Evgeniy Khmara – about the funds raised in Europe, performances with Fedyshyn and replenishment in the family

Evgeny Khmara – about the funds raised in Europe, performances with Fedyshyn and replenishment in the family

Our interview with Evgeny Khmara was recorded before he was robbed on the train on the way from the Czech Republic – the pianist was robbed of equipment for performances worth 8 thousand euros and a bunch of studio recordings that cannot be returned. But, as Evgeny says, this is nothing compared to what Ukrainians are losing today because of Russia's war against Ukraine.

We talked with the virtuoso pianist about his charity concerts in Europe, collaboration with Irina Fedyshyn and good news – Evgeny and his wife, singer Daria Kovtun, are expecting their third child.

In my case, a musical instrument is a weapon

– Zhenya, you perform abroad and in the squares, and give charity concerts. Where did I find you now?

– I want to start by saying that I, as a man from 18 to 60, received permission from the Ministry of Culture to leave Ukraine. For the first month and a half of the war, I was in Ukraine, gave 23 concerts for the military, IDPs, and children.

And then I realized that I needed to go abroad, because there I could raise money to help our country. But the very first and main mission is still informational: to be with Ukraine, to talk about Ukraine, about our situation. For in Italy, for example, they really had to defend the position of our country and our president, since Italian students equated him, relatively speaking, with Putin.

» give up your delicious food, music, language, and if you do not agree, you will be destroyed.

They said that he was ruining our lives, and for what – they did not understand. They believed that it was possible to give part of our territory to Russia, and the war would end.

I suggested that they imagine that Martians had flown to them, so as not to talk about anyone in particular, and asked them to “friendly” refuse from your delicious food, music, language, and if you do not agree, you will simply be destroyed. And after this wording, it became clear to them why even a centimeter of our land should not be given to Russia.

And now I am in Spain. I had two shows in Marbella, one in Madrid and one in Valencia.

– By the way, you just remembered the scheme of going abroad. Because as soon as one of the male artists goes to some kind of concert, people begin to write – but how is it, one can do it, others can’t. I saw it, and on your page they are interested.

– In my case, the weapon is a musical instrument. In our situation, I think everyone should be in their place. It's like in the human body, for example, the brain cannot perform the functions of the heart and vice versa.

What is the point of just sitting in Ukraine just to be here, when, for example, I collected 60,000 euros for my first visit to Europe. The second visit has just begun, and a little more than 30 thousand euros have already been collected. We are now collecting money together with Irina Fedyshyn. And there will be more to come. This is a real help to Ukraine.

Indeed, when compared with some artists who have already collected millions, 60 thousand is a small amount. But if every artist can collect that kind of money, we can win even faster.

Where are these funds going? Do you personally acquire something targeted or donate it to some funds?

– Nothing reaches my hands. For example, 30 thousand euros collected at a concert in Lithuania were transferred to the account of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. There were charity baskets, everything was sealed, there was no other way.

And when there were concerts in Austria, we also have no right to take any money there at the legislative level. They have the Caritas Foundation, which is engaged in helping Ukraine. They help a lot of Ukrainians on the spot in Austria, they transfer part of the money for food. That is, they do not transfer money to Ukraine, but buy what they need and send it to Ukraine.

The hate received by Fedyshyn is unacceptable

– You have already mentioned Irina Fedyshyn, with whom you are now giving concerts. Why teamed up with her?

– Probably, it was decided somewhere above. We met on a TV show six months ago, worked, and that's all – somehow lost. A week after the start of the war, I gave a charity concert at the railway station in Lvov. And then Irina's husband, Vitaly, called me on the phone and said: “Let's do something together.”

I studied Irina's songs, and in fact, a few days after this conversation, we were already giving our first concert for military.

We divided our performance: the first part, relatively speaking, is mine, the second is our collaboration with Irina. Of course, we end each of our performances with the Anthem of Ukraine.

And the situation that has developed in the information space in relation to her is very unpleasant for me.

– Yes, I want to ask about this . Because this hatred applies to you. On your Instagram page, under the announcement of your performance with her, someone wrote that now he will not go to your concerts either. How do you react to this?

– I think, time will pass, and everyone will understand everything. In this situation with refereeing at Eurovision, for some reason, she got the most nuts. Some part of the audience argued that she was the most popular. Such an argument. And when they also began to write some nasty things to her children, she personally – “do not go out, because I will rape you” – there are simply no words.

Irina has been singing in Ukrainian all her life. Someone may like creativity, someone may not like it, but the fact that during the 15 years of her career she has always promoted Ukrainian folk, Ukrainian music cannot be ignored.

Voting at Eurovision ”is a subjective-professional matter. If you look at the scores of all the jury in Europe, then all plus or minus are the same. Therefore, the hate that she receives, I consider unacceptable. Especially in the form in which it is.

Until the war is over, we must support the authorities, no matter what mistakes they make, support them so that they do everything so that we can live in Ukraine.

Today we have one enemy – a terrorist group called “Russia”. And when such hate begins in the form of letters to children that your mother is such and such, and messages like we will kill you – well, sorry, if we want to be a tolerant nation, then if someone made some mistake, we must learn to forgive .

Irina and Vitaly help the Armed Forces a lot. And for this position I respect them very much. At the beginning of the war, we had periods when we actually lived together. So imagine – 3 o'clock in the morning, Vitaly's phone is torn, guys from the front line are calling that they need armor, asking for help. And at 3 a.m. he begins to deal with this issue. And so all the time. They are very active in volunteering. So I’ll tell you how it is – if there are people who started doing this for the sake of PR and their own benefit, then they just screwed up, I can’t call it otherwise. Therefore, as a man, I cannot but stand up for Irina.

– A new wave of hate fell on her also for her words about representatives of the LGBT community. But, in my opinion, a person can have his own opinion on any issues, and it is worth discussing, and not insulting, offending or threatening to take life.

– How to live and whom to love is the choice of absolutely everyone. And internal quarrels will not lead to anything good. This, by the way, not only applies to Irina, it also applies to political history. Until the war is over, we must support the authorities, no matter what mistakes they make, support them so that they do everything so that we can live in Ukraine.

Eugene Khmara – about the funds raised in Europe, performances with Fedyshyn and replenishment in the family

With Irina Fedishina during a performance in Marbella. Photo: Instagram.com/irynafedyshyn/

Dasha and I are expecting a third child

– How do you survive now? Is there some kind of financial airbag?

– All this time we have been without earnings, this is an absolute zero. Yes, there was some kind of financial cushion, but it is already ending. And sometimes there are such charity performances for which you have to spend a little of your money.

I really believe that the war will end soon and at least some activity will return. But, honestly, today I can’t even talk about any corporate parties for making money. I can’t even imagine how, in today’s realities, when there is a war going on in Ukraine, one can speak at such events. Today, charity should come first.

– Do your family, wife and children travel with you or did they stay in Ukraine?

– Dasha and I expecting a third child (smiles). She is about to give birth, she is now in Kyiv. We really want to give birth in Ukraine. We strongly believe that the war will end soon and it will be safe. But if the war goes on, after the birth of a child, if there is a threat to life, I think I will take her and the children to Austria.

– How does Dasha feel? At such a time, it is not easy to bear a child, first of all morally.

– Now it is very, very difficult for all Ukrainians. Dasha is such a sensitive woman that all the pain that our earth is experiencing seems to be reflected in her body. The first and second pregnancies were easy, but now it is difficult for her. And Ukraine hurts, and Dasha's whole body hurts. But I am convinced that Dasha's psychosomatics is so developed that as soon as the war ends, she will immediately begin to feel normal.

– If you now look at all those days that we have already experienced, at what moment was the most terrible?

– Still, the most terrible moment is the morning of February 24th. This moment was minted in the heart, soul, it will never be forgotten. In the first hours after the beginning of the war, we tried to leave Kyiv. And when they saw all that panic, the number of accidents on the roads, they nevertheless decided that this was our home and we were staying in Kyiv.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but for the first three days there was really no faith that everything would be fine. When a tank drove into Obolon on the second day, a house on the Kharkov massif was partially destroyed, they thought that that was all. Therefore, on the third day of the war, we decided to leave Kyiv anyway.

It hurts both Ukraine and Dasha's whole body hurts. But I am convinced that as soon as the war ends, she will immediately begin to feel normal.

We went in an unpopular direction – in the direction of Kharkov to the Poltava region. This is Dasha's cradle, her grandfather lives there, we spent a lot of time there before the war. We were driving along the Kharkov highway, and here cars start flying towards us in the oncoming lane, flashing their headlights … When they stopped to ask what happened, they told us: “There is a fight ahead.” A pregnant wife, two children… We drove off, waited, and when we went back to the highway, we saw a completely burnt Ukrainian military convoy. As we were told, she was shot by a Russian helicopter. It was very scary here.

Then we tried to move to the west of Ukraine from the Poltava region, because we started saying that they could block the crossings across the Dnieper. And if that happened, we would be cut off. First we moved to Alexandria, on the same night there was a tense situation in Energodar, which is 150 km away. And when we were already passing Uman, right in front of us, two Russian bombers were going very low in the direction of Zhytomyr. I think a lot more people felt even worse than we did, but it was still a scary moment.

Eugene Khmara – about the funds raised in Europe, performances with Fedyshyn and replenishment in the family

Evgeny Khmara with his wife Dasha and children – Vera and Nikolai. The couple will soon have another baby. Photo: Instagram.com/odara_dariakovtun/

I dream of building a family house to do mini-concerts there

– How are the children?

– We tell the children everything that happens, we explain (Vera – 3 years old, Nikolai – 5. – Auth.). Of course, these days in Kyiv had a psychological impact on them. Even when we were already in the west of Ukraine, they reacted very strongly to any noisy sound. It took time to adapt. And the question of the sirens is generally some kind of psychological trauma. When we were in Austria, and they have a drill, and the siren started to sound, the children have horror on their faces and panic.

– Do you make plans for the future? Now it's hard, but you need to dream. What are you dreaming about?

– You definitely need to dream. Moreover, we need to open our hearts to kindness and love, because only in this way can we build a new and beautiful Ukraine. If we only focus on the negative, unfortunately we won't be able to do the right thing when the war is over.

When we were in Austria and they have a drill and the siren starts to sound, the children have horror on their faces and panic.

My dreams are for us to live in Ukraine, for my children to grow up here. My dream is to build a family house, I dream about it all my life, to do mini-concerts there, to record my new albums, to do it with Ukrainian orchestras. And, of course, to travel the world and talk about Ukraine in the language of music.

– How do you see our Victory Day? What do you want to do first of all?

– I don’t want to use some pop terms, but, given the genocide against our people, I dream of seeing a full map of Ukraine along with Crimea on Victory Day.

What will I do? Seriously, I can't even think about it today. I will definitely cry. I think a lot of people will cry. We desperately need a victory, because this is not just a victory of Ukraine over Russia, it is really a victory of light over darkness, of the civilized world over dictatorship, totalitarianism and terrorism.

I want to go on a tour that no instrumentalist has yet did not go. I want to go even to the smallest cities of our country and play for people. I really want to play for our people.

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