“It’s unbearable for me, like booster shots,” testifies Sylvie Vartan

“Frankly, seeing the images of everything that is happening in Ukraine until today, I was overwhelmed”testified on Thursday 12 May on franceinfo Sylvie Vartan. “It’s like booster shots.” Sylvie Vartan has recorded a five track album including: The Maritzawhich the singer revisited and the profits of which will be donated to Unicef ​​for the benefit of Ukraine.

Sylvie Vartan says to herself “upset” because of what the Ukrainian people are going through. “I can completely put myself in the shoes of these children.” She admits to reliving her departure from Bulgaria. “We have not fled the war, we have fled a brutal dictatorship”Lake “it was the same principles that were applied”† With this album, which can be downloaded from Friday and May 27 in physical form, Sylvie Vartan hopes “to collect and hit the hearts of the greatest number”.

franceinfo: The Maritza is the river of your youth in Bulgaria. These images of this terrible war in Ukraine resonated strongly with you. That’s what you say in this song. For what reasons?

Sylvie Vartan: This version that I chose to put on this disc is very special. Because, of course, I added this text that relates to what is happening in Ukraine, but also in other countries at other times. I experienced almost the same despair when I realized that I would never see my loved ones again. We left them on a platform, running after a train that went far away, but towards freedom. So it was very violent and very mixed feelings of happiness. Because the train was heading for freedom, in this case France. And at the same time, there was the desperation of leaving everyone we adored on a platform. It’s terribly heartbreaking. And it is true that frankly I was overwhelmed when I constantly looked at the images of everything that is happening in Ukraine to this day. It was unbearable for me, like booster shots. Not that I’ve forgotten what I’ve been through. I’ve never forgotten it. It’s like a wound that’s open forever. But it still brings tears to my eyes. It’s something that still upsets me so much.

You were eight years old when you fled Bulgaria to reach France and Paris. Can you imagine the trauma of these children who fled the war in Ukraine, sometimes even without their parents?

But yeah, it’s horrible, frankly it’s horrible. I can completely put myself in the shoes of these children. It’s unbearable for me. Because I know how scared I was, how scared I was, how alert my parents were. Of course that has nothing to do with it. It is worse for those children who constantly hear bombs and for some who are separated from their parents. But what a fright! There could be no greater horror to see this country completely destroyed, completely destroyed, and those lives shattered forever. We have not fled the war, we have fled a brutal dictatorship. It was the same principles that were applied, the same parades, the same people who disappeared for no reason. We didn’t know where they were. All because they did not put the portrait of Stalin on their balcony. Unfortunately, all of this stems from the same way of thinking, being and acting. But I couldn’t imagine, and I don’t think anyone in the world can imagine, that history could repeat itself like that.

Does the resistance of the Ukrainian people impress you?

It’s really unbelievable. It reconciles itself in some way with the human race, a certain human race. Because these people who have lost everything, who have packed a bag, nothing but the minimum, who hold their children by the hand, who run, who walk non-stop without knowing where they are going, that commands admiration. I think these people, for years and decades, will go down in history. I hope we will learn. But do we learn? Because the proof is that at the end of the day, everything starts all over again in an even more terrible way.

What comfort could these Ukrainian people have?

I think what also gives them courage is to know that maybe the world is behind them. Most of the world is behind them. And today, thanks to social networks, we still manage to know where the truth is, despite everything. And we must try to help, to relieve. But can we do anything when we get so heartbroken and we see children who are lost all alone, walking? We said to them, go straight, you will find the light. It’s hopeless. It’s terrible.

A final word on the choice of these songs. It’s clearly not random. Can you tell us what determined your choice?

During my career, I had the opportunity to express my feelings through my songs. Everything that is true and that touches you in an authentic way, physically, emotionally, has a greater resonance. Is it true that The Maritza set the tone for many authors to write me songs about courage, hope. This encouraged me to choose these songs. Then, with regard to Odessa, it really felt like she was prescient. It’s a Jay Alanski song, necessarily inspired by the theme of The Maritza† I first sang it in 1998, 30 years later The Maritza, it’s crazy. And then Odessa, it is also the symbol of a woman who leaves her husband on the quay. It is also the symbol of heartbreak, escape and the need for freedom. So those were standout numbers for this project. And I’m happy that UNICEF won, because thanks to them, maybe more influence will come. And we will manage to collect and hit the hearts of the greatest number.

Listen to the full interview with Sylvie Vartan here


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