I speak with Oleg Shpudeiko about his sonic memories of his home in Ukraine, his return post invasion, and processing it all on new album “Kyiv Eternal”.
On 24 February, 2022, as russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Oleg Shpudeiko, aka the musician Heinali, left his hometown of Kyiv in order to escort his mother and his girlfriend’s mother to safety. He managed to get them to Budapest, returning to his homeland the following month. With Kyiv under heavy siege, he stayed in the city of Lviv in Ukraine’s west. There, he and a number of other musicians began live-streaming fundraising concerts from a bomb shelter; his contribution made use of his ongoing project Organa, a re-configuration of liturgical music for modular synth and non-classical vocalists. One of the performances was released as the album Live From A Bomb Shelter in Ukraine by Injazero Records.
In April, after the Battle Of Kyiv had ended, Shpudeiko was able to return to his home city by train.
he started to imagine what shape his work would take in a post-war city. “I wanted to reflect on a feeling of hugging the city,” he says. “I saw many monuments protected with sandbags, looking like they were being embraced. It was like I wanted somehow to protect [the city]. To try and embrace it, even though you can’t because you’re a tiny human. I wondered if there was something I could do about this feeling with music.”