This is not a story of a random Ukrainian musician that I have plucked out of the ether. I’ve been following the progress of the female DJ superstar, Marika Rossa, since 2012, before the crisis in Ukraine started. The internet brings musicians and fans together from every corner of the Earth. Marika is someone who, once you get a glimpse, you’ll never forget. Shall we say, she is colourful? With full rainbow hair and outfits that are a sort of Tokyo meets Paris in the back streets of New York City with a sewing machine from Kyiv and lots of neon. The Fresh Cut Label is one of Marika Rossa’s entrepreneurial babies, selling her custom fashion designs to the masses.
Don’t judge Marika solely from her pretty looks. If you are expecting nice light funky handbag house for girls, then look the other way. Think Berlin Techno pioneer, Sven Väth, add a few BPM and maybe a slightly darker, atmospheric sound. Marika drives the dancefloor wild and whereas she adopts the sort of new age DJ showmanship of encouraging the crowd with accompanying dancing, this lady is not a fake Paris Hilton model DJ who just looks the part and has no technique. Marika works the decks, in a skilled manner. She is young and her dynamic attitude has propelled her into one of the globe’s most successful and in demand DJs.
Marika Rossa is less known in the West, with the major dance music press outlets, such as Mixmag or DJ, failing to give her much coverage. This is, perhaps, why she has never DJed in the U.K. or America. Her touring schedule tends to revolve around gigs in Germany, Hungary, Spain, Italy and she has been out to South America too. Her social media is revolutionary and engaging. She is very proud of her hometown of Kyiv and she posts photos from the airport on her way to a weekend of gigs abroad, equally as much as posting photos of herself chilling under the duvet at home with her pet cat. She says that she loves Kyiv for its greenery: its majestic chestnuts and tall pines. Kyiv, to Marika, smells like home.
She shares Ukrainian Culture with her international audience. For example – on 19th May, Ukrainians celebrate ‘Vyshyvanka’ which translates as ‘embroidered shirt’. From ancient times the embroidered shirt was a talisman for Ukrainians from evil spirits. This is not just an outfit; this is the story of the Ukrainian soul. This holiday is recent development, started by a student initiative in 2006.
When I heard about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, I immediately thought of Marika and how it would affect her DJ career. Just before the war started, she was actually ripped off by a treacherous Spanish music agent. Then came the invasion. She was desperately doing as much as possible to bring the world’s attention to the war. Indeed, some callous ‘fans’ were criticising her coverage on social media, saying they just wanted music. Of all the cheek!
She says that the more that she can play, the more that she can help Ukraine. In March 2022, Marika relocated to Vienna in Austria, and she continues to tour hard and donates large percentages of her DJ wages to Ukrainian volunteers in the Armed Forces. She is not sitting idly by and is taking action.
Marika Rossa is an ambassador for Ukraine. Do what you can to support the war effort and book Marika for an event or buy her music or clothes. It will support a good cause and also one of the brightest DJ stars out there, an important cultural asset of Ukraine.
I wrote this article on Marika Rossa as a test article for The Economist magazine when applying for a job there as culture correspondent as seen in this LinkedIn job advert.
10.07.2023 – update on applied job postion:
Just got the u fail email back off The Economist so not so lucky – I’ll keep trying to impress someone out there with my feeble attempts at writing…
from Yvonne Ryan @ The Economist:
Thank you for your application for the Culture Correspondent role.
We received a high volume of excellent submissions and regret to say that your application was not successful this time.
We wish you every success in your career and thank you for the time put into preparing and submitting your application for the position.
With very best wishes