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"Two years ago we still had hope that everything will change quickly, it's all some kind of dream, a farce, that it will not last long," singer Jamala recalls her last visit of the family in Crimea. Her parents and grandfather live in the southern part of Crimea.
"We cannot leave those place, because my grandfather's house, our house, huge fig garden are there," she explains, adding that her grandfather is 87 years, and it is clear that he just cannot leave the place.
Actually, the song "1944", which she performed in the qualifying round of "Eurovision", rises this question. Not only the story of one of the Crimean Tatar family and their deportation are covered by the song, but also thousands of stories of Ukraine’s IDPs.
Kateryna Sergatskova spoke with the singer about how the war is reflected in her works, can the song influence politics, and why good Ukrainian music today is underestimated.
How did the annexation and war change your work?
On the one hand, it did not affect my work at all. My style has changed, but it is not connected with the annexation.
I kept trying to find the right word, the right style, rhythm, not to lose the groove, like in English, so I try to transfer it to Ukrainian and Russian.
What happened with the songs "Get lost" and "Way home", is the result of my previous work. And it will be far-fetched, if I say that it was the annexation of the Crimea, what affected my work.
On the other hand, realities of the country coincided with a certain stage of my growing up. Perhaps they have accelerated them. It was impossible not to get involved into what is happening. And everyone, including me, has changed.
And then, when you get a confirmation that people hear it, you become encouraged. And this is very important, to get such a small acknowledgment.
It seems to me that the creative person,who says that he does not care what people think, is simply lying. I can say that I felt myself more needed. My audience began to expand with each of my song.
"Song of Friendship", from a mini-album Thank You, 2014, and then "Way home", which appeared in the fourth album "Breath" and "1944", which was released as a single, they have something in common.
Once I was said: "Oh, they are so much alike." And I conceived it as a trilogy. These songs are interconnected with one thought, searching, disappointment, doubt, loneliness, some reproaches.
In "1944",“But everyone dies” sounds like a reproach. Do not swallow my soul. Like "Dude, you know that time for everyone will come. And on our own way we should be careful not to trample others".
This is an important idea that ties all these songs.
You have said that "1944" was created just 1.5 years ago against the backdrop of all these events.
It was based on the events that took place with my family in 1944.
Yes, of course, what was happening around, it made the story sound louder, and added to it another dimension. But its roots are in my childhood.
When I was five years old, my grandmother told me how they survived the deportation. She had five children, only four of them had survived. Today only my grandfather is alive, and he's the only one who can tell the story in the first person.
This tragedy occurred in my family, this is not a story about how somewhere someone something happened. It happened to me in my house, it's up to me. Actually, that's why I wrote this song and dedicated to my grandmother and all the Crimean Tatar people.
What is the most emotional, the most powerful in this story for you?
Everything... My grandmother had a big house with vineyards, with a well. And here come some people at the midnight and say: "Fifteen minutes for packing".
She told me that they did not even take a meal, because they already knew what was happening to the Jews. They were ready to die.
They took some family jewelry and something very valuable. But I cannot imagine what was it possible to pack in 15 minutes and leave your home.
They were carried in closed railway carriages, hot and stuffy, with no food, no water... It was very hard.
When they were brought to Central Asia, it became even worse. My grandmother thought these two weeks would be difficult, and when they arrived in Uzbekistan, the Soviet propaganda has instilled Uzbeks that the Crimean Tatars, in fact-that, and not the people...
You mean, they called the Crimean Tatars traitors?
Most of the people in Central Asia was very uneducated. There have been rumors that the Crimean Tatars have tails, that they are not humans. I'm serious.
My grandmother told me that once a girl of the same age came and raised her dress to see if she had a tail.
They were afraid of the Crimean Tatars. And after they were brought to Central Asia, a lot of people died, even more than in the railway carriages. They were killed in hospitals after some lethal injections... Everything was organized not to let them live.
Yes, we are now able, like no other, to feel it. Nowadays, we can witness the same processes again.
Now I am the most important "banderovka" in Crimea. I was removed from the board of honor at a music school. They took all my photos, diplomas, which my mother gave them.
Why? Here is a real impact of propaganda on “stupid” people. The “stupid” people category comprises the majority.