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09 Oct. 2023

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Nina Matvienko Dies: Biography of a Great Artist and Cultural Ambassador of Ukraine

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Culture
Ukraine
Nina Matvienko Dies: Biography of a Great Artist and Cultural Ambassador of Ukraine

One of the brightest stars on Ukraine's artistic horizon was the outstanding singer and performer Nina Matvienko. Her contribution to Ukrainian culture and music is invaluable, as Matvienko's talent has always brought joy and inspiration to people not only in Ukraine but all over the world. Sadly, the People's Artist died just two days short of her 76th birthday

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Nina Matvienko became famous for her incredible voice and talented performance of Ukrainian folk songs. She was called the "Ukrainian nightingale". Nina Matvienko's singing experience spans more than 50 years, and her repertoire includes hundreds of songs in Ukrainian only. On October 8, 2023, it became known that the People's Artist and legendary singer died. We are going to tell you about the life and work of the great artist.


Nina Matvienko's childhood


Nina Matvienko was born in the village of Nedilyshche, Zhytomyr region, on October 10, 1947. The future singer's parents could barely make ends meet, so her mother sent her 11-year-old daughter to a boarding school to somehow ease the situation. 


At school, the future star was involved in athletics, playing basketball and volleyball. On vacations, Nina would return to her family, where she helped run the household and raise her brothers and sisters. 


It was only 20 years after her mother's death that the singer learned that she was actually from a noble family and was the heiress of Princess Olga. Nina recalls that her mother had a beautiful voice, and this earned her love for folk songs.


Start of her career and creative path


One of her teachers at school noticed the future star's talent and suggested that she try her hand at the Veriovka Ukrainian Folk Choir. After graduating from the boarding school, young Nina sewed a coat with her first salary at the Khimmash plant and went to Kyiv to try out for the Veriovka Folk Choir, where she was accepted. This was the beginning of her musical career in 1968.


Nina Matvienko not only sang folk and original songs, but also acted and appeared in films and TV shows. Matvienko played in a large number of TV shows, such as Marusya Churai, Kateryna Bilokur, feature films The Missing Letter, Straw Bells, and radio plays Flight of the Arrow and Clarinets of Tenderness. 


Matvienko's voice became popular not only in her homeland but also in numerous countries around the world, from Europe to Latin America.


However, during 1969-1986 in the Soviet Union, she was not allowed to travel abroad due to the authorities' caution and accusations of Ukrainian nationalism due to the lack of russian songs in her repertoire. 


For her achievements, she received numerous awards and orders, including the Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Order of Princess Olga, III and II degrees, and was named Hero of Ukraine in 2006.


Over the course of her 57-year career, the singer has recorded many songs. Some of them, such as "Flower-Soul," have become true symbols of Ukrainian culture.


Even at the age of 75, Nina Matvienko actively continued to develop her career, appearing on television and performing as a soloist in the Kyiv Camerata chamber orchestra for 21 years.


Personal life of the singer


Life gave the artist not only a creative career, but also a marriage. In 1971, Matvienko married the artist Petro Honchar. 


During their married life, the couple had three children: sons Ivan, who now serves as a hierodeacon, and Andrii, who became an artist, and daughter Tonya, who followed in her mother's footsteps and became a singer.




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Nina Matvienko - interesting facts


Nina Matvienko's long life was marked by a number of interesting events and achievements.


Nina turned out to be a talented singer who is also known for her acting career in theater and film. She starred in films such as Straw Bells and The Missing Letter, played in the TV show Marusya Churai and the radio show Forest Song, and performed at the American La Mama Theater in New York.


Among other things, Nina also directed the musical performance "Under the Sun", which featured Japanese dancer Tadashi Endo. 


She has actively collaborated with contemporary Ukrainian bands and singers such as TNMK and Monatic.


As for her appearance, fans have always admired her young look. Nina Matvienko always looked younger than her age. She believed that the secret of her youth was her refusal to eat meat and alcohol, as well as her love for Ukrainian borscht. The artist also paid attention to her long hair and took care of it.


Contribution to Ukrainian art


One of Nina Matvienko's main achievements is her work in popularizing Ukrainian music and culture internationally. She has performed on the stages of major concert halls, festivals and gala concerts in numerous countries around the world. Her vocal interpretations of Ukrainian folk songs as well as modern hits have always impressed and left an unforgettable impression.


Nina has performed not only in Ukraine but also in Canada, Poland, France and many other countries. The singer's repertoire was dominated by Ukrainian folk songs: calendar and ritual songs, household songs, lyrical humorous songs, ballads, and Ukrainian songs of the XVII-XVIII centuries. 


Previously, Matvienko also worked with the Mriya, Berezen, and Kobza ensembles, the Dudaryk and Khreshchatyk choirs, and the Revutsky Chapel.


The most famous songs she performed were "Lullaby", "Flower-Soul", "Nightingales Laughing and Crying", "Bird Power", "Oh, Wild Geese Flew", etc. Nina Matvienko not only performed music, but also actively worked to preserve and popularize Ukrainian culture. 


She participated in various charity projects to raise funds to help children. Nina also publicly advocated for women's rights and supported gender equality.


Ukraine is proud of its heritage, and artists like Nina Matvienko play an important role in promoting and preserving this heritage. She has not only distinguished herself with great creative achievements, but has also left indelible marks in the hearts of those who have the good fortune to listen to her music and see her perform.


Nina Matvienko is a true artist, a cultural ambassador of Ukraine and a woman who has always fought for what she believed in. Her contribution to Ukraine is enormous, and we can be proud to have her as one of the brightest stars of the Ukrainian music scene!


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