Culture of Ukraine, Ukraine

After a long wait since her Eurovision victory in May 2016, Jamala finally released the music video for her winning song 1944 on 22 September.

In 1944, the words “When strangers are coming… They come to your house, They kill you all and say, We’re not guilty, not guilty” describe the forced deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin during the second world war. The painful relocation, during which nearly half of the population perished, is a personal story for Jamala, a Ukrainian singer of Crimean Tatar origin.

However, the new music video tells not only about the Crimean Tatars. “This music video is about the world where something has gone wrong, the story of trouble and tragedy. Everyone will see his own picture here. I want everyone that sees this clip to tell about it their way,” the singer announced at the presentation of the video.

In it, Jamala is presented as the leader of a tribe which was occupied by aliens. The action first starts inside a dark tunnel, where Jamala, dressed in a beige top and crimson wide pants, is joined by a group of young people, perhaps symbolizing the free future of the song. The dystopic ending shows the group in a misty grey mountain landscape, where aliens arrive to occupy the earthlings.

The video was shot over three days on an abandoned military base in the Carpathian mountains, 1565 meters a.s.l., by the directors of Jamala’s previous video, Zaplutalas. “Perhaps, this was the most difficult shooting in my life,” Jamala admitted. “The rain poured without stopping, the fog enveloped us like a blanket which even a strong wind could not chase away, it was terribly cold. […] Hot food was like a luxury for us because it was extremely difficult to start a fire in this weather, we literally fought for fire like primeval people.”


The song 1944 was released in the self-titled album on 10 June in the EU, and a month later in the USA. The album was published under the world’s largest Universal Music Group label and includes 12 songs – eight in English and three in Ukrainian. In the US, the release is carried out by Republic Records, which works with such artists as Ariana Grande, Drake, Florence + The Machine, John Newman, Nickelback, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and others, and in the EU – by the label Universal Music Denmark, which is the exclusive distributor of the official collection of Eurovision-2016.

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