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Musician wants ‘Our Place in Time’ to be a global tribute song to Ukraine



Last February, Mike Wolf watched in horror as videos of bombs raining down on Ukraine flooded his television screen. Wolf sat down at his piano to channel his emotions, and within minutes his hands created a song.

“I watched my hands compose it. I wasn’t doing the work. It was as if my hands had a life of their own. My brain wasn’t in it, but my heart certainly was,” Wolf, 76, told The Washington Post. Although the business owner and songwriter has no personal connection to the war raging nearly 5,000 miles from his home in Wisconsin, he decided he had to do something – anything. – to support Ukraine.

The result was “Our Place in Time,” a ballad in which hope, joy, grief and anguish collide, he said.

“It’s all those emotions that everyone can relate to,” Wolf said. “We’ve heard about conflict and division for so long, and I just thought, ‘What’s happening in Ukraine is so treacherous that if we forget, shame on the world.’ This is my attempt to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Now, Wolf said, his plan is to enlist artists from around the world to sing “Our Place in Time” in unison. A chance meeting online led him to his first partners, who were away from Wisconsin and Ukraine.

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Rafael Rico, songwriter and music producer in Caracas, Venezuela, has yet to meet Wolf in person. But he was so moved by Wolf’s vision for his song that he set out to find the right singer to launch the global project.

“I knew we had to find someone with the right type of voice for it – something angelic and with that kind of Disney musical vibe,” Rico said.

This led asked him to contact Mariana Thielen, a Venezuelan radio presenter who started singing when she was “wearing diapers” and gained a following on social media for her covers of Disney songs. Thielen, 23, said his answer was an immediate and resounding “yes”.

“Music has this universality that everyone understands,” Thielen said. “Even if you don’t speak the language or know the music theory, you can still understand what you hear. That’s why it’s so powerful and that’s why I knew I really wanted to sing that song.

For Thielen, seeing millions of Ukrainians forced to flee hit close to home – and singing a song that asks “Where are all our people now? Where did they go?” felt personal. Although Venezuela isn’t caught up in a war, the South American country is facing one of the biggest immigration crises in the world. According to United Nations figures , many of the world’s refugees come from Ukraine and Venezuela, with each nation’s displaced people exceeding 7 million.

Watching the war from afar prompted a Chicago artist to help. So he built a “Lego” Zelensky to raise funds.

The chance to sing Wolf’s tribute to Ukraine also seemed like a way to “showcase all the talent that’s out there in Venezuela,” she said.

Rico and Thielen spent about five months recording a track and video for “Our Place in Time”, sending updates to Wolf, who was supervising from afar. The video was shot at the Teatro Nacional de Caracas, a historic 117-year-old theater, and was posted on YouTube last month.

Scenes from the golden rotunda of the Teatro Nacional are juxtaposed with Ukrainian images. An orchestra plays inside the dimly lit theater, where Thielen performs in a flowing red dress.

In one scene, Thielen raises his arms, resembling the angel atop kyiv’s Independence Monument. It’s a moment that, in a way, symbolizes the relationship between Venezuela and Ukraine, Rico said.

“In 2014, our two countries were fighting for democracy,” he said, recalling videos of Ukrainians show solidarity with Venezuela at the time. Now, he said, they can show their solidarity with Ukraine.

With the English version of the song already out, Wolf, the composer, said he recruited people from Australia, Mexico and Japan to sing their own renditions. A woman also sent him a Ukrainian edition, which he hopes will inspire those who defend their nation, he said.

“I want people to hear it at least once,” he said. “And I hope Ukraine is in their hearts and minds after listening to this song.”



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