Table of Contents
A Tale of Resilience: Leonid & Friends and the Ukrainian Crisis
Vocalist Serge Tiagnyriadno, a member of the extraordinary Russian-Ukrainian band Leonid & Friends, is facing a challenging time as violence erupts in his homeland. While the band prepares for their upcoming tour in the United States, Tiagnyriadno’s family is seeking refuge across the Ukrainian border in Poland. Remaining in Kyiv amidst the chaos, Tiagnyriadno describes the situation as apocalyptic, with no end in sight.
Tiagnyriadno, age 40, adheres to his country’s martial law regulations, which require all men between 18 and 60 to stay in Ukraine in case of military conscription. He is prepared to serve if called upon while taking care of his elderly parents, assisting Ukrainian neighbors as a volunteer, and sharing the grim realities of war on social media. From his window, he witnesses the intense shelling by Russian forces.
The band, which gained online fame and solidified their reputation with in-person performances, is hopeful about launching their tour. Gil Jacobs, the band’s agent, stated that they are closely monitoring the situation and the tour is currently proceeding as planned. In support of Tiagnyriadno and his family, a GoFundMe page has been set up and is being promoted by the band. As of Thursday afternoon, the page has raised over $28,000.
The International Phenomenon: Leonid & Friends and Chicago
Leonid & Friends, founded by Moscow-based musician Leonid Vorobyev in 2014, is a truly remarkable international band. Originating from Eastern Europe, this group of Russians and one Ukrainian has captivated audiences worldwide. Even members of the band they pay tribute to, Chicago, are fans of their work.
It all began when Vorobyev recorded a cover version of Chicago’s 1975 hit, “Brand New Love Affair (Parts I & II),” as a gift on his 60th birthday. The video of the song quickly went viral, leading the band to record more Chicago tunes. Their performances were so outstanding and unique that their online following grew exponentially.
Notably, the original drummer of Chicago, Danny Seraphine, reached out early on to express his appreciation for their recordings and videos. Chicago itself showcased Leonid & Friends’ performances on their official website, considering imitation the sincerest form of flattery.
However, Leonid & Friends’ renditions are much more than mere imitations. The band flawlessly recreates the iconic Chicago sound, showcasing exceptional musicianship and perfect timing. Their own showmanship and unparalleled energy add an exciting twist to the original act’s music. Fans describe their performances as Chicago “plus,” with the musicians’ infectious joy evident on stage.
Tiagnyriadno’s vocals evoke echoes of Chicago’s original lead singer, Peter Cetera, while maintaining his own distinctive style. This is true for the entire band, whose enthusiasm is boundless. Surprisingly, none of the band members had ever seen Chicago perform live. Chicago never toured Russia during their decades-long career, and Leonid & Friends only arrived in the United States a few years ago.
From Studio Project to Live Shows: The Journey of Leonid & Friends
In 2017, Leonid & Friends released their debut album, “Chicagovich: To 50th Anniversary of the band Chicago.” The following year, they released “Chicagovich II.” Tiagnyriadno joined the band in 2015 when they were just a studio project. As demand for live performances grew, they started playing monthly gigs, with Tiagnyriadno recording his vocals remotely from Ukraine while the other band members resided in or near Moscow.
Finally, in 2019, Leonid & Friends embarked on their first U.S. tour, captivating audiences with three sold-out shows in Los Angeles. The original drummer of Chicago, Danny Seraphine, even performed with them, and founding member Robert Lamm visited them during a soundcheck. The bandmates were eager for more success, so they planned some well-deserved time off. However, Tiagnyriadno, after returning to Ukraine to spend time with his family in Kyiv, found himself caught in the midst of dire circumstances.
On February 24, his family woke up to air raid sirens and countless explosions. Tiagnyriadno swiftly escorted his wife and children to the Ukrainian-Polish border before returning to Kyiv. The initial days of the bombardments saw empty store shelves, long queues outside supermarkets, and a desperate exodus of people from the city.
Despite the challenges, Tiagnyriadno remains resolute. He is determined to fight for his city and has been doing his utmost to raise awareness of the war among his fans. Communication with the band in Russia is limited and cautious due to intense propaganda and pressure to support the invasion. However, Tiagnyriadno believes it is crucial to spread the truth and advocate for an end to the conflict.
The Power of Music and a Plea for Peace
While the Ukrainian crisis unfolds, Tiagnyriadno continues to rely on the support of his fans. However, he expresses concern about the prevailing propaganda in Russia, which distorts the reality of the situation in Ukraine. Many Russians believe their army is liberating the mythical Russian population in Ukraine, as the Kremlin claims.
Tiagnyriadno acknowledges that some Russians sympathize with the Ukrainians, but they represent only a fraction. He finds it challenging to justify their lack of action in support of Ukraine, given the devastating impact on innocent lives. However, he remains focused on spreading awareness and advocating for peace.
For Tiagnyriadno, the fight to end the war is personal. He firmly believes in defending every inch of Ukrainian territory and stopping the violence. As the band navigates through uncertain times, their determination to bring joy through music remains unshaken.
[E-E-A-T]: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, Experience
[YMYL]: Your Money or Your Life