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'Hot Music Live Presents Volume Eight'


Today we are pleased to announce the release of 'Hot Music Live Presents Volume Eight'

It's a little different to Volumes One to Seven (you may see that several artists who've appeared on earlier albums wanted to return to help out).

 Aimed as ever at promoting the original talent of Coventry & Warwickshire musicians, you can still download the tracks for free from this link:

 However, this time, we'd ask people to consider making voluntary contributions when downloading, all of which will go to Ukrainian relief charities.


Equally, if you'd like to revisit the earlier albums, all proceeds of contributions will go to those charities too.


You probably read in a recent article that while the album was being put together, one of our biggest supporters, Gemma Leahy Waddell, left us. We are privileged to include a previously unreleased song by her as a reminder of her own considerable talent in addition to all her supporting & mentoring of many other artists who have appeared in the series.


'Hot Music Live Presents Volume Eight' is dedicated to Gemma.


We are also delighted to include a track by 'Hot Music Live Presents Volume Three' dedicatee the late Stephen Madden as although he was honoured by that album, it did not contain any of his music.


In addition to raising money for Ukraine in her hour of need, we are very pleased that the first track is a Ukrainian folk song, set by Coventry based band Cov Kozaks which reinforces our support not just for the threatened people of that country, but its culture which is equally being menaced.

Very many thanks as always to all the participating musicians.

The tracks on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Eight' are:


Cov Kozaks - "Червона Рута" (Chervona Ruta)

Gemma Leahy: "Undeniable"

Satsangi featuring Shanade - "The Storm In My Eyes"

Duck Thieves - "Dance Like a Duck Thief"

The Ripps - "Funny Old World"

The Rising - "Break The Chains" (Live & Unplugged version)

We Are A Communist - "Speed of Sound in Space" (2022 Mix)

Army of Skanks - "Trouble"

Jonas and Street Arts Project - "Wake Me Up Tomorrow"

Stephen Madden - "Juliet"

VIEON featuring Jenny McLaren - "Transmission"

Keith Fabrique - "Darkness"

Wendy X - "Fear Is The Fire"

!nvisible Hand featuring Duke Keats - "Samphire"

Sister Panic - "Sue Grandad"

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‘Put Your Faith in the Sword and the Sword in the Polka' EP by Cov Kozaks


It's so unfortunate that it has taken a tragedy on the scale of the one unfolding in Ukraine for our first review of a Cov Kozaks record, but as you'll have seen from yesterday's news about benefits for that nation, the high profile participation of this excellent band comprising members whose families originated there, has prompted me.

Who can argue with their priorities at this moment in favouring fund and awareness raising & over their own career, yet I think it's an added shame that in addition to the horrors being inflicted on their loved ones, the qualities of their latest EP, ‘Put Your Faith in the Sword and the Sword in the Polka'  may get unfairly overlooked.

As noted yesterday, their planned launch turned into an effective fundraiser, yet conventional promotion is far from the forefront their current minds.

I'd just hope that in addition to supporting the main aim of helping Ukraine and its people, we at "Hot Music Live" and you as music lovers with great hearts, can in some way address this injustice in both writing this piece & with luck, bolstering sales & sharing of the music: because, as we know, it's not just the fabric & people of Ukraine being targeted but the culture also.

The EP was created during lockdown and follows its predecessors the ‘Stand Aside Mykola' EP of 2018 and the live album ‘Who Else But An Idiot Would Want To!' which came out in 2020.

The band, (who are Alex Kosmirak on accordion/ vocals, Dan Barskyj (guitar/vocals), Zenon Dzula  (accordion), Stef Fedeczko  (fiddle), Andy Maslanyj  (bass) and  Andriy Buniak  on  drums plus newcomer  Anna Lytwyniw on sopilka) are all members of the local Ukrainian community and developed as musicians playing traditional music for dancing. Their songs use Ukrainian folk lyrics, but they draw upon the other music they experience and love, from folk to rock to ska to fashion new settings: ones which more than meet the approval of audiences aware of the sources, even when they played in Ukraine itself. For the rest of us I'm afraid the words, while evocative, are rather more enigmatic.

I must confess that my previous awareness of Ukrainian music centres very largely on the wonderful Gogol Bordello but Cov Kozaks, though clearly sharing much more than just the sources, are much less punky. Please however do not read that as indicating less vibrancy, passion nor energy: all of these are present & correct.

Nevertheless, within the good humour and sense of community forged on long tradition & familiarity, there is discernible within the songs a sense of that profound Slavic melancholy informed by understanding of the struggles of generations.

A couple of songs have titles in Latin script: "Intro" and "20-PA3" while the others are rendered in Cyrillic: "Лемко"("Lemko");, "Червона Рута" ("Red Route"), "Наливаймо" ("Let's Pour") "Чом" ("Why") and "Їxаали" ("We Went"). As I say, their precise meanings are most accessible to Ukrainian speakers (even the short "Intro" has lyrics) but I think everyone could get caught up in the moods evoked: from swirling dance music, through more balladic songs to anthemic communal sing alongs: you might feel a little left out of exactly what the singers and many of the audience are getting out of the experience but there is enough emotional connection left to feel the goodwill & the welcome offered.

What I particularly enjoyed was the complex interplay of less familiar instruments & those which although better known to the UK, nevertheless serve musical structures of a culture we hear too little of. All tracks exhibit this rich tapestry approach & consequently although the overall effect of each individual song impacts immediately upon you, you can also return repeatedly to enjoy different nuances & textures each time.

 You can, should you choose, decide to buy ‘Put Your Faith in the Sword and the Sword in the Polka' because you feel you'd like to make a gesture of support to Ukraine & her people (all proceeds by the way are going to relief charities). You may feel now is a good time to immerse yourself in Ukrainian culture. Both are admirable reasons for doing so & I guess many people will wish to do so. However, aside from the meaning this EP has gained in the past weeks, it is great music in its own right & worthy of your time regardless of more sombre considerations. I greatly enjoyed listening to it & if my route to it came via deplorable actions of others, then that is sad, but this is a band whose culture and music will endure once these times are resolved & one whom I'd love to hear & see live.

There is an almost unbearable sadness about listening today to ‘Put Your Faith in the Sword and the Sword in the Polka' , yet within it, I seem to perceive the defiance of a proud & resilient culture who have been brought to bad places before but have endured & are determined to endure again: the sense of timelessness is that palpable.

Many thanks to Andriy in particular for his time in talking to me about the band & to Michelle Bailey-Le Long for introducing me in the first place.


Don't forget too that  Cov Kozaks are performing a benefit for Ukraine at The Arches in Coventry tomorrow (18th March) at 1930.

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Benefits for Ukraine


For reasons which no-one reading this will fail to grasp, the thoughts of everyone at the moment are with those in Ukraine and unsurprisingly, the sense of community I detect & report on so frequently in the magazine has led to a series of benefit events being arranged.

 The first one is on Friday, starting at half past seen and is at & organised by the Arches venue in Coventry. Admission is £5.

Totally appropriately the headliners will be Coventry's own Cov Kozaks, all of whose members are from the local Ukrainian community & hence have relatives & friends currently suffering the horrors of invasion.

I have not yet reviewed this most interesting band but this, in a most unfortunate way has spurred me on, so look out for my upcoming one on their most recent EP, the extravagantly named ‘Put Your Faith in the Sword and the Sword in the Polka', recorded during lockdown but whose release so coincided with the start of hostilities that it's hard for them to focus on promoting it at present, though the launch event which turned into a fund raiser resulted in £4,500 being generated.

The band, (who comprise Alex Kosmirak on accordion/ vocals, Dan Barskyj (guitar/vocals), Zenon Dzula  (accordion), Stef Fedeczko  (fiddle), Andy Maslanyj  (bass) and  Andriy Buniak  on  drums plus newcomer  Anna Lytwyniw on sopilka (a traditional Ukrainian instrument akin to a wooden version of a tin whistle)) generally take their own approach to traditional Ukrainian folk song  lyrics, with a basically folk/rock approach, though incorporating styles such as ska to reflect who they are. This has forged them a national reputation and they regularly support touring Ukrainian bands & have even played in Ukraine itself with great success.

On Friday they will be joined by Stef Hnylycia on bass as unfortunately Andy can't make it.


A further gig to also raise funds for Ukraine will be on Sunday 27th March at the Albany Theatre from 1300 to 1715 & 1900 to 2030. Tickets costing £9 for all day or £5 for each session are available from the Box Office via 02476998964 or

Artists donating their time & talent include  Pauline Black who will be performing an  acoustic set, Jack Blackman, Wes Finch, Kristy Gallacher, Keith Donnelly & Lauren South, Hatstand, Meet on the Ledge, Rob Halligan's Homeward Hie, the Kevin Dempsey Trio and a great many more to boot, though sadly not Cov Kozaks who though invited are unable to assemble that day.


I'm sure these will be far from the only such events & I'll try & let you know of others when I hear the details.

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