"Thecollective": a new sound of Uzhhorod's musical life from foreign students
“Thecollective” is a young, driving, musical band that finds its admirers among residents of Uzhhorod. It is not the first time that foreign students of Uzhhorod National University present themselves as talented creative personalities. The founder of the band is Gabriel Anaman, who is also a rapper and has shot music videos for his works, which have more than 100,000 views on YouTube. We have talked to Gabrial about the new music project, his path in music, life and study in Ukraine.
Could you please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What are you studying now?
I came to Ukraine from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. I am 25 years old now. I graduated from the Medical Faculty of Uzhhorod National University in July 2019 and I am currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in psychiatry.
When did you take up music for the first time? When did you come up with the idea of creating your own band?
I have been doing music since I was 14 years old. At first I learned to play the bass guitar, then became interested in other instruments and mastered the basics of music. I paid special attention to vocals and piano playing. At the same time, I played the synthesizer and the bass guitar in church. Later, in Ukraine, I started performing rap music, I wrote my first songs in Uzhhorod and also recorded two music videos, which we posted on YouTube. However, apart from rap, I have always dreamed of performing live instrumental music in combination with vocals. This idea prompted me to create my own band. I gathered like-minded people and foreign students who were interested in music and dancing. We organized a concert in Teatralna square on October 12, 2019. It was an amazing, incredible feeling - there were a lot of people in the square who liked what we were doing. We consider this day to be the day of the founding of our band "Thecollective".
So, “Thecollective” also includes other foreign students. Please tell us more about your colleagues.
There are, in fact, six of us. However, the core members of the band are four people. These are two vocalists, Kathy (a 6th year medical student from Zambia), who plays the acoustic guitar, and Nicholas (a 3rd year medical student from Kenya), who plays the acoustic guitar and the synthesizer. Our drummer’s name is Enoch (a 4th year medical student from Nigeria). And I play mostly the bass guitar, the piano, or perform rap (depending on the song and the theme of the concert). There are two other people who do not always perform with us. This is our leading guitarist David (a 2nd year medical student from Nigeria), he also plays the bass guitar and the piano, and Detol, our pianist (a 4th year medical student from Nigeria), who also sometimes sings.
What kind of songs are there in your repertoire? Are these original songs, or do you mostly perform covers?
We perform both. There are our original songs we love to perform. However, at concerts or weddings, where people just want to feel comfortable and listen to good music, we also perform covers (including several Ukrainian songs), because the audience wants to hear something well known.
Where can people watch and listen to your performances?
We had our concerts in February and March at the Connections Café. After that, many of our plans had to be postponed until better times due to the situation with Covid-19 and quarantine measures. Recently, we were lucky enough to perform twice in the Panorama lounge bar. We post the information about all the planned performances on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Do you like living in Ukraine, and in Uzhhorod in particular? What can you say about studying at Uzhhorod National University? Are you planning to stay here after graduation?
I definitely have no right to complain. I’ve lived in Ukraine for 8 years and had great opportunities here and the right to speak freely. I'm used to the city and I feel almost at home here. However, it is obvious that I miss my family. As for the university, I think that Uzhhorod National University is one of the best universities for foreigners in Ukraine. I can say this with confidence, because I have lived here a lot and have some ideas and information about other universities. Of course, the situation with Covid-19 is not easy, online classes for medical students are not enough, but I think that the university is doing everything possible in these circumstances. I do not know yet whether I will stay in Ukraine, it all depends on the prospects. But in any case, Uzhhorod is a good place to live in.
And finally, what will you choose in the future - music or medicine?
I hope God will help me to do both and I will not have to give up any of the two, because both spheres are close to my heart.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all students and teachers, staff of Uzhhorod National University, Uzhhorod and Ukraine on Christmas and New Year 2021 and wish peace, happiness and prosperity!