Ukrainian music culture: Ukraine's radio stations adopting a new law on language quotas
Entertainment18:14 Nov. 15, 2016
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Ukraine's radio stations adopting a new law on language quotas

Under the recent law, a quarter of songs on radio must be in Ukrainian

A small musical revolution has happened in radio broadcasting within Ukraine. Listeners have heard plenty of not only Ukrainian origin music but also Ukrainian language ones. Even on the stations traditionally airing foreign hits.

A morning show on Radio Roks has been broadcasting for 7 years. For two hosts - Serhiy who speaks Russian and Sonia who speaks Ukrainian - this won't be a problem.

"It's easier for me to sing in Ukrainian than in Russian though I'm totally Russian-speaking"

In 2013, songs in Ukrainian were a rare thing. Their part comprised only 2.2 percent. After the Revolution of Dignity, the situation slightly changed. For example, a week ago there was about 10 percent of Ukrainian music on air.

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According to the new law, 25 percent of songs should be in the national language. In two years, it provides more songs to be in Ukrainian - each third.

The general producer of the largest audio recording studio is wondering why the law applies to radio solely.

Andriy Pasichnyk, general producer of Moon Records studio: They are eliminating Soviet legacy with Soviet means. It's an obvious prohibition.

From now on, Ukrainian artists will have to seek ways out, for example, recording several versions of the song. But it's not a guarantee for success.

Andriy Pasichnyk: Because of language peculiarities, some songs cannot be easily produced in both language versions.

Some artists have tried to use legislation gaps and combine two languages in one song: verse in Russian and chorus in Ukrainian.

Watch also Less Russian TV shows in Ukraine, the new law says

The explanation is simple. If a song contains over 50 percent of words in Ukrainian then the song is considered Ukrainian. Anyway, the new law is supposed to give impetus for young artists.

Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, frontman of Okean Elzy band performing mainly in Ukrainian, is sure that the law doesn't solve all the problems. And continues that he is surprised that radio stations constantly air his band's music, every 10-15 minutes. "As if showing, there is no other music in Ukrainian".

Vakarchuk adds that such quotas must be introduced when the industry itself is established. 

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