Zlata Ognevich

Zlata Ognevich (Злата Огнєвіч; real name Inna Leonidivna Bordyug, Інна Леонідівна Бордюг) is a Ukrainian pop singer and political activist. She sings mainly in Ukrainian, though sometimes also in Russian and English.

Ognevich was born in Murmansk, Russia, to Serbian and Italian parents, but they moved to Sudak, a city in Crimea, when she was still very young. It was there that she started getting interested in music, and when she was 18 she moved to Kyiv to attend music schools—first the Glière Higher Music Institute, where she studied pop vocals, and then the Kyiv Music Institute, where she studied vocal jazz. Her first foray as a professional singer was as a soloist at the State Ensemble of Song and Dance for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a popular jumping-off point for Ukrainian singers.

Starting in 2010 Ognevich began auditioning for Eurovision, unsuccessfully. In the meantime, she participated in a number of other music contests around Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus: she won the popular Ukrainian TV show/music competition Folk Star (Народна зірка) in 2011, and later that year took first prize in the Crimea Music Fest. Finally in 2013 she won the Ukrainian selection for Eurovision and participated in the event itself in Sweden. She came in an impressive third with her song “Gravity.”

In 2014, Ognevich’s political and social activities began to take over. She had been participating in charitable activities on behalf of sick children, but in 2014 she ran for Ukrainian Parliament as a member of the Radical Party, hoping to change the face of Ukrainian politics. She campaigned seriously and won a seat. She worked on the committees that deal with the arts and culture in Ukraine, and coauthored seven bills before leaving her seat in 2015, citing the difficult political climate and her feeling that she was not making any impact. Ognevich has also spoken out extremely strongly against the Russian annexation of Crimea.

While Ognevich has yet to release a full-length album, she has released more than 10 popular singles and a number of music videos over the course of her career. She also acted in the Ukrainian voiceover of Zootopia. She’s currently back at the tops of Ukraine’s charts with her “The Kukushka,” originally released in 2011. She is also a Distinguished Artist of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

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“For Summer, For Spring” (“За літом, за весною”), Ognevich’s latest single:

 

Lyrics for “За літом, за весною”:

А я хочу море,
А я хочу зорі,
Ти – мій пілот,
Летимо за хмари,
Ми з тобою пара,
Іду за тобою!

Приспів:
Слідом за літом
І за весною
Я тебе покличу
За собою!
Осінь своїм золотом
І зимою,
Серце віє вірою,
Надією, любов’ю!

А я хочу в небі
Розпитати тебе,
Моя любов!
Ми з тобою пара,
Летимо за хмари,
Завжди за тобою!

Приспів. (2)

 

“Kukushka” (“Кукушка”), the Ukrainian version of an earlier hit:

 

Lyrics for “Кукушка”:

Була дівчина, стала зозуля,
ой, лети!

Я чула спів у лісах, зозуля кувала,
До рання!
В своїх снах, спогадах, у думках заблукала
Наче то була я.

О-о!

Тебе я бачила
Мене ти, ой, не спіймав
До неба летіла, летіла.

Ой, чому я, чому ти, чом ми досі не разом
Але я тебе шукаю, себе лаю, та знову тікаю
То є пісня моя,
То є я!

Тебе я бачила
Мене ти, ой, не спіймав
До неба летіла, летіла

Моя доля як поле,
Де вирують вітри.
Я навіки твоя, ти до мене лети,
Доки не вгасли вогні і я!

Тебе я бачила
Мене ти, ой, не спіймав
До неба летіла, летіла

Тебе я хотіла
Мене ти, ой, не спіймав
До неба летіла, летіла

Хай летіла!
І-ех! О-о!

 

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Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.