Anastasiia Mazurenko

Forced Migration of Ukrainians and Belonging Performance through Choral Music in Slovenia


The Ukrainian community in Slovenia numbered about 2500 people, settled throughout the country. With the beginning of the full-scale Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a large migration wave of Ukrainians to the West began. More than 9000 Ukrainians moved to Slovenia and received the status of temporary protection, so a much larger community of Ukrainians in Slovenia was formed. Since then, the national identity of Ukrainians has manifested itself to a much greater extant in various countries. The return to traditional music as a promotion of “national roots” and using its motifs in various has become one of the trends in the period of the current war. People who ended up outside their country, despite the possibility of getting information through the media, formed their own means of national identification and reproduced their sense of belonging it in the context of a foreign culture. Thus, amateur choirs of Ukrainian migrants and refugees emerged in Slovenia to establish contacts with compatriots, build connections with people from the same cultural background, and express patriotic and nostalgic feelings through music. Their repertoire consists of various Ukrainian songs – arranged church and folk songs, popular (often from the Soviet era, but also modern) songs with traditional motifs, songs from the host country, etc. To the extent that the participants choose the repertoire together, this reflects their idea of a collective Ukrainian culture, which in most cases was first formed abroad, so we can observe how collective belonging is formed in the new circumstances in which they find themselves.

The author examines the activity of Ukrainian amateur choirs in Slovenia from the point of view of manifestation of national belonging through musical culture in the context of forced migration.


Anastasiia Mazurenko is an assistant with PhD employed at the Institute of Ethnomusicology of the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts. She graduated in Ethnomusicology at National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music (NMAU) and in Sound Engineering at National Academy of Senior Specialists on Culture and Arts in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2011, and obtained her master degree in ethnomusicology (NMAU, 2012). In 2021, she defended her doctoral thesis in ethnomusicology (NMAU). She was employed as Senior Sound Engineer on TV postproduction and as Research Fellow at Kyiv Ethnomusicology Laboratory. She is the author of twelve articles and participated in 28 conferences. She is a member of ICTM (Study Groups on Music and Dance of the Slavic World and SoMoS) and ISMIR associations. Her main research focus is on computational approaches in ethnomusicology, vocal folk music, musical perception and cognition, archives, music and war.