Treba Vstaty i Vyity

Victor Morozov

10 tracks - Independent release or call toll free 1-800-563-7234
printed in Zdorov! #15 - Summer 2000

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 bands.
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 arrangements.
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.
Victor Morozov's 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