(SEOUL, South Korea) — On a recent Thursday afternoon, the soft melody of Bach’s “Amazing Grace” filled the bustling streets of Seoul.
The solemn tunes coming from the violin and cello were part of a “Concert for Peace.” Twice a week, a handful of musicians perform near the Russian Embassy in Seoul to send a message to Vladimir Putin: end the war in Ukraine.
“I thought in the beginning this would end in a couple of months. I didn’t know it was going to go on like this,” Bae Il Hwan, an orchestra professor at Ewha Womans University, told ABC News.
Musicians like Hwan have pledged to play their instruments until the war comes to an end.
Bae set up the weekly concerts outside the Russian Embassy last year. More than a hundred musicians are involved.
“This was a good way of letting people know that these [aggressive] things are happening. We hope that peace is restored in Ukraine pretty soon,” Anika Kim, who listened to a recent concert, told ABC News.
In May, Bae and his team of musicians were joined by Ukraine’s Chernivtsi Philharmonic orchestra. The musicians had traveled to Seoul with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.
“Only about 20 female musicians came to Seoul because all of the male musicians are out on the battlefields fighting for freedom and justice,” Bae said.
Twice a month Seoul’s Ukraine community holds a peace protest near the Russian Embassy. The chant of “Support and solidarity for Ukraine” can be heard for blocks.
“We gathered as a community, as a Ukrainian community in Korea,” Dmytro Vi, a lawyer who came to a peace protest, told ABC News. “Doesn’t matter the weather, we’ll be [here] always, until the war ends.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.