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Zheka Koshmar: A Long Way Home

March 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Zheka “Koshmar” Varva (born in 1967, in Kharkiv, Ukraine) is a founder and front man of Ky-Ky (Cuckoo) band, created in 1987, named after Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest — one of the most provocative and original underground collectives to have emerged during the last decade of the Soviet Union.

Please join him in conversation with Mike (Misha) Danilin, talking about his over 30 years long’ quest – both in time and space – in search of identity and performance. The journey begins in Soviet Kharkiv at the end of the 80s, then moves on to New York to where Koshmar immigrated in the early 90s having witnessed the USSR collapse in 1991. It continues in Kharkiv of the early 2010s to where he returned to witness the formation of the Ukrainian nation-state in the works, followed by the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the Russian-sponsored separatist war in the Donbas region shortly after (2014). In 2022, Koshmar escaped to Albania from Kharkiv with his family after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.

Sometimes soaking with irony and sometimes verging on tragic, Koshmar’s songs always tend to capture the attention of the audience: they are created not only to entertain but to make one think and empathize. Once upon a time these songs, along with the rest of contemporary Soviet / Russian rock, led to the USSR’s collapse, to follow the popular cliche. Nowadays, they sound surprisingly fresh again in the light of currently ongoing war.

As many Ukrainian musicians who were born and developed as artists during the Soviet era, Koshmar writes and performs his songs in Russian. Nevertheless, he is an active supporter of Ukraine’s independence in its war against the brutal Russian invasion. Koshmar stays in constant contact with many well-known and influential musicians from Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and other parts of the globe who share the same vision and values of a peaceful and just world.

Russian TV show “Programma A”, 1991:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDz6ATJhFPI

Recent live videos:

This event will take place in person and on Zoom. Both our in person and Zoom format will be fully open to the public. Watch the Zoom meeting here. Non-NYU affiliates must RSVP.


March 24
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm