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the day the war began, he was at home in the capital Kyiv. He woke up early, to news of Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing a "military operation" in Ukraine.

"And the moment I read it — I mean, literally, the next second — I hear a big blow, probably five miles from my house," Vakarchuk, 46, recalls.

He jumped into his car and made a big decision in that moment.

"I started touring the country once again. But not with music," he says. "I decided to go to the points that are in danger."

For the past three weeks, Vakarchuk has been driving back and forth into frontline cities where some of the worst fighting has been — Kharkiv, Zaphorizhzha, Odesa — delivering food and medicine. He's also, in a way, delivering moral support to his countrymen, he says.

"For example, you're at a gas station and somebody sees you and wants to hug you, embrace you, cuddle you," he told NPR in an interview in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. "It's emotional. People need it."

Ukrainian musicians and artists are responding to war in lots of different ways. Vakarchuk is one of many Ukrainian celebrities who are using their fame and connections to speed relief supplies to those who need them most.

Others are doubling down on their art. There's been an outpouring of protest art online. Some Ukrainian musicians have already recorded new songs about the war. Some of those songs are quite angry.

YouTube

"Russians get out, go to hell," say the lyrics of a new song by the Ukrainian rapper Stepan Burban, better known as Palindrom. "You're not even fit to be fertilizer on Ukrainian soil."

Stepan Burban, aka Palindrom, is a rapper in Lviv and is trying to help displaced people. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Stepan Burban, aka Palindrom, is a rapper in Lviv and is trying to help displaced people.

Claire Harbage/NPR

"I had to express my anger [about the war]," Burban, 27, tells NPR. "I couldn't keep it inside."

When NPR met Burban, he was rushing to buy groceries for war evacuees at an art gallery in Lviv, where traumatized evacuees and artists have been camping out together, helping one another process their anger.

At the Lviv Municipal Arts Center, there are yoga mats on the floor, piles and piles of groceries and phone chargers — and a huge grand piano in the middle. The modern cement arts space has become a shelter for war evacuees, as well as a place where people are creating art in the middle of a war.

Mytsko says artists and musicians keep contacting her and asking how they can help.

Here's what she tells them: Art is not an extra little thing — a sidebar — in this war. Putin has said Ukraine is not a real country — that it doesn't have a real culture of its own. Go out and prove him wrong, Mytsko says.

Lyana Mytsko is the director of Lviv Municipal Arts Center, which is taking in displaced people. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Claire Harbage/NPR

Lyana Mytsko is the director of Lviv Municipal Arts Center, which is taking in displaced people.

Claire Harbage/NPR

"Artists now, they feel like, 'I cannot take a gun into my hands! What should I do?' " she says. "But they really must know that every one of them is a gun of Ukrainian culture. Every one of them can make music and make pictures, and can take our soul up, up, up."

But for some artists, making art these days is difficult.

Vakarchuk, the rock star, has been away from his piano, spending long days in his car, delivering aid to the needy. At a stop Lviv's train station, though, he gave an impromptu outdoor concert to war evacuees.

While driving, he composed a poem in his head. Just like the rapper Palindrom's new song, it's dark and angry. Vakarchuk isn't sure if he'll ever be able to put it to music.

"Where have you come from, my hatred," is the opening line.

"The theme is, for 46 years of my life, I never experienced, never faced, this feeling of hatred — and now it's present in my veins," Vakarchuk says. "It's toxic. I want to get rid of it. But the only way to get rid of it now is to win the war."

YouTube

Win the war. Go back to his piano. Try to go back to what things were like before, he says.

He wishes he could.


This story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

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Postcards from Sonoma County...
        ... What people are talking about, direct from the locals.
 
Each week, our correspondents from all over Sonoma County check in with a weekly "postcard" of what people are talking about in their area. Not always "news," but still worthy of a mention. It's our way to give voice to communities that may not make it into the everyday news cycle.
 
We play these in a random rotation throughout the week. Each postcard airs from Sunday morning at midnight through Saturday at 11:59:59 pm.
 
We archive all our postcards here. Have a listen!
 

Week of April 3, 2022
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Sebastopol
 
  
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
  
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 27, 2022
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
More greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 20, 2022
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 13, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 6, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 27, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 20, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 6, 2022:
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 30, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 23rd, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 16, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
 
 

 Week of Sunday, January 9th, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
 
 

 
Week of Sunday, January 2nd, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Savoring Sonoma shorts with Clark Wolf
Clark Wolf publicityClark Wolf is a nationally recognized, James Beard Award-winning food and restaurant consultant, author, and columnist who now lives in what he calls “the Eden of All the Earth," in a 100-year-old logger’s cabin in the Redwoods of Sonoma County.
 
Savoring Sonoma is a weekly 60-second snapshot of what's importantly delicious in Sonoma County.
Each week, you'll hear two new episodes.
 
Episodes are archived here.
 
 
 
Avocados_Wk13a
 
 
Artichokes_Wk13b
 
 
Radishes_Wk12a
 
 
Snow Peas & Shoots_Wk12b
 
 
Pixie Tangerines_Wk11a
 
 
After Fat Friday_Wk11b
 
 
Asparagus_Wk10a
 
 
Morell Mushrooms_Wk10b
 
 
Root Vegetables_Wk9a
 
 
Fondue_Wk9b
 
 
  Mac & Cheese_Wk8a
 
 
  Cherries_Wk8b
 
 
Wk7b_Veggie starts
 
 
Wk7a_Honey
 
 
Wk6_Roses
 
 
Wk5a_Meyer Lemons
 
 
Wk5b_Ice Cream in Winter
 
 
  Wk4a_Arugula
 
 
Wk4b_Mustard Greens
 
 
Persimmons
 
 
Sonoma County cheeses
 
 
Joys of fermentation
 
 
Winter squash
 
 
Pomegranates
 
 
Dungeness crab 2
 
 
Olive oil
 
 
Local Sonoma County meats
 
 
Mushrooms
 
 
Bodega Red potatoes
 
 
Local eggs
 
 
Dungeness crab
 
 
Should healthy food cost more?
Read More
The Sonoma County ArtBeat
                                      With Satri Pencak
 
 
Satri picSatri Pencak is an independent art curator with an M.A. in Art History. She writes about the visual arts for her website, www.satripencak.com, her Facebook Blog, and other publications.
 
Satri loves knowing what’s going on in the art world and sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
 
All episodes are archived here:
 
 
 
Week of April 3, 2022
 
 
Week of March 27, 2022
 
 
  Week of March 20, 2022
 
 
Week of March13, 2022
 
 
 Week of March 6, 2022
 

 Week of February 27, 2022
 
 
  Week of February 20, 2022
 
 
  Week of February 13, 2022
 
 
Week of February 6, 2022
 
 
Week of January 30, 2022
 
 
Week of January 23, 2022
 
 
 
 
Week of December 19, 2021
 
 
Week or January 2, 2022
 
 
Week of January 9, 2022
 
 
Week of January 16, 2022
 
 
 
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thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

 
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farm trails logoWelcome to Farm Tales.
               Stories from and about Sonoma County Farm Trails members.
 
 
Celebrating farms forever in Sonoma County.
 
For more information visit farmtrails.org.
 
 
 
 
 
Hear archived tales below!
 

 
 
 
Boring Farm - Rachel Boring
 
 
Monte-Bellaria Farm
 
 
Sun Ray Farm - Maggie La Rochelle
 
 
Freestone Ranch - Misty Gay
 

Redwood Hill Farms - Jennifer Bice
 
 
Lala's Jam Bar and Urban Farmstand - Leslie Goodrich
 
 
Cambria Gardens Sebastopol - Garth Watson
 
 
Wiseacre Farm - Farmer Tiffany 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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