A Ukrainian musician living in Fraserburgh is staging a concert to help her homeland’s fight – revealing she chooses to “fight through music”.
Nataliia Naismith moved to the north-east in 2014 to follow her passion for music.
Meanwhile, her family remain in Ukraine while the Russian invasion has stretched to nearly two month.
In support of the Ukrainian people, a concert is being held in Fraserburgh giving people the chance to hear traditional Ukrainian music while raising funds.
Violinist Mrs Naismith, alongside Gareth John, conductor for the Aberdeen City Orchestra, has put together the concert in support of Ukraine.
She said: “The idea for this concert is to bring the people some Ukrainian music and raise funds to help those in Ukraine.”
Mrs Naismith’s family, including her mother, aunt, uncle and friends, still live in Yahotyn, around 64 miles east of Kyiv.
‘All I can offer is hope’
She explained her feeling watching the horrors unfold in Ukraine, which has spurred her to do this concert: “I feel helpless, absolutely helpless and guilty. I feel helpless because I am here and I can’t be there for my mum.
“I can call my mum and we can talk about things, but all I can offer her is hope. I don’t even ask her how is she doing but rather, what have you been up to?
“I want to avoid asking her how she is doing. My guilt is because I am here, and they are all there.”
Several members of her family have had children evacuated to Poland for safety and haven’t seen them in weeks.
She recalls that her mother has spent over 40 days since the conflict began going back and forth to the bomb shelter due to fighting close to her town of Yahotyn.
Mrs Naismith has been on calls with her mother when sirens begin to sound, and the call ends.
It is only until her mother calls her back that she knows she is safe due to fighter jets flying overhead with her mother commenting “You just know the sounds, you never forget them.”
‘Everyone is doing something to help’
The Musicians for Ukraine concert will use instruments such as cellos, violas, basses and violins to evoke the tradition and heritage of Ukrainian music.
Mrs Naismith was keen to incorporate Ukrainian music in the programme to convey to the audience the power of traditional music.
The concert will be held on May 7 at Fraserburgh South Church, with tickets on sale for £10 per person, although children go free.
All money raised will go towards the National Bank of Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which is used directly by the Ukrainian Government in aid efforts across the country.
Mrs Naismith added: “I cannot take the gun and go home and fight. I’ve got family here; I have my son and my husband.
“My way of fighting is spreading the word about what’s happening. My way of fighting is through music and raising funds, which I know will go to a good cause.
“The whole spirit amongst the people of Ukraine is really high. We are highly motivated and believe that if we all do something, even just a little bit, it will come together as a massive show of strength. Everyone is doing something to help.”