On Monday (local time), a beautiful piano melody resonated around a border checkpoint in Medyka, Poland, with a long queue of Ukrainian war refugees and vehicles on the run. A crowd of refugees, exhausted, gathered up to listen to a piano performance by German pianist Davide Martello. Since Russia invaded into Ukraine on March 24, he has toured around the borders in the eastern part of Poland that meets the western lines of Ukraine to relieve and console asylum seekers flowing out of the war-stricken country.
Martello said in an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo on Monday that what should never happen is unfolding right in front of us, adding that he started this project to musically heal the scars of Ukrainian victims. Even with a running nose in the cold of minus five degrees Celsius, he did not stop his passionate performance.
Thinking of peace, Martello performed a piece loaded with his aspirations for peace. He sent a peaceful message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he should open up his heart. He has become well-known as “Piano Man” at the borders among refugees.
Martello, born to an Italian German couple in Lörrach in southwest Germany, spent his school days in Thüringen at the mid-part of the country. Building on his career in typical musical performances just as other pianists, he made up his mind all of a sudden after watching many people suffer from war on TV. He decided to play the piano for those on the brink of their life crushed by war and disasters.
Once the pianist customized a grand piano equipped with speakers and amplifiers to make sure that he plays wherever he wants, his journey began with his special instrument on the trailer to meet those left sleepless in despair.
He played for Afghanistan in 2012. When Russia forcibly incorporated the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, which led to a civil war between the Ukrainian government military and pro-Russian separatists in Donbas, Ukraine, he also visited those desperate for help. To add, he performed following the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks that took lives of 130 innocent people. In 2020, he was part of a group of protests who took to the streets to honor George Floyd, a black U.S. man who was killed by the deadly force of the police. It was so many times that police and military forces seized his piano.
Nevertheless, he did not stop playing the piano for the sake of peace. His sustained peace-making activities led the European Parliament to declare an official endorsement statement that Martello seeks to contribute to common values of humanity such as philanthropy and cooperation. Asked if he opts to visit in too risky and dangerous places, Martello answered that his end goal of life is to heal the broken hearts of people with the power of music, adding, “See you at another border checkpoint tomorrow.”
Youn-Jong Kim email@example.com