Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine, social media has played a major role in the efforts to raise awareness and provide aid for the nation’s suffering population. Videos and photographs showcasing the daily life of Ukrainian citizens as they face down the horrors of war have garnered sympathy and support from people worldwide. And just last week, one little Ukrainian girl’s voice was heard around the world after a video of her singing Frozen’s hit song “Let It Go” from a basement shelter went viral.
The clip was originally posted on Facebook by a woman named Marta Smekhova, who recorded the video after she happened to strike up a conversation in passing with the 7-year-old child, named Amelia. As she stopped to praise a picture the girl drew, Smekhova learned that, besides drawing, Amelia also loved to sing. The trusting girl even shared that her dream was to one day sing on the big stage in front of a huge audience.
Learning this, Smekhova motioned to the people huddled around and encouraged her to sing for everyone sheltering with them underground. And though the sweet little girl was worried that she wouldn’t be heard due to all the noise around her, Amelia agreed and soon lifted her voice in song, performing a familiar tune that has found its place in the hearts of little girls all around the world. As she sang the first few notes of “Let It Go” in Russian, the bunker immediately hushed to hear her pure and innocent voice. Fussy babies even quieted, while adults struggled to hold back their tears.
“I promised her there and then that not only the bunker would hear her voice but the whole world would,” shares Smekhova.
Too beautiful for words. https://t.co/M7CLrh7tK3
— Caissie Levy (@CaissieLevy) March 7, 2022
And the woman’s promise to Amelia has already rung true. From Facebook, the video was quickly shared across several social media platforms—including Twitter, where it has received more than 16 million views. Many commenters reported being moved to tears by the sweet little girl’s joyful and heartfelt performance. Even Idina Menzel, who made the song famous as the original voice of Frozen’s Elsa, was touched by the display.
“We see you,” Menzel said, sharing her reaction on Twitter. “We really, really see you.” The star followed the sentiment with a blue and a yellow heart for the colors of Ukraine’s flag. Menzel’s post was also joined by those of several other actors who’ve reprised the role of Elsa, including Caissie Levy who played the role as part of the original cast on Broadway, and Samantha Barks who currently plays Elsa on the West End. Kristen Anderson-Lopez, one of the original composers of the song, was also touched by Amelia’s underground concert.
“Dear Little Girl with the beautiful voice, my husband and I wrote this song as part of a story about healing a family in pain,” Anderson-Lopez shared on Twitter. “The way you sing it is like a magic trick that spreads the light in your heart and heals everyone who hears it. Keep singing! We are listening!”
Reaching beyond the internet, the video has since been shown on news outlets in countries around the world, reminding people of the innocent lives at stake in this horrible conflict. Many people have been flooded with empathy for Ukraine’s plight as they’ve watched their own children excitedly sing along to the clip, not even noticing the language difference. For many who’ve seen the video, Amelia’s impromptu performance from the dismal underground shelter has now transformed the popular Disney song into a symbol of humanity, peace, and solidarity.
My heart breaks for Ukraine, the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people is incredible ❤️🇺🇦 https://t.co/vaCBNCaeL9
— Samantha Barks (@SamanthaBarks) March 7, 2022
“I always knew Amelia was very talented and a sweet angel, and now the whole world knows the same,” says the little girl’s mother, Lilia. “But it is a tragedy that she is only a star because of so much death and destruction.”
Because of Russian aggressions, Ukrainian citizens have been forced to flee their homes for safer territories or find shelter underground from enemy bombing. “We were down there for a whole week with not enough food,” Lilia explains, describing the fraught conditions in the bunker. “To go to the toilet we had to run upstairs as [Russian] missiles were flying overhead. The children were terrified. But the video shows the world is united and stands with us, and that gives us hope.”
Since her viral performance, Amelia has since made it to safety in Poland with her grandmother and 15-year-old brother. Her parents reportedly stayed behind to provide aid and cook for the troops defending Ukraine’s capital. As Amelia’s song continues to spread around the world, we can only hope that conditions will allow them and the countless other families torn apart by the war to be reunited soon.
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This video of a little girl singing Frozen‘s “Let It Go” from a basement bomb shelter in Ukraine has gone viral.
— Ankita Jain (@Ankita20200) March 6, 2022
Original singer, Idina Menzel, and the composer of the song were both touched by the girl's heartfelt performance.
We see you. We really, really see you. 💙💛 https://t.co/Vhln1MjXpX
— Idina Menzel (@idinamenzel) March 7, 2022
Dear Little Girl with the beautiful voice,
My husband and I wrote this song as part of a story about healing a family in pain. The way you sing it is like a magic trick that spreads the light in your heart and heals everyone who hears it. Keep singing! We are listening! https://t.co/j8CnDSNJw8
— Kristen Anderson-Lopez (@Lyrikris10) March 7, 2022
The 7-year-old girl in the video, named Amelia, has since made it to safety in Poland with her grandmother and brother.
GREAT NEWS UPDATE:
Remember Amelia, whose performance of Let It Go in a bomb shelter moved the world?
She just made it safely to Poland. https://t.co/qwvnOFSTlD
— Goodable (@Goodable) March 9, 2022