Musician Turned Soldier
A former musician turned soldier, serving in a mechanized brigade. The war in Donbas has drawn people of all professions, including those who dreamt of making a career in music
Instead of a microphone, he carries a Kalashnikov assault rifle, urban clothing was replaced by camouflage, and instead of on a stage, he is in the trenches near occupied Donetsk. Only the call sign on the vest – Mr. Kanz – is the same as the nickname he used while performing.
“When you come here, you understand that you can divide your life into parts before and after. You go 20 kilometers in that direction and that’s it, life is different there. They have different rules and values. I understood that here money has no value. It is important to eat, sleep and have trustworthy friends who can support you, morally first and foremost,” Ivan said.
In 2016, the rising Ukrainian rap star got married. And a year later he was drafted. Half a year later he signed a contract with the military. We met when he was deployed to the frontlines for the first time.
“Five days after deployment I understood I was doing something pointless before. You have to defend while you are still young and strong. I have a daughter now. And when my daughter will be 10 years old she will ask ‘Dad, have you been there?’ and I will say ‘yes.’ I was not somewhere pushing papers, I was here. This is how you know a real man,” the soldier said.
He remembers the poetry he wrote before the war.
His repertoire has no songs about the war, but Ivan says that he’ll write them.
“It has to be written in a way that every person who was there, who is there, who will be here and who will never come to the frontlines, all of them, could understand how it feels,” the soldier said.
There are enough topics for songs on the frontlines, but not enough time. Military service has a strict routine and the opposition often reminds soldiers of their presence with occasional shellings.