Almost 50 bands performed over two days at Kiev's Rock Sich festival, whose slogan was "Live sound! No to pop! Yes to the Ukrainian language".

The idea is that Ukrainian rock musicians are defending the country's music and culture from Russian pop in the way that Cossacks once defended the Ukrainian steppe from the Ottoman Turks, BBCreports.

Along with some well-known and successful bands, Rock Sich provided a platform for groups trying to make their mark in the tough world of Ukrainian show business. Their music can be described as "non-formal" - a term adopted by the music industry in former Soviet countries and better known in the West as Indie.

Hand-picked by the festival's organizer, veteran Ukrainian rocker and cultural patriot Oleg Skrypka, they had to fulfill three festival conditions: to sing professionally and live (ie - not miming); to play rock, hip-hop or anything other than pop; to sing in Ukrainian.

"Since the Orange Revolution [in 2004] Ukraine has been undergoing a cultural renaissance," believes Skrypka, who for this occasion swapped his famous Ukrainian-style embroidered shirt for a rocker's leather jacket.

"But if we don't support it, it will die away."

Ukrainian TV channels and FM radio stations choose to play generic Russian pop music, known to keep listeners happy, rather than risk experimenting.

Even 15 years after independence, the Ukrainian language remains a minority tongue in many regions of Ukraine, often spoken only in the countryside or state officials.
Evhen Kholyavkin and Andriy Mulko, bass and electro guitarists of Pink Pong group, took part in the Fest. These guys are ForUm's journalist (Andriy) and designer (Evhen). As they said, it was great honour for them to participate in the Fest and made their contribution to the development of Ukrainian rock-music and promotion of Ukrainian culture.
Pink Pong Live in Rock Sich
Evhen Holyavkin accompanies Anatoliy Roskovshenko
Andriy Mulko is delighted with the show

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