, who they saw as a puppet of the Russian government.

EMP: After full-scale war broke out in February, Roman, his fiancee, and their neighbor’s cat traveled from Kyiv proper to a suburb west of the city center, where they thought they would be safer. They found themselves, however, at a focal point of the attack, as Russian troups invaded the Kyiv suburbs, including – perhaps most famously – the neighboring suburb of Bucha. 

As much as this interview touches on the power of music in times of war and revolution, it also highlights what music is not capable of. 

KRS: Roman speaks of his mode of survival as a Ukrainian living through terrifying times, and the ways he has learned to cope and support his people.

He is now back in Kyiv, living in his apartment, where he volunteers helping Ukrainians who have been displaced.

Thanks for listening to this interview with Roman – a strong, inspiring, and calm spirit amidst the horrors of war.


Jeremy: When I talk with friends who grew up in the Soviet Union or former Soviet Union, they describe the 90s as a particularly difficult time, economically. Was that true in Ukraine?

Roman: In Ukraine it was really hard. When my father began serving Ukrainian army, his monthly salary was about $20.

Jeremy: Do you remember growing up and feeling like there was hardship, there was poverty or was it just — you were a kid you didn't even notice? 

Roman: Uh, my mom told me once that when we went to the bakery — we had these bakeries, which are not like these fancy ones — just a place where you buy bread. And there, you can buy only like, a social bread. We had like three different types. 

And, I wanted like a, like a bun, just a small bun. This is what she told me, maybe in 10 years after that: she could not afford that. Because we only had money to buy this kind of bread and that's it. 

Jeremy: And what was the music that they listened to at home when you were growing up?  

Roman: Uh, it was like disco, [laughs]. It's called “Eurodance.” My father he also liked, Boney M. I think this band has this “Rasputin” song. I think like 50% of that was Russian pop music or maybe some Ukrainian songs, but, I don’t know, I, I didn't really, like care about that. I, I, I just knew that I, I, I don't like it.  

Jeremy: You didn't like it?

Roman: Yeah, yeah, I didn't. 

Jeremy: And so when you started listening to music, what was your music that you really liked? 

Roman: The first band I liked was Queen. This was the first actual music I liked. And my bandmates, my future bandmates, they started listening to The Beatles. And somehow, I liked Queen more because of, I think the first song was Bohemian Rhapsody. I was like super Queen fan. I thought that like, these guys, they knew what they were doing.

Jeremy: So you heard Queen, you got inspired. And is that, is that when you guys started playing as a band?

Roman: I think we were in like seventh grade, so it should be like 13 or something. They already played, and there was uh, like a small gig at school, so, so I came to see them. I was inspired, so I decided to start learning how to play guitar.

The first song I play on guitar was, uh, "Nowhere Man," The Beatles, because it’s like an easy one. Another one was “Why don’t we do it in the road.” 

Jeremy: That’s an adult song for a seventh grader!

Roman: I didn’t know what it mean…[Jeremy: laughs]. And then, maybe in a year, they got the first electric bass, really, really bad Soviet one. And they asked me to play bass. I didn't like it because I did it understand what to do with this weird guitar with four strings. 

Jeremy: Where was this? Where did you grow up? 

Roman: uh, in Kyiv. 

Jeremy: Like what kind of neighborhood? Where, where in Kyiv were you?

Roman: Near a part of Kyiv called Sviatoshyn. It's an older part of Kyiv. And then, during the Soviet era, they built a huge aviation plant. This plant built the biggest plane in the world, which was destroyed during this war. 

Audio Snippet: World's largest aircraft feared destroyed by Russian strikes in Ukraine | Antonov AN-225 | WION News

“The world’s largest aircraft has become a casualty in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The ongoing battle has cost the aviation world its largest aircraft ever made, the Mriya. The name translates to “dream” in Ukrainian. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted “Russia may have destroyed our Mriya, but they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free, and democratic European state.”

Jeremy: So how did your family end up in Kyiv? 

Roman: So, my father, he is from Chernobyl area, he spent his childhood, and then this nuclear power plant, Chernobyl was built like five kilometers from his house. And then he went to this military Institute in St. Petersburg, and there, he met my mother, because she was born there. And they married before he finished the university. Then they went to Murmansk, which is, northern part of Russia. 

There, he served in the submarine for quite some time. And I was born in St. Petersburg as well. And when I was born, my father wasn't home, he was in this like long-time expedition. I was born in February and he saw me, first time, in May, because he was like, under the water. 

Once, uh, Soviet Union collapsed, you had to decide which army you would serve — Ukrainian army or Russian army, so he decided to go to Ukraine and, yeah; this is how we ended up in Kyiv, since 1993.

Jeremy: So you were born in…?

Roman: 1991.

Jeremy: 1991. So what year did the Soviet Union actually fall apart?  

Roman: Uh, 1991.  

Jeremy: And then it took a couple of years for your father to leave the Soviet military and end up back in Ukraine?

Roman: Because he served the Soviet Union, and they could not decide how they divide these armies — like many things were Soviet, uh, for some years. We also used Soviet money for some time. The country, uh, like these 15 states, were together for 75 years, I think. So you need some time to divide the things from that thing. 

Jeremy: And were your parents both ethnically Ukrainian?

Roman: Yeah. So my mother is like half, half Russian, half Ukrainian, um, my father is, 100% Ukrainian and so, let me guess that I'm like 75% Ukrainian, 25% Russian.  

Jeremy: So you could’ve grown up on the Russian side, if your father had decided to serve the Russian military, rather than the Ukrainian. What made your parents decide to come back to Ukraine?

Roman: I think it happened because of his parents mostly, because they, they were like, super pro-Ukrainian at that time and they could never agree with his decision if he decided to serve Russian army because this controversy has been, like, for so many years — I mean, between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine has been under occupation for a long time. The Soviet Union for Ukraine was an occupation.

When the Soviet Union started in 1922, I think, officially, there was a war between Ukraine and Bolsheviks, because Ukraine wanted to become an independent state, and Bolsheviks, they didn't let Ukraine  become independent. Before that, before the revolution, Ukraine was a part of Russian empire. So yeah — it's like national idea to become independent.  

Jeremy: So jumping back into the world of music, let’s talk about your band, 5 Vymir, which means “5th Dimension” in Ukrainian. When did you guys change from a group of friends jamming together to a band that used this name?

Roman: I think we got this name, 18, 18 years ago. 

Jeremy: And what was your first gig as a band?

Roman: I think when we went to the university in 2008, we played our first gig in the main square in Kyiv. It was like a small gig protesting against something, I don't know [laughs]. It was like the protest festival, and we played there and it was fun and we understood that this is going somewhere. 

Jeremy: But you don't remember what you were protesting?  

Roman: Uh, no. [laughs]. Like we weren't protesting at that time. We just thought it would be cool to have a gig in the main square.

Jeremy: And at that point, the band started to get popular?

Roman: Well, I can’t say that we have ever became popular, this way. We're still a small band. Yeah, we had our song in the commercial of Ukrainian beer, it was on TV, like for a year or maybe like maybe five or six months. 

Music Interlude: 5 Vymir - Malo Sliv 

Jeremy: In 2013, the Maidan protests broke out in Kyiv, and escalated into a few horrific nights of violence in February of 2014. We heard a bit about this in the interview with OneBeat alumna Margot Kulichova in the first episode of this season. Were you there in Maidan square on the night of the violence?

Roman: Yeah. Actually, before that happened, I wanted to stay there all night. Because the protest was going on, and I wanted to be there, but then I understood that there are so many people on this square and it was really cold. So I thought, okay, I think this is not the best decision to stay up all night there. So I went home and then the next morning I understood that, uh, what happened, uh, on the square. The police, just beat the shit out of these protestors. And the next day there was a huge march, I think, around like 1 million people, to protest against this regime. 

I was there like, maybe 15, maybe 20 times. We also played a gig there, twice. So we try to like to be there because it was important for us because, uh, the — what was going on is that our former president, he decided that he will not go on where this Euro integration thing, and he decided that he would like to be closer to Russia than to Europe, but everybody wanted to be closer to Europe.

Jeremy: What did it feel like to be on that stage playing in Maidan Square?  

Roman: It was important for everybody, I think. Because many people live there all the time in tents, so they need to have a rest and to have some fun, listen to music and, you know, just to relax. Because it also was like, very cold winter, that time was like, minus 15, Celcius.

Jeremy:  So despite the cold – and negative 15 is around 5 degree Fahrenheit – did it feel good to be playing there?

Roman: Yeah. We felt that we're  part of this, uh, we're doing this important thing, to make everybody know that people here they're protesting against this decision. Um, so yeah we were proud to be there on that stage.  

Jeremy: So clearly as people, as Ukrainians, you’re politically involved. Is the lyrical content political as well? What are your songs generally about? 

Roman: There are many songs, of love, Kyiv and stuff. Yeah. There are many songs about our city. I didn't know. I've never like, uh, try to explain what's going on with the lyrics. The lyrics of our song, not that straight.  

Music Interlude: 5 Vymir - Магія

Jeremy: After Maidan, what happened politically in Ukraine? 

Roman: We had a new president. We had a new parliament, and also Crimea was annexed by Russia. This annexation happened without any fighting, because they did it like, quietly. 

And then, they started the war in these Donetsk and Luhansk regions. I mean, they didn't say that Russia was there, they tried to hide that, saying that, “these regions, they would like to separate from Ukraine”, but, you know, this is just a bullshit. These guys, who are called, National Army of Donetsk and Luhansk, they could never do that without any help from Russia. 

They had the Russian TV, Russian radio and stuff, and because of that, they feel that there are Nazis in Western parts of Ukraine, central Ukraine, but this is not what what was this revolution about. We just wanted to become closer to Europe and to live better,  to travel freely without any visas and stuff. 

So we have this conflict— uh, you cannot call this conflict. We have this war since February, 2014.  

Jeremy: So jumping forward 8 years, from the invasion of Crimea, when did you get a sense that the Russian military was going to launch a full-scale invasion?

Roman: Uh, I didn't have this sense at all because, if you mean the full-scale war, which started in February 24th, I didn't have a sense that this is going to happen because I could not believe that. 
I was in Berlin since February 19th. So me and my girlfriend, we had this conversation, if we should go home or we should stay here, we just didn't know. Uh, we could not believe that, uh, if we go home, this thing will start like the next day. So we decided to go back home to Kyiv. We arrived February 23rd. And the next day, I woke up   my father called me and told me that the war has started.  

Jeremy: So even though troops had been mobilized on the borders, you didn’t think Putin would actually start a full-scale war?

Roman: They held those troops for so many months, but we could not believe that this is going to happen because if you start the war, everybody, understand that there is no logic in it. I thought, ‘you could not, not normalize war between Russia and Ukraine for Russian people’, which they did, eventually. I, I cannot understand what is going on in their country. I mean, how could they believe that this is a good thing to fight against their brotherly nation? 

Jeremy: And why do you feel like so many Russians still believe that, still support the war?

Roman: I mean, they just cannot see the facts because they believe that Ukraine was thinking of invading Russia, which is like, Ukraine had never thought of invading any country. Ukrainian never done that before. We were just fighting for our lands, which were annexed by Russia, so this is total bullshit, to be honest.  

Jeremy: But it's, it's worked to some extent, right? I mean the majority of Russians believe this story, right?  

Roman: Yeah, they do. Even my relatives, they believe in that.  

Jeremy: What do they say? 

Roman: They say that Ukraine is bombing Donetsk and Luhansk and so to protect people of Donetsk and Luhansk, uh, they will send Russian troops to invade Ukraine to de-militarize, uh, to de-nazify, and so on.  

Which is, which is like stupid. How can you, how can you de-nazify the nation, uh, that has a Jewish president. [Scoffs] Like what's going on?  

Music Interlude: 5 Vymir - Khmary 

Jeremy: So at the beginning of the full-scale war, you and your fianceé left Kyiv and fled to the west of Ukraine. What was your experience of traveling there?

Roman: So on February 25th — this was the second day of war — I went to the village, which has like 30 kilometers from Kyiv. I thought that this should be a safe place but then, maybe in two or three days we understood that this is not a safe place at all, because the Russian army was coming from north, from west… We were surrounded by those forces.  

And we heard bombs falling, all the time, like for 10 days. And then we managed to escape from there. It was the 8th of March. So, we spent there like, 12 or 11 days in this village. Um, we were lucky enough to escape, uh, on that day because, uh, I've seen what happened after, after we left that village. Um, this village was destroyed, actually,  many civilians killed in their cars. 

We had no electricity there for 10 days or 11 days. Because of the bombings, they destroyed something, some electricity lines. So we woke up when the sun was rising. And, we went to bed when it was the sunset. 

Jeremy:  Would you be open to sharing a bit about what the escape from that town  was like

Roman: We escaped through the fields and forests because all the main roads were blocked or, we just didn't know what was the safest way, because the main road, I think it was captured by Russian forces at that time. S o we went through the field and through the forest. We had like five cars escaping from the village that morning. So when we came out from the forest, we drove directly to the Russian troops. 

They stopped us. There was a tank which put his gun, he was pointing a gun on our cars. And so at that moment , we didn't know what's going to happen. Uh, if we're, if it's like, they will let us go or they will let us stay, or they will kill us. We didn't know. 

There was a guy, he, he came to us, checked our documents, checked the trunks of everybody's car.  And he said that if you, you should go fast right now. So we were driving very fast from that place. I don't know, maybe they had uh, like a good day and they were in good mood, and they let us go because, you know, in other cities, the situations were like the oppo  site. They just shoot cars of civilians with their tanks, with their firearms and stuff. 

Jeremy: Who were you traveling with? Who were in these five cars?  

Roman: Just the citizens of this village. I was in my car with my fiance, and with a cat of our neighbors. Just civilians, uh, actually escaping from this, from this place, that's it.  

Jeremy: So when this guy, the Russian soldier walked up to you and you looked in his eyes, what did you see? 

Roman: Nothing. Um, yeah, I don't know. I just, I cannot say that at that particular moment, I was frightened. I wasn't afraid, actually. I felt nothing, and I was numb.  [Wow.]  Because you know, there was nothing I could do in that situation. This is what happened and you just have to accept it. There, there is nothing you can do. We have no weapons, no nothing. We were not soldiers or whatever. So we could do nothing to them, especially with all the weapons they have, they could destroy us within like five seconds. This, this was — I cannot explain what I, what I felt in that moment.  

Jeremy: And when you looked in this Russian guy's eyes, did you see a human being or was he like, maybe he felt nothing too? 

Roman: I don’t know. I did not recognize any, any of Russian soldiers as a human beings right now, especially after what they did in the Kyiv region, in all these cities. I, I don't understand. I cannot explain why they came here to our land, to destroy our cities and to kill our people. We've never invited them. We’re on our own land, so…I don’t know. it’s hard to tell, actually.

Music Interlude: 5 vymir – Вічність

Jeremy: So, it’s a couple of months after the full-scale invasion began, and you’re back in Kyiv. What’s it feel like there now?

Roman: You know, it's weird. there's no place in Ukraine where you can feel a hundred percent safe because you know of the rockets; they're flying from different territories from, from Belarus, from the sea, from Russian territory. But it's not like, like a month ago when Russian troops were standing  50 kilometers from the place where I live, so they could shoot these — launch these smaller rockets, which fly like 50 kilometers or something.  So they attacked like, houses, civilians and stuff. 

Jeremy: How does it feel to know that it's essentially like a neighbor; a conflict between neighbors?  

Roman: Well, Ukraine has been under this Russian influence for a long time, so since like eight years already. I understand what's going on and Russian people are not my brothers because they support what their government does to Ukraine. I mean, they say, uh, with one hand that we are brothers and with the other hand, they kill us. I mean, this is, uh, this is unhealthy relationship. 

Jeremy: And you were saying, you know, we were talking the other day, like you grew up speaking Russian as your first language. 

Roman: Yeah, almost everybody did in Kyiv. As I said before, my mom, she's Russian. I mean, she's maybe not a hundred percent Russian, but she was born there. Like, Russian language was the language of, uh, USSR. They forced everybody to forget their own languages and to — just to speak Russian, to like, to make everyone equal because the ‘great empire’ should have only one language. [right.] I've studied Ukrainian since the first grade, since I was six. I don't speak Russian anymore, only with my mom. Because it's like, I'm used to it. Yeah, but I don't use Russian anymore, because this language is a weapon. This is the reason they came here.  This is the reason they started this war because they try to protect Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, which is a total bullshit, you know? 

Jeremy: When we were talking about Maidan, your band went and played. You were able to be kind of part of the resistance with your art in that way. How do you feel like – as a musician – you can be part of the resistance now? 

Roman: I don't know, actually. I don't have any, any answer to that question. I don’t know even if art could do something with it. I mean, you can say that I'm an artist and I cannot take a gun and fight because this is not what I'm trained for, and so on. And I will stop this war with my art. Yeah, You can say that, but to be honest, I don't believe in that.  The only thing we all believe here is our Ukrainian forces, because this are the people who can change the situation.  

Jeremy: But those folks do often need to listen to music, to keep their spirits up?

Roman: I don't know. Uh, I can’t listen to music. Since day one, since February 24. I tried, but I just cannot. No, I don't feel it. I mean, it's just like a noise to me right now. For, for me, my brain doesn't want to listen to music right now. Maybe I just need some time. One day this war will end, eventually. But the streams of our music on Spotify and Apple Music, like tripled since, since the full-scale invasion. So for some people, they find our music helpful. But this is not for me right now. 

Music Interlude: 5 Vymir - Tak Tykho

Jeremy: And so, your girlfriend stayed in the west and you decided to come back to Kyiv. Why did you decide to come back?  

Roman: Because I want to be helpful. I mean, I was helped there as much as I could. But then I decided to come to Kyiv, to do something like — to help somebody who's coming from this Kyiv region, who evacuated from there. To do something in particular, this is what I wanted to do, because there, I couldn't find myself useful . And it's like,relatively safe right now, here. And I wanted to go home as well.  

Jeremy: And what have you been able to do in Kyiv that you weren't able to do in the west? 

Roman: Where I live, we have like this volunteer center, and they gather all these groceries, and clothes for everybody who evacuated; and also for the army, because they have a shortage of socks and underpants and t-shirts and whatever.

And also people from these recaptured parts of Kyiv region, they also need something. They need food because stores there were destroyed. They were hungry. They could not buy any medicines.

Yeah, so uh, what I did, I went to the pharmacy, I bought some medicines, I went to the, to the, like, grocery store to buy some food, and so on, gathered some clothes from my friends, and from, from my home, because like I have t-shirts and stuff. 

Also I'm driving my car where they need some help. I picked up a family from Irpin, uh, recently because they went west as well, escaped from, from the city when the war started. Their apartment was destroyed. So, volunteers asked me to drive them to another flat. And so, yeah, so I'm trying to help as much as I can. And I also continue to work and send money to the army. 

Jeremy: What would you want to say to people of, of the world? I mean, you're living in a modern cosmopolitan city, you know, having a nice life, nice career. And then one day everything just shifts. How can, how can you describe that to someone who's never lived it?   

Roman: You can not understand what is going on until you're in this situation.  This February 24th is the day where your life changed completely. Um, there is no normal life like it was before. Because like, everybody had plans like, uh, like you wanted to buy a bigger and bigger flat, a bigger house, a nicer car or whatever you wanted. You wanted to go for a vacation to another country to swim in the ocean, whatever.  Now, now you just, [laughs] you're grateful that you're alive today. That is weird. I know, but this is how it is. 

It feels better, much better, when you don't hear any explosions. But since, uh, since I came back three days ago or maybe four days ago, there were four explosions nearby at night. So I woke up with these explosions.  Yeah, it was really loud. I was afraid again, the way I was afraid the first day. So yeah, you know nothing right now. But, but what I know for sure is that Ukraine will definitely win because we have won already. I mean, we have stopped this huge army that was trying to invade our country.  We, we stopped them and we recaptured many regions of our country, so I think we've already won this battle, but we have to win war. 

Jeremy: So before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with the OneBeat community, or the world in general? 

Roman: I think, I think the only thing which is helpful just to spread the word about this tragedy, which has happening here right now in, in 2022, in the center of Europe which is unacceptable, I think, and stupid. So, yeah, I think that's it. 

Music Interlude: 5 Vymir - Містолінії


EMP: Since the time of this interview, Roman says that he has started listening to music again, and even recorded a new song. But a week before releasing this episode in October of 2022, a new wave of missiles began striking targets all across Ukraine, including Kyiv, reminding us that this war is far from over. If you want to support Ukraine, In the show notes we’ve included organizations that Roman recommends.

KRS: This episode was produced by Jeremy Thal and Nyokabi Kariuki. All the music you heard in the episode is from Roman’s band, 5 Vymir. Also included in the show notes is a link to a playlist that includes the songs from this episode, and others.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the OneBeat Podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends and family! In the next episode, OneBeat Podcast team member and acclaimed Kenyan composer Nyokabi Kariuki interviews three incredible Kenyans who are using music and sound to preserve, archive, and inspire new directions in Kenyan music. 

The views & opinions expressed by our guests on this podcast are their own and not those of the ECA, Bang On A Can, Found Sound Nation, or any of its employees.

OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Bang On A Can’s Found Sound Nation. 

We’ll close this episode with a song by the Ukrainian band Lady Aphina, which features Roman on bass. The song is called “Ni chesti, ni sercia, ni sovisti,” which translates as “no honor, no heart, no conscience.”