Freedom Pulse @ Spice Of Life, Soho, London | Issue 2

14 Feb 2024

London boy Jack finds the Ukranian band, Freedom Pulse in Soho, London, a pub with legendary music, art, literature and theatre connections.  

Rousing and personable, truly contemporary, Freedom Pulse has completely corrected my naive impression of what brass players get up to. It’s also massively remarkable how they proudly encapsulate the Ukrainian community and can share it with a receptive crowd over a thousand miles away.

I go into Soho’s Spice of Life expecting something classical, dry, stoic and formal. Instead, I find that Freedom Pulse is one huge personality, each member with an inviting stage presence. They blew me away. I doubt I’ve ever felt more present at a gig.

Faithful to the songs that they cover but uniquely arrange around the six-piece with an innovative flair. Their set blended tradition with modernity, consisting of fan-favourites such as ABBA’s Money Money and Gaga’s Bad Romance with Ukrainian tracks that seemed the biggest hits including Червона рута, the Cossack folk anthem їхав козак and the Eurovision 2022 winner Stefania, not forgetting the Christmas songs. Each performed with tons of heart and a whole lot of swing.

Consistently spreading this infectious electrifying groove from song to song, a buzz you feel in your chest that didn’t even dissipate during the interval. Aware of what gets you going, because they love it too dancing themselves – the French Horn player Serhiy is probably the most enthusiastic performer I’ve come across in a long while.

A band that I’ll go out of my way to see again, as well as share with those around me. Freedom Pulse are more than just performers, they are messengers for peace, harmony and an unbreakable spirit which in my eyes is worth tenfold compared to music for music’s sake.