During our interview with India-bred and Ukraine-based singer-songwriter Paloma Sridhar – who goes by her first name – she tells us that she can hear an air-raid alarm ringing outside. Based in the western part of the country, she says, “We have regular alarms for potential air strikes, but so far, touch wood, we’ve been safe.”
Two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, Paloma – who is also a painter – began writing her latest single, “Peace Become Ukraine.” However, she tells us, it remained incomplete until she saw the bombing of a maternity ward and the mass grave that casualties were being rolled into in Kharkiv. “It’s something that shook me to my core, and it’s one of those things you just can’t unsee,” the artist says.
Paloma admits that it was never her intention to write a song on the topic of the war, and she didn’t want to cash in on a crisis. She says, “I didn’t even think that the war was an appropriate topic to write a song about in the first place… But, I guess there were so many pent-up questions and frustrations on the subject that the song sort of just shaped up on its own. “
“Peace Become Ukraine” is an emotional acoustic ballad and includes poignant plucked guitar parts and Paloma’s heartwarming vocals. The singer-songwriter recorded the song at her home studio di lei and even shot a visual for it outdoors. “It’s like, you learn to make do with less resources during a pandemic, and then you learn to make do with even less during a war. But, with hard work and a bit of creativity and imagination, it’s surprising what can be done. Necessity really is the mother of invention, ”Paloma says.
The artist moved to Ukraine a year ago after singing largely covers back in India, the US, and Singapore. When the war broke out, Paloma was set to head out to Italy to pursue music, but she stayed back in Ukraine. Giving us a first-person’s account of the ongoings in the region, she says, “At first, everyone ran to bomb shelters as soon as the alarm sounded. But by now, people seem to have a ‘que sera sera’ attitude towards it, and life goes on as normally as can be managed when the daily theme is war. “
While some people have left the country, things still remain uncertain for those in Ukraine. But Paloma, on her part di lei, plans to stay back. The singer talks about the country passionately, saying, “Ukraine is like a blend of modern and retro Europe with a dash of oriental influences and Ukrainians are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Paloma adds, “It’s really, really sad to see that Russia has set parts of the country back by hundreds of years. To quote my own song, ‘I have no words to say.’ “
Watch the music video for “Peace Become Ukraine” below: