+
Joy

Ukranian violinist joined by 94 fellow musicians as he plays folk song from bomb shelter

Ukranian violinist joined by 94 fellow musicians as he plays folk song from bomb shelter

Violinists from around the world joined in an "international violin choir of support" for Ukraine.

As Ukraine continues to fight off Russia's military invasion, we see more and more heartbreaking images of suffering and destruction from the war. Apartment buildings where people went about their lives less than three weeks ago devastated by bombs, rubble and missiles in streets and playgrounds where families walked and children played, hoards of people fleeing with what they could carry, leaving everything they've known behind.

The loss and waste and inhumanity of it all are unfathomable, as is the case in every war.

And yet, just like in every war, we see glimpses of beauty and connection, of the very things that make us human and provide hope that we as a species are not doomed by the worst of us. We see love, we see laughter, we see compassion—and we see music.

One of the most remarkable things about humans is how we make art, no matter what. You'd think when our basic survival is immediately threatened, we wouldn't bother with creating beauty or expressing ourselves artistically, but we do. Every time. Art is not an add-on to life; it's inextricably wrapped up in life itself.


Art is also a way for us to express solidarity, especially when we feel helpless to stop inhumanity from happening. It's a way for us to say, "I see you. I am with you. I acknowledge your suffering even if I can't make it stop. Let's let this beauty remind us of what humans are capable of on the other side of violence and conquest."

That's what makes this viral video of violinists around the world playing with a Ukrainian violinist so beautiful.

In the video, Ukrainian violinist Illia Bondarenko plays a gorgeous and haunting Ukrainian folk song on his violin from a bomb shelter in Kyiv. At first, it's just him playing solo, but soon he is joined by nine other young Ukrainian violinists who are also sheltering. Then more violinists join from different countries, then more and more, all playing along in harmony.

In all, 94 violinists from 29 countries—whose flags are depicted in the corners of their screens—contribute to what British violinist and organizer Kerenza Peacock called “an international violin choir of support." They include world-class violinists from the London Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, the Hollywood studios and renowned violinists who play various styles of violin from Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Georgia, Poland, South Korea, South Africa, Moldova, Denmark, India, Germany, the U.S. and more.

Watch and listen:

According to Classic FM, Bondarenko had to record his part between bombings so he could hear himself play. That detail alone is just heartwrenching. But musicians play wherever they are, whatever is happening.

Bondarenko had shared a video on Instagram on February 25, the day after Russia invaded, explaining what was happening and how the international music world had already been lending its support. He wrote:

"Today, when my whole country is fighting for its freedom, for its territory, for the right to BE..., I cannot keep silent, but I cannot make a video and record for you right now on the Internet because I spent almost all night with my grandmother in the basement of the house, helping the elderly neighbors, helping in any way I could. My parents are in another city now. But we musicians are always there for our people in sorrow and joy! That's how my soul, my country, my Kyiv sounds today. Thank you to everyone who writes to me and supports me! From Germany, America, France, Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, Poland, Japan, Turkey, Austria and other countries. I am convinced once again that music is the most understandable language in the world for all people! Glory to Ukraine!"

Violinist Kerenza Peacock, who organized the collaboration—and pulled it together in 48 hours—shared what made this collaboration so moving: "Never before have violinists gathered together from so many countries. Or collaborated across so many different styles of violin playing. Violinists are a fellowship who all have rosin and broken E strings in common, but sadly some are currently having to think about how to arm themselves, and hiding in bomb shelters instead of playing Beethoven or bluegrass. Some more Ukrainians wanted to take part, but now have guns in their hands instead of violins."

Here's to those who insist on the beauty and humanity of creative expression even in the face of inhumane atrocities, reminding us of who we are and what we are capable of when we focus our energies on creation instead of destruction.

The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

A woman treats her miniature pig like a toddler and it even 'talks' with electronic buttons

Merlin will tap buttons that say “eat,” “outside” and “ice cream.”

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

A woman treats her pig like a toddler and the internet can't get enough.

Pigs are cute. Well, piglets are cute, but they usually don't stay those tiny little snorting things very long. That is unless you get a mini pig and name it something majestic like Merlin. (I would've gone with Hamlet McBacon, but no one asked me.)

Mina Alali, a TikTok user from California, has been going viral on the internet for her relationship with Merlin, her miniature pig. Of course, there are plenty of folks out there with pigs—mini pigs, medium pigs, pigs that weigh hundreds of pounds and live in a barn with a spider named Charlotte. But not everyone carries their pig around on adventures like it's their child.

Alali's videos of her sweet interactions with her little pig have gotten a lot of people wanting their own piggy, but training Merlin wasn't always easy. According to Yahoo Finance, the 25-year-old told SWNS that she has wanted a pig her whole life and finding Merlin was a "dream come true," but she wasn't expecting how challenging it would be to train him. If you've never been around pigs, then you may not know that they squeal—a lot—and unless you're living on an actual farm, that could be a problem.

Keep ReadingShow less

Women are looking for love at Home Depot.

Even though people have endless options to find love these days, whether in real life or online, finding the perfect person still isn’t easy. In fact, according to Pew Research, 55% of women believe dating is harder today than it was 10 years ago. So it’s understandable that some are considering ditching the apps to meet people in real life.

Studies show that for people looking for a serious relationship, real life may be the better option.

According to Newsweek, a study by Illinois State University sociology professor Susan Sprecher found that young people who first met face to face were 25% more likely to report feelings of closeness than those who initially met online. Aditi Paul, a communications professor at Pace University in New York, found that people who first met in real life lasted four times longer than those who met online.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

More than seven thousand people shared their best ideas to stop mass shootings. Here are the best.

Everyone agrees mass shootings need to end. But what can really be done?

A makeshift memorial after the 2019 El Paso mass shooting.

As of January 24, 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in 39 mass shootings across the United States . The deadliest shooting happened on January 21 in Monterey Park, California, when a 72-year-old man shot 20 people, killing 11. On January 23, a 66-year-old man killed 7 people and injured another in a shooting in Half Moon Bay, California.

It’s hard to see these stories in the news every few weeks—or days—and not get desensitized, especially when lawmakers have made it clear that they will not do anything substantive to curb the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.

After the assault weapons ban, which had been in effect for 10 years, lapsed in 2004, the number of mass shootings tripled.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

People rally behind a 12-year-old actress who was 'humiliated' with a 'Razzie' nomination

The parody awards show has now enforced an age limit rule to its nominations.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong in the 2022 film 'Firestarter'

Since the early 80s, the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the "Razzies," has offered a lighthearted alternative to the Oscars, which, though prestigious, can sometimes dip into the pretentious. During the parody ceremony, trophies are awarded to the year’s worst films and performances as a way to "own your bad," so the motto goes.

However, this year people found the Razzies a little more than harmless fun when 12-year-old actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong was nominated for "Worst Actress" for her performance in the 2022 film "Firestarter." She was 11 when the movie was filmed.

Sadly, this is not the first time a child has received a Razzie nom. Armstrong joins the ranks of Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," as well as Macaulay Culkin, who was nominated three times.

Armstrong's nomination resulted in a flood of comments from both industry professionals and fans who felt the action was cruel and wanted to show their support for the young actress.

Keep ReadingShow less

Surrendered mama dog reunited with puppies after she refused to leave the corner.

People surrender animals to Humane Societies for all kinds of reasons, but many do it because they don't feel like they can properly care for their animals anymore. It could be that they have to move to a home that doesn't allow pets or they lost a job, making caring for an animal difficult.

Two small dogs were surrendered to Marin Humane Society in Novato, California and the female had recently given birth to puppies. It's not clear if the previous owners felt like they couldn't care for both the older dogs and the puppies so they just kept the puppies, or if something else prompted the drop-off.

Either way, this mama dog was in distress after being left at the shelter without her babies. She refused to leave the corner of the large kennel and just looked so sad. The employees felt for the sweet mama dog and decided to do some detective work to see if they could figure out where the puppies were located.

Keep ReadingShow less