Len grew up with an inexplicable love of all things eastern European, eventually becoming a student of Slavonic Languages at Leeds University. Many years later he found out that the Liggins family were not English in origin but had migrated to England in the 18th century in order to find work in the mills near Coventry. They had come from eastern Europe! When Len discovered this, his life-long obsession with this part of the world suddenly all fell into place.
Len is a big fan of music in all its guises. He once claimed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of rock music (favourite period 1956 to 1974) but unfortunately with the passing of time his memory is beginning to desert him. Nevertheless he would love to have his own radio show. He collects things: records of course (1000s and 1000s of them) .
A little-known fact: Len was once nick-named ‘The Professor’ but is now addressed affectionately (hopefully) by those who known him as ‘Mr Len’.
Len also dabbles in a couple of English language music-type things. See www.myspace.com/thelegendarylen and www.myspace.com/thesinistercleaners
''Pete is the original founder member of The Ukrainians, plays 6 and 12 string acoustic guitar and mandolin, and sings backing vocals. Like Steff, his father was from western Ukraine. It was while playing in his former and The Wedding Present that Pete's increasing passion of Ukrainian music and culture and friendship with Len motivated him to experiment with a side project that became The Ukrainians. In 1987 he asked his friend Len to sing and play violin on some Wedding Present tracks for a John Peel session on Radio One, and after a string of several highly succesful concerts, a first LP and some rave reviews The Ukrainians was born! Over 20 years later and the rest is Istoriya, as they say!''.
"Sometimes, you know that something needs to be done, and fate puts you in the right place. We are here because of an amazing co-incidence of people, places and history. I'm proud of what we've done so far, and I eagerly anticipate the things that are yet to come."
Jim joined the Ukrainians in early 2004, before the Istoriya tour. He's the newest member, but has long since become accustomed to dealing with sleep deprivation and the odd vodie too many. Besides the obvious skill of bass playing, others include adaptable techie, Occasional video producer and part-time diplomat. He loves "the pounding drums that drive on to display intelligence and subtlety" but also loves "the mandolin that embodies delicate beauty before rising up to frenzied heights". Jim has played with a few bands over the years, including the sadly extinct Babelonians / Lenin Mc Carthy with Mick and Paul. Jim also appears on the Legendary Len EP compilation.
Woody has been pounding out 2/4 in its various forms for the band since 1996 when a mutual Leeds aquaintance, one John Parkes, put him in touch with Pete, 'n' hence on towards Ukie indoctrination and financial ruin. He lives in the picturesque town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, together with most of the rhythm section, where he teaches and drums with a few other interesting and windswept groups and refines his Ukrainian credentials. He is a big fan of the speed up found in much slavic music and is also genuinely attached to the infamous rhythm that is 2/4 even after so many years spent trying to find its many voices. His only recurring regret is that such traditional music requires the use of the dreaded mandolin, in fact sometimes even two are deemed necessary, and is forever reminding Paul just how lucky he is to find such a musical oddity. He also thinks 'Diaspora' is by far the best Ukrainians album so far and is looking forward to playing the new songs live.
Steff is a dedicated piano-accordionist and joined The Ukrainians in 1994, after playing with celtic folk-rock bands The Demon Seamen and Mercury Kingdom. He now teaches Music & English and plays solo gigs as well as performing and recording with The Ukrainians, but quite amazingly 'Diaspora' is the first Ukrainians' studio recording that he has contributed to and appeared on since joining the band. After recently spending 2 years in Cornwall & Devon, Steff was finding the travel to rehearsals & recording in Yorkshire a bit trying, so he moved back to his home county of Berkshire at the start of 2009. Now its only a three hour sprint up the M1 to meet up with the rest of the band, and he swears the tastier curries and beers make the journey all the more worthwhile. Actually, the more you twist his arm, the louder he swears....Find out more at www.myspace.com/steffaccordion
It was in the summer of 1997 that Paul was first inducted into the bizarre world of the Ukrainians as he joined them on mandolin for the infamous '97 tour of Poland. Since then he has never looked back, mainly because of a stiff neck from sleeping in the van. The mandolin is such a beautiful and versatile instrument that non-mandolin players often harbour feelings of envy and hostility... Still, rising above all that, Paul loves the way the Ukrainians' music careers from wistful melancholy to punky thrash, often within the same song - sometimes within the same verse. Paul lives in Hebden Bridge with several other Ukrainian members (no, not all in one house like The Monkees), and when not playing mandolin and sopilka with the Ukies occupies himself with making scary noises on the theremin and writing songs about hippy zombies and disabled donkeys. For more than you could ever want to know, go here: www.myspace.com/paulweatherhead