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AKQA's Christmas Card Spreads a Message of Hope with a Ukrainian Folk Song


Award-winning Ukrainian production designer and artist Mariia Shub, partnered with AKQA to bring Little Wings to life

AKQA's Christmas Card Spreads a Message of Hope with a Ukrainian Folk Song

AKQA, the leading design and innovation company, today launched its annual Christmas card, Little Wings which this year was inspired by the Ukrainian folk song Shchedryk, more commonly known as Carol of the Bells.

AKQA worked with award-winning production designer and artist Mariia Shub and her brother, animation director Rodion Shub, two Ukrainians temporarily displaced to the UK and Canada, to bring the story of Little Wings to life.

The stop-motion animation Christmas card aims to spread hope, and awareness of the lives that have been impacted by the war in Ukraine, this Christmas.

Little Wings is the story of Shchedryk, and was originally written by Mykola Leontovych over one hundred years ago as a traditional Ukrainian folk song heralding the coming of spring.

Shchedryk’s original well-wishing lyrics tell the tale of a swallow flying between households, proclaiming the plentiful year that the family will have, inspiration for the tale of Little Wings. The song’s title is derived from the Ukrainian word ‘shchedryj’, meaning ‘bountiful’.

Accompanied by the Shchedryk melody, AKQA’s Little Wings inspired Christmas card follows a lonesome swallow’s adventure to guide carol singers to a family in need of renewed hope. The allegorical handcrafted animation uses Ukrainian culture and creativity to inspire hope and joy in all.

Kyiv Children's Choir Shchedryk, one of Ukraine's most recognised youth musical ensembles, provides the soundtrack, led by artistic director and chief conductor, Marianna Sablina. The film features sound design by composer, producer and international DJ, Damon Baxter (also known as the Deadly Avenger).

Reflecting on the creative process, Mariia said, “Little Wings is a beautiful way to share that Shchedryk is a Ukrainian song, and to learn its roots. Few people know that it was composed and performed during a previous time of intense political struggle and social upheaval in Ukraine. It is always sung together in a choir, making the music a connector of people.”

Mariia continues, “Little Wings features powerful Ukrainian motifs of renewal and regeneration, including seeds, the tree of life, mountains and the swallow. The star is Ukraine’s ancient and well-recognised symbol of hope for humanity, for out of winter’s darkness always comes spring’s light. We want viewers to be left with feelings of gratitude, love for the song and hope for the world.”

Sam Kelly, managing partner, AKQA said, “Meeting Mariia was a serendipitous moment. Initially, we planned to connect her with the UK creative community. Upon seeing the beauty of her handcrafted work, and hearing her story of Shchedryk, we wanted everyone to know that the song you listen to during the holiday season is a story of hope and love from Ukraine.”

2022 marks one hundred years since the North American premiere of Shchedryk at New York’s Carnegie Hall following a world tour as part of the first Ukrainian cultural diplomacy project.


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AKQA UK, Thu, 15 Dec 2022 10:42:09 GMT