World Famous Musicians of Ukrainian Origin

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Ukraine is not called “Spivocha krayina” (“Singing country”) for nothing – there are many reasons for that. A lot of talented singers whose brilliant voices touched millions hearts all over the world have their roots in Ukraine. Let`s learn some interesting facts about the most famous musicians of Ukrainian origin.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer, writer and actor. He has been one of the most important figures of the world`s pop music during the last 50 years. In the course of his music career, Bob has performed compositions in the numerous styles: Irish, Scottish and British folk, blues, country, gospel, rock&roll, rockabilly, jazz and more. Apart from being a talented musician, Bob Dylan is highly appreciated as a writer who is able to raise serious philosophic and intellectual issues in his lyrics that are often compared to high poetry. The artist was even awarded with Nobel prize for “Creation of the new poetic expressivity in the frame of American songwriting tradition”. Few know that Bob Dylan has Ukrainian roots. His paternal grandmother and grandfather, Anna and Zigman Zimmerman, escaped from Ukrainian city Odesa to the USA in 1905 because of anti-semitic outrages.

Lenny Kravitz

The full name of the famous American singer Lenny Kravitz is Leonard Albert Kravitz. He was born on May 26, 1964, in New York. Lenny Kravitz is not just a singer, but also a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger. His unique “retro” style unites elements of such music genres as soul, funk, reggae, psychedelic, folk and ballades. Recording his compositions in the studio, often Lenny not only does vocals, but also performs guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion parts. The musician has four Grammies in the nomination “The best male vocal rock performance”. Though the singer was born in the USA, his great grandfather was originally from Kyiv.

Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler (born Steven Victor Tallarico, March 26, 1948 in Yonkers, the USA) is the famous American rock musician, vocalist and frontman of Aerosmith band. He is considered as one of the most popular artists in the history of modern rock music. Rolling Stone magazine has included him in the top 100 list of the best world`s vocalists. By the way, Steven`s father was also a musician, but preferred classic music. Steven Tyler`s family tree has many roots: Italian, German, Polish, British and Ukrainian. The musician has told that his maternal grandfather Felix was Ukrainian. Felix, whose surname had been Chernyshevych, changed it to Blancha after moving to the USA.

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Kvitka Cisyk

Kvitka (“Kasey”) Cisyk (1953–1998) was the American singer of Ukrainian origin, born in New York. She performed opera and blues compositions, Ukrainian folk songs, popular advertisement jingles and other. Her song “You Light Up My Life” written for the similarly-named movie was awarded with Oscar and Golden Globe in the category “The best movie soundtrack” in 1978. The composition has been also nominated for Grammie as “The song of the year”. She has worked with Michael Jackson`s producer – Quincy Jones; her voice sounded in the advertisements of McDonald's, Coca-Cola, American Airlines and Ford Motors. The parents of Kvitka, Ivanna and Volodymyr Cisyk, immigrated to the USA from the Western Ukraine. The artist`s name “Kvitka” is literally translated as “Flower” in Ukrainian language.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans (1929–1980) was born in Plainfield, the USA. This American pianist and composer was one of the most significant jazz musicians of the XX century. Nowadays, few professionals are able to re-play his sophisticated melodies. His signature interpretations of the popular ballads made Bill Evans highly appreciated not only by jazz community, but by all lovers of music in general. His music improvisations and swings in the moments of the highest inspiration touched thousands souls all around the world. Bill Evans was the youngest of three brothers. His father was of Welsh origin, and the family of his mother immigrated to the USA from Ukraine.

Nicole Scherzinger

Nicole Scherzinger is an American pop and R&B singer, dancer, songwriter, music producer, actress and photo model. She is the most famous as the vocalist of “The Pussycat Dolls” band and a performer of “50 First Dates” movie soundtrack. Previously she has also been a member of “Days of the New” band. Nicole`s origin is an interesting mix of Philippine, Hawaiian and Ukrainian roots. She was born in Honolulu in 1978. Nicole`s mother Rosmarie is half Ukrainian and half Hawaiian. The full name of the singer is Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente Scherzinger. She was given her second Ukrainian name – Preskovia –by her Ukrainian grandmother.
Ukraine surely has a beautiful voice – and this voice can be heard all over the globe.
Photo source: All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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