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Ukrainian musician rocks Kelowna in support of home country – Okanagan

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one Ukrainian rock musician is touring across Canada to raise money for his home country.

“We are supporting a project from a Ukrainian fund in Toronto called Second Front Ukraine Foundation, so they are raising funds for drones for the army and all proceeds from this tour are going to go towards the initiative,” explained tour organizer Vadym Goreniuk.

Oleg Skrypka has been rocking out on stages in Ukraine for 35 years. Skrypka and his band, Vopli Vidopliasova, which formed in 1986, made a stop in Kelowna on Saturday night, where fans sang and danced the night away in support of a worthy cause.

“This is one of my favourite Ukrainian musicians, he’s the founder of Ukrainian rock-style,” described fan Denys Storozhuk.

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“This is his first time in Kelowna, but I hope not the last.”

However, this isn’t the first time Skrypka has performed in Canada. The musician says he was drawn back here because of the relationship between Canada and Ukraine.

“Canada is a really friendly country for Ukraine,” said Skrypka.

“Historically, there are a lot of Ukrainians here, but not only this, Canada, I think is the best friend of Ukrainian people because we have a lot of help from here, supporting us.”

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The long-time rock artist is often considered ‘the godfather of rock’ in Ukraine. He started playing rock music before Ukraine was even a country.

“I started getting into rock in the Soviet Union — it was Soviet rock music — but then I started to sing in Ukrainian language,” Skrypka said.

“I founded Ukrainian rock music.”

The first stop on the band’s ‘Big Canadian Tour’ was Vancouver, where over 500 fans showed up, raising over $10,000.

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“We are inviting all people, regardless of if they’re Ukrainian or not, we’re doing our promotion in English,” said Goreniuk.

“We think that music doesn’t have a language and we hope that people will like it.”

The remaining tour stops include Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.

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