Valentyna Levchenko

Musician, traditional music researcher

ResidencyGalleria Continua Les Moulins, France

Hosting periodAutumn 2022

Valentyna Levchenko is a Ukrainian musician, singer, improviser, composer, community leader and organiser of music camps and ethnography expeditions in Ukrainian villages. 

Levchenko has roots in Eastern Ukraine and has evolved as a musician in different countries and cultures. She was born in the Soviet Union, behind the iron curtain, grew up in the post-Soviet period of economic depression and built a successful business career, which she left to follow her dream of being a musician, in independent modern Ukraine. She studied under the patronage of Rhiannon and Bobby McFerryn and explored different musical techniques in the United States, Canada and Brazil.

In her work, Levchenko is tracing the roots of traditional music from the Balkans and Ukraine. 

In 2019, her musical journey brought her to Brazil, where she created the project “Zitkani” and released her first album, “Berehy” – Ukrainian folk music combined with Brazilian and African instruments and rhythms. The same year, the album became one of the top 10 Indie albums of the year in Ukraine.

Over the last two years, she has started exploring different teaching methods and improvisation in performances, which has helped her build a strong singing community. Levchenko created the Kyiv Community Choir and became a TEDx Kyiv Speaker. She put her spin on organising music camps within authentic Ukrainian places to help non-professional singers learn to overcome the fear of singing and accept their own culture.