"The Cossack Rode Beyond the Danube" ("Jihav Kozak Za Dunaj" or "Їхав козак за Дунай" in Ukrainian) is an old Ukrainian folk song that Ukrainian-Estonian band Svjata Vatra first released as a single in 2018.
The 300 -years old folk tune is about a cossack on his way to war. He leaves his beloved wife at home in tears. The cossack's mission in war is actually not about the battle itself, but making a better and brighter future for his family and loved ones. His faith in goodness and love is what brings him back home safely at the end.
Simmu Vasar, the Chief of the Estonian Military Orchestra operating under the Estonian War Museum, said that immediately after Russia launched its attack of Ukraine, the Orchestra began seeking ways they could support Ukraine — and what better way for musicians to do so than via music?
Vasar contacted Ruslan Trochynskyi, a well-known member of Estonia's Ukrainian community, and his band Svjata Vatra and offered a collaboration. As it turned out, the band already had the perfect song ready to go.
Once decided, everything else fell smoothly into place, as everyone wanted to contribute, Vasar recalled.
Tõnis Kõrvits provided the orchestral arrangement, and the music video was produced in cooperation with the Strategic Communications Center of the Estonian Defence Forces and the Estonian War Museum and under the direction of Anna Shushpanova, a war refugee from Ukraine.
According to Vasar, the ongoing war in Ukraine is not a sprint, but a marathon, and people need to continue to keep supporting Ukraine.
"We cannot grow accustomed to the war and consider it part of the daily news that on most days doesn't so much as raise an eyebrow anymore," Vasar stressed. "Each of us must in our own way keep the topic alive and help the people of Ukraine to a victorious end by any means possible."
Ruslan Trochynskyi, the lead singer of Svjata Vatra, said that when the war in Ukraine began in 2014, songs directly inspired by it — but always including messages of caring, sticking together and peace — began to appear in the band's repertoire.
"The Estonian Military Orchestra's proposal was a lovely and striking opportunity to demonstrate support to both the defenders of Ukraine and Ukrainians together," he said, adding that the two groups want to use the music video to thank all of the people of Estonia for the incredible aid they have provided Ukraine with.
"We've seen the warmth with which the people of Estonia have opened their homes and their hearts to the war refugees of Ukraine and how they have been engaged in coming up with ways everyone can contribute," Trochynskyi underscored. "Our deepest thanks to everyone!"
Watch the music video "Jihav Kozak Za Dunaj" here