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Landon A.R. Coleman benefit concert at Swaso Bar to support Ukrainian relief efforts—06.18.22

By Alison Larabie Chase on June 16, 2022


This Saturday night, enjoy a night of live music at a cool new bar in Hintonburg, all in support of local Ukrainian refugee relief efforts.

Swaso Bar is a new venture located inside the Happy Goat on Laurel Street. Owned by a Ukrainian immigrant, Andriy Asarov, the bar hosts live DJ sets on Friday nights and has a variety of imported wines, craft beers, and fun cocktails on offer, as well as some great snacks.

But on June 18, the stage belongs to local indie-pop singer/songwriter/guitarist Landon A. R. Coleman. The evening is a benefit in support of Maidan Market, a community hub at Westgate Shopping Centre run by the local chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. At the market, Ukrainian refugees can pick up necessities like clothing, toiletries, household goods and more at no charge, and get connected to support services and community members. All the proceeds from Saturday’s ticket sales and a portion of bar sales will go to Maidan Market.

Landon A.R. Coleman. Photo provided.

Ivanka Galadza from Project Sunflower will also have a table set up at the event. Galadza, a local Ukrainian Canadian illustrator, is creating art to help people rally around the Ukrainian people. Her graphic novel about the Holodomor (Ukrainian genocide), Five Stalks of Grain, will be published this November.

When we asked Coleman how he got involved with the benefit, he said he was planning to play a regular show at the space, but realized that a lot of people want to do something for Ukraine right now, and since both he and Asarov were already supporting Maidan Market, a benefit concert just made sense.

“I’m neck-deep with the Ukrainian community here in town… I have lots of friends that are part of it. All the Ukrainians I know under the age of 50 have this beautiful optimism and excitement, this joie de vivre, and a lot of it had to do with getting out from the Soviet darkness. So when the invasion happened, it was like, OK, all the happiest people that I know are having their dreams crushed. For me and my family, we can’t understand what it’s like to be here and have your home being destroyed. But we have lots of friends who are in that position right now, who are anxious and struggling. You just gotta do something.”

Coleman, who will be joined by a piano player for his second set on Saturday night, describes his music as “adult contemporary.” In the past, he’s performed as a folk artist, but trained to become a music therapist and now works with patients at CHEO and in long-term care homes. Just as he got back into writing and playing music again, the pandemic hit. But he’s gearing back up, with another show planned for Irene’s on July 9 and a record coming out sometime in the fall or winter. He’s written a song about the state of the world right now, including the invasion in Ukraine, and some of the lyrics draw from the Ukrainian funeral rite, so that’s sure to be an emotional gut-punch.

We asked Coleman how Ottawans can best support Ukrainians right now (outside of attending Saturday’s event, of course). He reiterated the great work being done by Maidan Market, but also invited people to write their MPs to “tell them Canada is doing the right thing right now. Keep it up. MPs need to hear that no one should convince them to lessen sanctions. Canada needs to do as much as it can.”

Landon A.R. Coleman performs on Saturday, June 18, at Swaso Bar inside Happy Goat, 35 Laurel St. in Hintonburg. Tickets are $12 and all proceeds go to Maidan Market. Doors open at 6 pm and the show starts at 7 pm with a second set at 8:15 pm. For tickets, email or via their Facebook event link.