Recent events in Europe threaten to amplify feelings of disconnect brewing after two years of pandemic isolation. Europe for Ukraine was borne out of a desire to create something to counteract the violence and replace the sense of helplessness with a spirit of unity.
On 3 March 2022, one week after the latest attack on Ukraine began, I had a vision of the European community standing together and shouting, “Enough is enough!” its multilingual voice frustrated and exhausted. Little by little, hope began to stand in for frustration, and the exhaustion was replaced by a sense of empowerment. Four days later “Hands in Hearts” was complete.
The title of the song was a bit of a fluke. I was trying to convey an idea of approaching someone wholly, and with sincerity, to offer a helping hand. But every time I sang it, the line “Hands in Hearts” came out instead of “Hearts in Hands”. I didn’t notice the transposition at first and by the time I had, it was too late. “Hands in Hearts” had stuck. Then I remembered the gesture that people make of putting their hands together in the shape of a heart to show affection. And “Hands in Hearts” was (officially) born.
Europe for Ukraine represents a unified Europe. Musicians all of genres will come together to create an anthem of peace and kinship. Just as USA for Africa sparked hope of a better future in an eight-year-old me when “We Are the World” was released in 1985, through "Hands in Hearts," Europe for Ukraine inspires the promise of a stronger community, standing in neighbourly love. The song has been written in several European languages, and calls for all of us to stand together in this time of struggle to serve and to save our greater community.
“Hands in Hearts” will be used to promote awareness and proceeds from the sale of the song will be donated to the UNHCR for Ukraine relief efforts. The project has mobilised participants from across Europe – and beyond – to contribute. I’ve been touched by the phenomenal outpouring of support and philanthropy from companies, institutions and individuals like yourselves. I know that the song will continue to motivate people to end violence and break down barriers.
Europe for Ukraine embraces a commitment to unity in the face of crisis. It is a recognition that our neighbours’ needs mirror our own, and an acknowledgment of our responsibility to each other. I hope I can count on you to join us on our mission to nurture a stronger and more cooperative community. Together, who knows how far we can go?
Standing in harmony, hands in hearts,
28 March 2022