Polish rockers Chemia suspend band activities to help Ukrainian refugees
Polish rock band Chemia have hailed their Ukrainian neighbors’ “fight for freedom” after they halted the promotional campaign for their new album to help with the humanitarian effort.
Guitarist and founder Wojtek “W” Balczun said the band helped coordinate support for refugees arriving across the border, as well as sending buses full of food to Ukraine.
The Warsaw-based outfit also performed a new version of their song Hero with Ukrainian lyrics at concerts, and the track received widespread radio airplay in the country.
More than three million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion, and many have crossed the Polish border.
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Chemia, who formed in 2010, have played alongside artists such as Guns N’ Roses, Bring Me The Horizon and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and also share close ties with a number of Ukrainian rock bands.
Balczun told the PA news agency: “We know a lot of different bands. We played with one of the most popular bands in Ukraine, Antytila, and we did a stadium tour in Ukraine a while ago. two years.
“This year we had planned to play another big tour with Boomboks, another very popular Ukrainian band.
“But all of these musicians, all of the band members, are now involved in the war. They are in the army and they are fighting for freedom.
“We can only say that our hearts are with them. We do our best to support them and we strongly believe that we can play together in Ukraine, Poland and other countries around the world.
Balczun described the reaction of the Polish public to the influx of refugees as “absolutely fantastic”.
He added: “It’s a huge motivation for us too, to be strong, to keep our position, because the whole free world is united now.
“It also includes artists who understand the risk and understand what Russia is doing against the free world.
“It’s not against Ukraine, it’s against everyone free.”
Chemia’s Wojtek ‘W’ Balczun and Lukasz Drapala perform a song for Ukraine at the Silesian Stadium in Poland (Chemia/PA Band Handout)
Poland is said to have taken in more than 1.8 million refugees since the start of the Russian invasion.
Balczun said he did not operate in a refugee camp but in large parts of the country, with Warsaw as his base.
“Frankly, the whole of Poland is now a center of refugees,” he told PA.
“These are not special camps dedicated to organizing services for refugees.
“I think Polish society is a big surprise because when there is a peaceful situation, we are more or less divided from the political to the mental.
“But now that we feel that risk just around the corner, we are so united.
“It’s a great story that the whole society decided to support the refugees without any support from the government (in the beginning).”
Part of the proceeds from their upcoming album Something To Believe In will go to the Polish-Ukrainian Institute for Relief and Development.
Slated for an April 29 release, the album was produced by Duran Duran star Andy Taylor, who also worked on the lyrics.