A wave that breaks the flow – interview with ’Pororoka’

Picture by Viki Shkimbova

Hello ’Pororoka’ and welcome to Dark Folk Nation! I am truly glad to feature you on our site. How are you doing?

Hello! I’m fine, thanks. And I’m also glad to join the Dark Folk Nation community. 

Tell us a bit about yourself – Where are you from? Who’s involved? How long have you been playing together?

We live and play in Kyiv, Ukraine, but came here from the east and central regions of our country. This project was started in 2017 year from an unusual decision for us, for me (Svitlanka Sugak, vocalist) and my friend Eugene Kolyada (multi-instrumentalist). We decided to take part in song’s competition devoted to one of the greatest Ukrainian poets Taras Shevchenko (he lived in the 19-th century). Shevchenko wrote a lot about common people and these poems sound for me like traditional Ukrainian folk. 
So we wrote one song and just continued to play together because it was an exciting experience. During the 2017 year we also found pianist Elizaveta Zharikova, bandurist Olena Hetmanska and Pororoka sound was completed. 

What influences do you use when writing music for ’Pororoka’?

First album was written early under emotional influences. We didn’t think about style nor did we focus on any other specific music.  Some of the songs were devoted to love, man’s fate, death and another transferred our feeling of that time – dramatic events in our country. For example ”The Crane” is about my lost friends. In Ukrainian culture this bird has a deep symbolic meaning both fun and sad.  As vocalist and lyrics’ author I can say that traditional folk had a serious influence on our work, at the same time this stuff is really subconscious. 
One more thing makes a great effect for today on Pororoka music, it is growing interest into the roots of Ukrainians beliefs, I mean pagan, our ancient history and its connection 
with Scandinavia and the East. Our new single ”Hagalaz”, which we’ve released this October, shows this definitely. During the last two years I’ve founded for myself tatar folk music and then music of Danheim, Wardruna, Heilung, charming vocals of Eivor and Tanya Tagaq. It was like a breath of fresh air and seemed to be very close. 

What about instruments?

In our debut album we used guitar, bass, piano, ukrainian bandura, okarina, djembe, different types of tambourines, shakers and three women’s voices.
And in ”Hagalaz” you can hear our igil, made by Eugene Kolyada. We took this two-stringed Tuvan instrument for the prototype. 

When it comes to songwriting do your songs have specific theme to them?

It is spontaneous action. I feel myself like some kind of battery, which accumulates, takes inside different events, views, energies and at the same time it has its own mood. When it is enough the battery switches in another direction – outside and time for writing comes. I don’t know exactly. 
Sometimes melody comes first and points out what to do. Sometimes there are specific themes, connected with events. For example, we work on a new single, inspired by a series of big fires in central and eastern regions of Ukraine this year.  But I never could write something by plan, mental goal.

You have released one single and one album on Spotify. Are you planning to release more music in the near future?

Yes. We hope to release the second EP album ”Polyn”(from Ukrainian – wormwood) with 5 tracks soon. Maybe in December.

What does your name ’Pororoka’ mean and what does it symbol to you as a band?

To be frank, it’s not Ukrainian word and phenomenon, but South America and its great Amazon River. ”Pororoca” is the name of a wave, which appears twice in a year on this River, when the Atlantic Ocean invades it. I saw it just on video and was so impressed by the power, its ability to break traditional flow. And as for the symbol… I believe that music influence is very great on man’s life and it has enough power to break those bad ”traditions”, wrong harmful things, which people got used to. 

Do you play live shows?

This year – no. One reason is an active work in the studio and another more serious – quarantine. In general we don’t exclude such an idea but only in safe conditions.
Today the situation stays difficult.   

What’s next for ’Pororoka’?

There are so many ideas, staying under the door in a chaotic queue and knocking from time to time…

Any wisdoms you’d like to share with the world?

I say to myself very often – Everything is connected.

You’ll find Pororoka’s music at:



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