Ottawa concert welcomes artists of Ukrainian heritage and EDM band from Kyiv

A girl wearing a blue and yellow scarf plays on stage.
Olena Karas and Yaroslav Tatarchenko of Kyiv-based band Tonka perform at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Olena and Yaroslav will be performing on June 25th with local sound engineer Mathieu Brown. Provided Photo.

Submitted by Marianne Brown

More than 1,373 cultural institutions have been destroyed or damaged in Ukraine since the warerupted, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Culture Galyna Grygorenko.

As Ottawa’s festival season approaches and folks flock to concerts, art events, and community gatherings post-Covid, it is difficult to imagine our lives without the arts. In its war on Ukraine, Russia has, like many aggressors throughout history, targeted the arts in an attempt to erase culture. 

Yuliya Kovaliv, Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, has noted that “Ukrainian culture and historical heritage are among the targets of Russia’s brutal invasion. Destroyed museums, libraries and historical heritage are among the attempts to erase Ukrainian cultural identity.” 

The Hnatyshyn Foundation, established by late Governor General and passionate arts supporterRay Hnatyshyn, has dedicated the last year to help Ukrainian artists resist and fight back. 

While the Foundation typically supports Canadian artists, for its 20th anniversary, it granted ten awards of $10,000 to performing artists under the age of thirty of Ukrainian heritage in Canada, and ten in Ukraine, some of whom have been displaced by the war. The Foundation has invited all laureates living in Canada and a few artists based in Kyiv to perform at a one-night-only concert gala at the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre on June 25.

A man plays the violin in a Ukraine war zone.
Ukraine – Heritage, Spirit and Future winner Illia Bondarenko of Kyiv plays Piece for Illia by Ryuichi Sakamoto in the rubble of a school destroyed by Russian missiles in Zhytomyr. Illia hopes to travel to Ottawa for the concert but is still awaiting his visa. Provided Photo.

Entitled Ukraine – Heritage, Spirit and Future, the concert will celebrate the incredible strength and longevity of Ukrainian culture in all its forms – from the classic Hopak of Edmonton’s Shumka Dancers to Kyiv-based band Tonka’s EDM music – and will raise funds to restore or rebuild one of the many destroyed arts facilities in Ukraine. 

Tickets have been selling at $200 per seat. Thanks to generous sponsors and donors, the Foundation has decided to make the June 25 gala open to all, with a “Pay what you can” ticketing model. Guests are encouraged to reserve tickets now and choose whatever price fits their budget!

Following the concert is a silent auction with exciting items gifted by local businesses, internationally-acclaimed artist Edward Burtynsky, and local arts organizations. To access the auction, guests are asked to contribute a minimum of $25. 

Event Details

Date: Sunday, June 25, 2023 – 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Location: Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper Street

Tickets, Program, and Donations:

Marianne Brown is the Director of The Hnatyshyn Foundation. She is a Canadian and French artist and arts writer for Nosy Mag. She holds a master’s degree in Contemporary Art Theory and a bachelor’s in Visual Arts and Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She can be reached at

Three girls dance.
Edmonton’s Ukrainian Shumka Dancers perform My Yeh (“We Are”), a soulful salute to the bravery of people in Ukraine. Six dancers from Shumka will be performing a Hopak and My Yeh one June 25. Provided Photo.

Leave a comment