8 shades of Jamala, Ukraine’s Eurovision contestant

Ukrainian singer Jamala has released 5 albums

Ukrainian singer Jamala has released 5 albums 

2016/05/10 • Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Culture, Ukraine

10 May is the day when this year’s Eurovision Song Contest starts in Stockholm, Sweden. What do you know about Ukrainian participant Jamala?

During the contest Jamala will sing her song 1944 about the deportation of Crimean Tatars. The song has already raised a lot of political discussions. However, 1944 is not the only song of Jamala’s. Some of her songs are really serious, some devoted to home, and others to love, but there are also funny and carefree ones. Do you want to discover Jamala? We collected 8 songs that represent the singer’s diverse work.

1. Fighter for Crimean Tatars’ rights

There are a lot of tears in the 1944 song with which Jamala represents Ukraine at the 2016 Eurovision song contest. Jamala herself does not want to talk about politics, but feels a huge responsibility for Crimean Tatars:

“I want to avoid talking about politics as much as possible since it is my personal matter, my pain, it is not a fictional story. On the other hand, I realize that I can’t avoid it due to the situation with Crimea and because not many people remember about the deportations today,”  Jamala said in an interview to Ukrainska Pravda.

Cinema and music give the language to communicate with your peers. Who said that music has to be only entertaining? Of course, first of all this contest is entertainment and everything has to be bright and spectacular. However, I remember the performance of Serbian singer Maria Sherifovich who just came alone in a men’s costume and started to pray for her people on the stage, and she won,” the singer continued.

The message which Jamala wants to send by her performance is the following:

If you respect your family, remember your roots, know your culture, history, you will never show disrespect or aggression towards another culture. To the contrary, you will be interested in it and try to understand it.”

1944 (lyrics)

When strangers are coming…

They come to your house,

They kill you all

and say,

We’re not guilty

not guilty.

Where is your mind?

Humanity cries.

You think you are gods.

But everyone dies.

Don’t swallow my soul.

Our souls

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

We could build a future

Where people are free

to live and love.

The happiest time.

Where is your heart?

Humanity rise.

You think you are gods

But everyone dies.

Don’t swallow my soul.

Our souls

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

vatanima toyalmadim 

2. Personal struggle for home

The story about the deportation of Crimean Tatars is also the personal story of Jamala’s own family. Back in the Soviet times, Jamala’s grandmother was given only 15 minutes to leave her house before being forcibly deported to Uzbekistan. Crimean Tatars received a very unfriendly welcome there as the Soviet propaganda already worked with the country’s residents. Now a similar story is happening to Jamala as she can’t visit Crimea where her 87-year-old grandfather lives. Her music school in Crimea even removed her portrait from the honoring display.

3. Becoming mature

Jamala is not the only artist whose work was affected by events happening in Ukraine.

“It would be far-fetched to say that the annexation of Crimea particularly influenced my work. On the other hand, events in the country coincided with some period of my maturing. It was impossible not to dive into it. And everybody, including me, has changed after it.”

Indeed, her work has changed.

I am confused (lyrics)

I am confused I am confused

Lost in the night even silent heart

Confused

Among the defect lay hands

I want to look for fragments of hope

To never wounded

I love

Gently so you

I love

Gently so you

You, you, you, oh, you, you

You, you, you, in,

You’re like a shadow on the glass

Drop by pearls

I’m always hoping

As the rain

But you just turned off and all

I love

Gently so you

I love

Gently so you

You, you, you, oh, you, you

You, you, you, you, in

You, in-in, you, you, you, you

You, in this

I’m confused

4. Symbol of new Ukraine

Jamala had expressed her active civil stance long before Euromaidan. However, after the annexation, the time for the real fight came. This video was shot during Maidan Viche (people’s meeting) on 23 March 2014, just after the beginning of the occupation of Crimea. That day, among others, Jamala sang a song in the Crimean Tatar language, as well as this Ukrainian folk song.

Oi vershe, mii vershe (lyrics)

Oi vershe, mii vershe
Mii zelenyi vershe
Uzh mi tak ne bude
Uzh mi tak ne bude
Yak bylo pershe
Bo pershe mi bylo
Barz mi dobre bylo
Od svoei mamychky
Od svoei mamychky
Ne khodyty bylo
Ne khodyty bylo
Kudy ya khodyla
Ne liubyty bylo
Ne liubyty bylo
Koho ya liubyla
Ne khodyty bylo
Horamy, stezhkamy
Ne liubyty khloptsia
Ne liubyty khloptsia
Z chornymy brovamy.

5. Movie hero

In 2014 Jamala appeared in a Ukrainian film The Guide about a trip of a young American boy and a blind Ukrainian musician across Soviet Ukraine before and during the Holodomor. Jamala played one of the main roles. Here is what she thinks about Olga, her character:

“On the one hand, she is like me, because she is a singer… But she has a much stronger character. She used to live in a very tough period, when she could have been killed for any wrong word, she could have faded away like smoke. It was difficult to play her…When she is singing, it is me. When she is out of her profession, in personal life, in feelings, we are way too different.”

Why do flowers have eyes? (lyrics)

Why do flowers have eyes?

Why are nights so lonely?

You came [into my life] only for a brief moment,

but I will remember you forever.

 

Why do flowers have eyes?

Why do they whisper so sweetly:

“Wait for him, and he will surely return…”

But this dream will never come true.

 

Why do flowers have eyes?

Why cannot we hear their prescient voices

as a calamity has already been

spreading its wings [over us]?

 

Why do flowers have eyes?

Why do I not want to believe

that I still might find you?

I am blind without love.

 

You and I… You and I. 

6. Eurovision, take one

Jamala’s first attempt to go on Eurovision contest was five years ago with the song Smile. Then she ended up third in the Ukrainian national final.

Smile(lyrics)

When alone you go to a brand new place

When you leave where you belong

Don’t forget to put on a smiling face

And you’ll feel so much at home

 

You can go to Moscow

You can go to Oslo

It’s no matter where you are

Shorten distance, baby

And you’ll feel much better

For you know that love can start

 

With a smile…

 

When you meet a guy who gets you high

Really gonna lose your mind

Don’t know what to say, you feel so shy

Be yourself and give a smile

 

You can meet Mohamed

You can meet Matteo

Who will open up your heart

Shorten distance, baby

And you’ll feel much better

For you know that love can start

 

With a smile… 

7. Singer of love

Perhaps love is a topic about which Jamala sings the most. By the way, many of the songs are written in English by Jamala in a joint authorship with Olena Chubuklieva. This video was recorded in Crimea in 2013 during the concert devoted to Crimean Tatar National Holiday Hydyrlez.

Your Love (lyrics)

Your eyes

make me see light of others

Need I say I’m mesmerized, cause I can’t get holdof my words

 

your touch

got a lot of tenderness, I shiver but i must confess

I feel I’m trully blessed

 

Your charm

Inspired my soul

to sing about us, letting in trust

Your love

makes me so complete, letting me see

you’re the soul of me

 

Your love

Like a forbidden fruit

Don’t know if it’s bad or good

there is no greater one to move

my heart is

breaking down all the rules

because instead of you i fought

for two, i knew you’d make me bloom

 

Your charm

Inspired my soul

to sing about us, letting in trust

Your love

makes me so complete, letting me see

you’re the soul of mine 

8. Fervent Jamala

This song is included in Jamala’s first album For Every Heart, released in 2011. We recommend listening to all of it.

It's me, Jamala! (lyrics)

It seems that all they play the same game

When people rate what makes you popular

My killer heels are not my AIM!

It’s me Jamala…

But you want scandals, you want “kiss and tell”

Again, again you’re staying deaf to me

The only thing I want to say:

It’s me, Jamala!

I’m not Gaga, I’m not Gaga, I’m not Gaga, I’m not Amy

I’m not, I’m not, I’m not

It’s me Jamala

It’s me, it’s me Jamala

Yeah, baby, yeah, baby

It’s me, it’s me

It’s me, It’s me Jamala

Can’t see the forest for the trees

All that tabloid beauty is so skin deep

My music is my privilege

So I’m singing… Oh, oh, oh, oh!

Oh why it’s your priority

You write my dress and hair all right by now

But that is not my cup of tea

It’s me Jamala!

I’m not Gaga, I’m not Gaga, I’m not Gaga, I’m not Amy

I’m not, I’m not, I’m not

It’s me Jamala

It’s me, it’s me Jamala, baby

Yeah, baby, yeah, baby

It’s me, it’s me

It’s me, It’s me Jamala

Jamala, Jamala

I’m not Gaga, I’m not Gaga, I’m not Gaga, I’m not Amy

I’m not, I’m not, I’m not

It’s me Jamala

It’s me, it’s me Jamala, baby

Yeah, baby, yeah, baby

It’s me, it’s me

It’s me, It’s me Jamala! 

 

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  • Terry Washington

    Politics? To quote Leon Trotsky, you may not be very interested in politics but politics most assuredly is very interested in you!