Go_A is making a modern reinterpretation of Ukrainian folklore packaged in electronic sound. The name of the band consists of “Go” as “movement” and “A” as an ancient Greek letter “alpha”, symbolizing cultural roots and the beginning of everything. And their music centers around just that: the beginning, retelling traditional Ukrainian stories that have been passed down through generations. The group’s singer Kateryna even uses the ancient Eastern European folklore technique of white voice, which is based on an open throat and free volume.
The story of the band started in 2012 when the sound producer Taras Shevchenko met the ethnic singer Kateryna Pavlenko. Having experimented with Ukrainian folk songs, they realized that folklore and electronic music are a perfect match, thus creating a consummate combination of emotion and energy.
In December that year, the first song “Koliada” («Коляда») was released. First, they wanted to write a song together as an experiment, but after seeing that it worked, the band has worked together since.
The band first gained attention after the release of the single “Vesnianka” («Веснянка»), which won the National competition The Best Track in Ukraine 2015. For six weeks, the song was number one on the 10Dance chart of the Kiss FM radio station in Ukraine and was awarded Discovery of the Year by the radio station.
In the fall of 2016, the debut album “Idy na zvuk” («Іди на звук» — Follow the tune) was released, featuring 10 songs (including “Vesnianka”). In early 2017 they released a Christmas single “Shchedryi vechir” («Щедрий вечір») in collaboration with Katya Chilly.
WAR IN UKRAINE
On February 24, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. In the first days of the war, all band members were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in safer places.
Now we feel the strength to return to concert activities because by doing so we are able to raise funds to help Ukraine and do not let people around the world forget that the war is still going on here. Even the fact that we raise the Ukrainian flag on stage during a performance in another country is already an important manifesto. We believe that our concerts draw attention to our unique Ukrainian culture. We are doing everything to debunk the myth that Ukraine is part of Russia. Ukraine is an original country with its own history, its own language and its own sovereign territory. So it has always been, so it is and so it will be, despite the narratives that Russian propaganda has been trying to promote throughout its history.
Ihor Didenchuk is a folklorist and unique multi-instrumentalist whose rich musical arsenal includes such traditional Ukrainian instruments as sopilka, frilka, floyara, telynka, trembita and drymba.
Ivan Hryhoriak was raised in the Carpathians. He has been playing the guitar since 12. Ivan has been experimenting with musical styles and sounds, including acoustics (finger style), prog metal (bass guitar), double bass in a folk orchestra, and electric guitar.
Kateryna Pavlenko leads the ethnic component of the band. She has studied folklore most of her life. Kateryna can sing with the so-called "white voice", an authentic folklore singing technique, and has a command of extreme vocals. Kateryna was an ethnic vocal coach for arts students. She writes songs and music for Go_A and her solo project.
Taras Shevchenko is a keyboards/percussion player and the sound producer of Go_A. He works in various music styles and knows how to combine completely different elements in music, like the Ukrainian sopilka, heavy guitar riffs and techno. Taras writes music for Go_A.
In early 2020, it was announced that Go_A was among the 16 acts participating in the Ukrainian national selection for Eurovision 2020 with the song “Solovey”. On February 22nd, they won with the highest score both from the public and the jury voting in the grand final. Hence, they were set to represent Ukraine in the Contest in May. However, on March 18th, 2020, the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the same day, UA:PBC announced that the band would represent the country in 2021. On 4 February 2021, it was announced that Go_A would be performing in Rotterdam with the song “SHUM”. At the Eurovision final, “SHUM” brought Go_A the 5th place according to the overall results and the 2nd place according to the televoting. It is the first time in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest that Ukraine has submitted a song entirely in the Ukrainian language.
What our "Shum" is actually about
The inspiration came from the original Ukrainian folk song and dance. Our ancestors used them to wake up the spirit of the forest and spring. The title of the song “SHUM” is a game of words. In Ukrainian mythology, “Shum” is the spirit of the forest but its literal translation is “noise”. So they are making noise to bring “shum”.
“SHUM” is a song about the evocation of life but, for us, in the 21st century and in times of a pandemic, it was more about the evocation of people from everyday’s problems. It’s about looking around and thinking about what we’ve done to our world, how we can improve it and pass it on to our children.
What came after
Since taking fifth place at Eurovision, Ukrainian electro-folk band Go_A has remained in the top of Google searches that year. “SHUM” became a worldwide trend in Spotify hitting the top of most European charts, became #2 in Spotify VIral USA & #1 in Spotify Viral Worldwide. “SHUM” also became the 1st Ukrainian song ever to hit the Billboard Top 200 chart.
At the end of the 2021, GO_A won the Eurovision Awards in the category of “Most Innovative Stage Production” and won the Vision Music Awards hosted by Wiwibloggs in two nominations: “Most Memorable Staging” and “Best Use of Props”!
Also according to the Eurovision Song Contest Radio Go_A’s “SHUM” is among the best top three in the history of the song contest. Also their song “Solovey” is in 128th place among the best songs of Eurovision. For the first time in history, two Ukrainian-language songs were included in this chart at once.
Go_A has played concerts and performances, has taken part in numerous international festivals and presented Ukrainian music worldwide.