Victor Morozov is a Ukrainian singer/songwriter who has participated in
many of the major cultural happenings that have recently transpired in
Ukraine, and this summer marks the appearance of his latest release, Treba
Vstaty i Vyity. Although he has worked in several different styles of
music, Morozov is primarily a bard-he interprets poems, writes songs
around them, and then performs them. His sung-poetry has been a major
influence on the rock bands in Ukraine today, such as Plach Yeremiyi and
Mertvyi Piven, and he continues to act as a 'godfather' for these Lviv
A significant presence in the Ukrainian music scene for over
twenty years, Morozov is perhaps best known in North America for his work
in the Ne Zhurys! cabaret ensemble and for his album Chetvertyi Kut,
recorded with the Fourth Corner musical trio. Morozov's latest Treba
Vstaty I Vyity (Stand Up and Leave) is listed as an album by both Viktor
Morozov and Chetvertyi Kut. It retains acoustic guitarist Oleh Yarema and
adds bassist Oleh 'John' Suk, and Andrij Piatakov on drums and percussion.
This rhythm section, on loan from Mertvyi Piven, is one of Ukraine's best.
Morozov handles all the vocal duties and also plays acoustic guitar.
In what is an extended example of the art of sung-poetry, Treba is a
collection of ten songs written by Kost Moskalets. In addition to being
one of the best poets in Ukraine today, Moskalets is also a musician,
having composed and performed many songs during his tenure in Ne Zhurys!.
His song, 'Vona,' was first covered by Morozov on Chetvertyi Kut and then
by Plach Yeremiyi on their second album (the latter's recording became a
huge hit in Ukraine in the late 1990s). All the music and texts on Treba
were written by Moskalets; Morozov and Yarema did the musical
The album's songs alternate between acoustic, two-guitar
ballads, and Latin-tinged numbers. They are united by Moskalets's poems,
which are somber reflections on a damaged world, interlaced with sporadic
glimmers of hope. The album's title track opens with an anthem-like call
to arms. The second song, 'Stare Kino,' (The Old Movie House) begins with
chords that recall Aerosmith's 'Dream On,' but instead of Steven Tyler's
annoying wail, Yarema's guitar emerges to introduce Morozov's chilling
delivery of a tale of fleeting happiness. Then the band switches gears and
offers 'Alina,' the album's catchy pop tune. Among the CD's other
highlights are 'Kolyshnii Idol' (Former Idol, in which Suk and Piatakov
emerge from the uncharacteristic restraint they demonstrate on the album)
and 'Svitlyi Nektar,' (Brilliant Nectar) a farewell letter to Lviv.
'Ostannia Zyma' (The Last Winter) closes the album by cracking open a
window of optimism. A raspy, Tom Waits-style delivery and a great
slide-guitar break make this the album's best song.
mastery in singing poetry is unlike that of other musicians in this
genrehe respects the text and presents it on an even level with the music.
His ability to change his voice, sometimes within a song, injects the
tunes with a dynamic quality, which keeps them from monotonously running
into one another. Treba is an excellent album created by a veteran of the
Ukrainian music scene. Carefully crafted, it is a long overdue gift to
music fans from one of Ukraine's most professional and talented artists.
reviewed by Mark Andryczyk