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Written By Chris

When Russia invaded, the lead singer of one in every of Ukraine’s largest pop-rock bands swapped his mic for fatigues and headed to the entrance strains as a battlefield medic.

Singer Taras Topolia has now taken on a further position, becoming a member of forces with pop star Ed Sheeran to boost aid funds for Ukraine.

Mr. Sheeran and Mr. Topolia’s band Antytila this week launched a video remake of Mr. Sheeran’s 2021 hit “2Step,” that includes Mr. Topolia rapping about his private expertise within the struggle.

“The sirens interrupted our sleep,” Mr. Topolia sings in Ukrainian. “Grabbed in two suitcases the whole lot that’s the previous, then go! Go!”

“My mates and I grew to become troopers and joined the Territorial Protection Forces the primary day of the struggle,” Mr. Topolia, 34 years previous, stated by video chat from outdoors Kharkiv, the place his one hundred and thirtieth Battalion is now stationed. “Ukraine will get victory.”

The music video was recorded in cities the place the battle has raged–Irpin, Kharkiv and in a Kyiv theater named after famed Ukrainian author Lesia Ukrainka.

Mr. Topolia’s portion was recorded on the highway between battle positions of his battalion in northeast Ukraine, he stated, partially utilizing a GoPro.

“The positions are at all times beneath hearth,” he stated. “It is vitally harmful if you happen to cease for greater than 10 minutes there as a result of Russian drones and snipers are at work.”

For the sound recording, Mr. Topolia stated his Kyiv studio was inaccessible as Russia started attacking the capital on Feb. 24, however the band discovered a studio in close by Hostomel. He stated the crew got here beneath Russian hearth after they have been taking pictures components of the video in Kharkiv.

Mr. Sheeran, who wasn’t obtainable for remark, had filmed the unique “2Step” video in Kyiv earlier than the struggle started. In that video model, Mr. Sheeran posted a be aware that claims, “I stand with Ukraine.”

The collaboration with Mr. Sheeran started after Antytila provided to play this 12 months at a Ukraine profit live performance in Birmingham, U.Okay., the place Mr. Sheeran was additionally performing. The live performance organizers rejected Antytila’s supply on account of their member’s hyperlinks with Ukraine’s army, Mr. Topolia stated.

However later, Mr. Sheeran’s representatives contacted him to suggest a collaboration.

The video has garnered greater than 10 million streams because it went stay on Monday, based on a consultant of Mr. Topolia. Funds raised from Youtube video royalties might be despatched to Music Saves UA, a music commerce group in Ukraine that has refocused its efforts to assist refugees through the struggle, based on an announcement from Mr. Sheeran. Music Saves couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

Mr. Topolia stated he grew to become a medic within the present battle after working in that position throughout Russia’s 2014 invasion in Ukraine’s Donbas area. He stated he has aided many wounded troopers within the present battle and ready them for potential chemical assault in the usage of gasoline masks and medicinal antidotes akin to atropine.

In Ukraine, Antytila attracts stadium crowds with hundreds of individuals. When on tour in different European international locations and within the U.S., the crowds are way more modest. The band, for instance, performed in New York on the 450-person capability Reducing Room in 2018.

Had been Messrs. Sheeran and Topolia recognized to one another earlier than the battle? “I knew of him, after all; his songs are very well-known in Ukraine. However I don’t suppose he knew who I used to be.”

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