Picture: Konstantin Mikhalchevsky/Sputnik – Road to Yalta Festival, Moscow, April/May 2023. The uniqueness of this music festival is that foreign contestants perform famous Soviet songs dedicated to the Great Patriotic War in their native language. These songs convey the feeling of patriotism, commemorating the feat of the Russian people.
By Maria Konokhova
The Road to Yalta International Music Festival, first held in Crimea in 2019, is one of the most significant cultural events dedicated to the end of the World War II in Europe. The festival, which brings together musicians from different parts of the world, aims to preserve historical memory and strengthen intercultural dialogue.
The Road to Yalta festival is marking its fifth anniversary this year at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow. The festival saw applications from 56 countries, but only 17 foreign performers from 15 countries made it to the finals.
The uniqueness of this music festival is that foreign contestants perform famous Soviet songs dedicated to the Great Patriotic War in their native language. These songs convey the feeling of patriotism, commemorating the feat of the Russian people.
The semi-final of the Road to Yalta 2023, during which contestants performed solo, took place on April 29. The final was held on May 2. During the gala-concert, participants perform in duets with popular Russian artists. The special guest of the event was the legendary Italian singer Pupo.
Ahead of the final part of the festival, one of the contestants, Yvonne P Sauramba, a singer from Zimbabwe, expressed her impressions of Russia and its culture, sharing with Sputnik her experience of participating in the music event.
She noted that the festival presents a great opportunity to learn more about Russia and its history, as well as meet other talented people from across the globe.
“I’m so excited to be part of this festival The Road to Yalta and I do see it as an amazing opportunity for me to meet amazing artists from all over the world, as well as to experience what is like to be as a part of Russia,” she explained.
Sauramba has been passionate about music from a young age. Her family also shared this love for music as her brother and sister used to be in a band. Her first public performance took place during a children’s service at church. Since, she’s been performing at school and church events.
She has been interested in Russian culture for a long period of time. Noting that she has already spent a couple of months in the country: “I’m loving it here.”
At the festival, she performs the song “Cossacks in Berlin”. During the finals, she will perform it with Russian singer and composer Alexey Petrukhin. Talking about the song, she stated that she really loves it and finds it very beautiful.
“It’s full of energy […]. It’s talking about finding love in the midst of war. And I actually find it really beautiful,” she said.
This song is the first one born on a peaceful day, on the day of the Great Victory on May 9, 1945. It put an end to the long and difficult path that began in those harsh days when the “The Sacred War”, also known as “Arise, Great Country!” was first heard, calling for a battle against fascism, a battle that ended in Berlin.
The organisers of the festival have pointed out that despite the sanctions and international pressure on Russia, there are a lot of people willing want take part in this great music event. They explained this phenomenon by saying that it is impossible to destroy what has been built for decades and centuries – Russia’s cultural ties with the whole world.
“The contestants came from various countries and regions, including Southeast Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, Africa. They all are very professional and most importantly very sincere,” the artistic director of the festival, Ernest Matskiavichius, told Russian media, adding: “Those who participate this year were even more firm in their decision. They know exactly where they are going and why. They share our historical and cultural values.”
Since the first festival in Yalta, a total of 46 foreign artists have performed on the stages of the Crimean city and Moscow. Over the period of five years, the organising committee received more than 900 applications from vocalists from 60 countries, and tens of millions of viewers around the world watched TV and online broadcasts of the concerts.
This article was first published on Sputnik