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Ukrainian teenager finds refuge in music

It’s often said that music is a refuge – and for one 16-year-old Ukrainian girl in Woodford, that expression rings especially true.

Thanks to the efforts of the Galway artistic community, talented pianist Marharyta Pokydailo is back tinkling the ivories – having been unable to practice her art since she and her grandparents fled Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion.

Thanks to a loan of a piano from Pianos Plus in Dublin, Bark Hill House in Woodford has taken delivery of a Kawai piano allowing this accomplished young pianist, who was playing solos on stages around Europe before the war broke out, to play her music once again.

Through a friend, Portumna-based writer and Director of the Shorelines Arts Festival, Noelle Lynskey, learned of Marharyta’s (or Margaret as she calls herself to friends at school) gift.

“Two of my friends who are involved with Shorelines have been volunteering to teach English in Bark Hill and they were going in one day and heard a man playing classical music. He had very little English but he brought up a YouTube clip of Marharyta playing piano,” recalls Noelle.

One of those friends was Wiltrud Duell, a Woodford resident who after this meeting with Boris, Marharyta’s granddad, struck up a conversation with her grandmother Hannah and soon realised just how talented their granddaughter is.

“She had a piano at her granny’s house in Ukraine but had no piano that was accessible to her in Woodford. Wiltrud got in touch with me because she said I know everyone who’s involved in music in Galway,” laughs Noelle.

Caption: Margaret Pokydailo, pianist from Kyiv, at Bark Hill House, Woodford, with the piano she has been loaned with the help of Music For Galway, Shorelines Arts Festival and Pianos Plus in Dublin. Photo: Brian Harding.

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