And the Winner Is…? : An Interview with Jenia Galich

Jenia Galich is the frontman of Ukrainian rock group O.Torvald, which is representing Ukraine at the 62nd song contest “Eurovision 2017” with the song “Time.” O.Torvald was created in 2005 in Poltava, and in 2006 the musicians moved to Kiev, where they launched themselves into intensive, creative activities: 10 years of rehearsals, club performances, and various tours. The rewards of their persistent work have included five studio albums, numerous fans and victory at the Ukrainian national final for Eurovision 2017.
We asked Jenia Galich about the forthcoming competition, his attitude toward the Ukrainian capital and the development of tourism in Kiev.

Jenia, during 14 years of our participation in the Eurovision song contest, Ukraine has generally been represented by female soloists. Why did Ukrainians choose your group this year?

This year our country needs to be represented with a strong man’s face. Jamala perfectly did it last year; she is a delightful vocalist and a strong personality. However, this year O.Torvald is ready to do its best, fight up to the end to represent our country with dignity.

I am for that we value the present, respect the past and think of the future. It is very important.Jenia Galich
You have chosen a very serious song for the Eurovision song contest. Why did you make up your mind to touch upon the theme of time?

Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that we start appreciating a person after we have lost them. I have a tattoo with the inscription “All in good time,” so I am for that we value the present, respect the past and think of the future. It is very important.

What were your feelings when you arrived in Kiev for the first time? Did it become your hometown?

At first it seemed very large to me, and I could not realize how so many people lived there — and I also understood that it would be not that easy to reach those goals we had set with the group. But now, we are approaching step by step to making our dreams come true. There is no doubt that Kiev became my hometown because my family lives here and my daughter was born here too. However, I miss Poltava and Bila Tserkava, the cities where I was born and grew up.

What is your favorite place in Kiev? What makes it different from other European cities?

It is very difficult to be objective as I live in Kiev; however, I am a tourist in other cities. I prefer walking along Yaroslavov Val and Reytarskaya Streets; I adore the Golden Gate and the streets near this historical monument. I also like St. Nicholas Catholic Cathedral, near Olimpiiska metro station. It is an improbable architectural monument that is tattooed on my shoulder.

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hat and where should our tourists taste?

I like “Kanapa” restaurant on Andriyivsky Descent, where Ukrainian dishes are prepared with a special chef’s approach. “Yaroslavna” is a great café with pies, which are known by all Kiev residents. If we speak about street food, I prefer Kiev perepichka and shawarma.

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What places would you advise to our tourists to visit for good music?

Barbara Bar is my favorite bar, where you can taste delicious food and listen to music. If we speak about concert halls, I can suggest Sentrum, Bel étage, Atlas, those clubs that were created for concerts and live music.

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hat must be done to attract as many tourists as possible to Kiev?

The whole infrastructure for the development of tourism has to work. It is necessary to improve the work of Kiev’s museums, to organize a lot of events and to carry out them regularly (such as the Day of Street Music, sports marathons), to create new programs in order to show that our city is lively. The organizers of these events must be interested in tourists sincerely and not just want to earn money. Improvement of the city – roads, infrastructure — is also very important.

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enia, what would you like to wish our tourists?

I wish you would have many more good impressions than negative ones, and you will tell about these impressions and properties of our city, our country, about free and kind people, about our traditions, cuisine, and architecture, when you come back home. That there is such wonderful country, Ukraine, where people love life and wait for guests.