Tag Archives: Russia

Artist Profiles: Namgar

Namgar

Singer Namgar Ayushievna Lhasaranova is the leader of the band and her name was used to call the entire group. She grew up in a Buryat family in the tiny village of Kunkur near the border crossing of Russia, Mongolia, and China. She comes from a long family line of shamans. The other original members of the Moscow-based band are Jipo (Eugene Zolotaryov), Namgar’s husband, who comes from Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, and plays the chanza lute; Altay (Altangerel Khishigtogtokh), a young Mongolian musician who plays the morin huur (horse-head fiddle); and Urna (Urantugs Jamiyan), a Mongolian woman from Uliastai, Mongolia, who plays yataga, an ancient zither

In the heart of Siberia, under bottomless blue sky, Namgar’s songs were born. She mastered the mysteries of the great wide open and the voices of spirits of mountains and forests. She loves the melodies sung by her grandmother and her father and desires to maintain the tradition that is becoming extinct. Namgar sings long songs and yokhor dance tunes, uliger legends of mighty champions, precise arrows, and swift horses, just as they were sung ages ago, with arrangements that make her music appealing to world music fans.

The Hori Buryat tribes to which Namgar belongs, historically were supporters of Genghis Khan and important commanders of the Mongol Invasion. Their songs and dances date back to the glorious times of the Mongolian Empire, preserving many genres and songs that became extinct in the other parts of Mongolian world.

Buryats live in the Russian Federation, where it borders with Mongolia and Manchuria. Buddhism, Shamanism, and the natural beauty of South Siberia contributed to their tradition. They share a lot of musical themes with their relatives, the Mongolians, with a special attention to dance tunes that became extinct in Mongolia.

The group made their first appearance on the international stage at Riddu Riddu Festival in Norway in 2002, along with Mari Boine and a bunch of other world music celebrities.

In October 2003, Namgar released their first official CD, titled “Hatar” (round dance). It features first ever collection of Buryat all-time favorites that are quite distinct and neatly arranged. It was a group of enthusiastic young people from Moscow who started a label called Sketis Music, specializing in world music, who gave the opportunity to the group to record their album, because they were sure this music was fantastic. The album cover was designed by Dashi Namdakov, the most prominent young artist among the Buryats.

In June 2006, the arranger and producer Leonid Vorobyev joined the group and added to authentic sound of the group a modern electronic, rock and jazz elements.

Discography

Hatar (Sketis Music, 2003)
Nomad (2008)

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Artist Profiles: Namgar Ayushievna Lhasaranova

Namgar Ayushievna Lhasaranova

Namgar Ayushievna Lhasaranova grew up in a Buryat family in the tiny village of Kunkur near the border crossing of Russia, Mongolia, and China. She comes from a long family line of shamans that preserved the Buryat musical tradition. She started performing traditional Buryat music on stage in mid-1980s. Since that time, Namgar has performed solo in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and the USA, singing traditional songs and playing the zither yataga.

Namgar sings long songs and yokhor dance tunes, uliger legends of mighty champions, precise arrows, and swift horses, just as they were sung ages ago, with arrangements that make her music appealing to world music fans.

The Hori Buryat tribes to which Namgar belongs, historically were supporters of Genghis Khan and important commanders of the Mongol Invasion. Their songs and dances date back to the glorious times of the Mongolian Empire, preserving many genres and songs that became extinct in the other parts of Mongolian world.

In 1999, 2000, and 2001 she took part in the Norwegian world music festival Riddu-Riddu where she shared the stage with Jerry Alfred, Bolot Bairyshev, Mari Boine, Chirgilchin, Anneli Drecker, Lucie Idlout, Derek Miller, Sabjilar, Pamyua and other prominent native and world music artists.

She leads her own band called Namgar.

Discography

Hatar (Sketis Music, 2003)
Nomad (2008)

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Artist Profiles: Leonsia Erdenko

Leonsia Erdenko

Russian vocalist Leonsia Erdenko was born in 1972. She is the daughter of the famous Roma singer Nikolay Erdenko. Leonsia has been performing since 1987. She started her musical career with the band Djang that was led by her parents – Nikolay and Rozaliya Erdenko. Leonsia devoted herself to intensive study of music, especially playing the piano, dancing and singing.

In collaboration with the composer George Barkin they recorded in 1997 album The new Gypsy music that contained well-known Romani melodies in a modern concept. Less than 3 years later she and Alexey Bezlepkin gave rise to a new band, Trio Erdenko. Furthermore, she traveled the world with the famous band Loyko, with which she recorded three discs.

Leonsia not only performs concerts throughout the world, but also cooperates with various artists in their recordings (e.g. !DelaDap, Garik Sukachev) and is also active in the film industry (historical movie – One night of love).

 

Discography:

Gypsyroad

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Andrey Vinogradov to perform at Hyperion

Russian composer and arranger Andrey Vinogradov (a former member of the legendary Russian band Arsenal) is set to play on hurdy-gurdy March 30th, 2017 at Hyperion club, Moscow.

You will hear Andrey’s own songs and instrumental compositions, as well as Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Greek, Austrian music, contemporary classical melodies, and jazz improvisation on hurdy-gurdy. This exact instrument was made by Wolfgang Weichselbaumer from Austria.

Andrey participated at several prestigious folk festivals recently like Krutushka (Kazan, 2015), EuroFolk (Bulgaria, 2015), Medunarodni Festival Tradicijskih Glazbala (Croatia, 2015), Manor Jazz Rosa Khutor (Russia, 2016), Music on the river (Russia, 2016), and Pilsen Busking Fest (Czech Republic, 2016).

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Interview with Russian Folk Singer Alyona Minulina

For about 4 years Alyona Minulina has been known as Alyona FolkBeat – a beautiful folk singer and beatbox musician from a rising star group FolkBeat. In February 2017 Russian label FireStorm production released their new album “I’m marching on my own” that was recorded and produced by Alyona but at the same time their fans were shocked by news about her leaving the project. Alyona tells us what happened and what’s next.

Q:How did the group FolkBeat get started?

Alyona Minulina: FolkBeat grew up from a student’s ensemble. It was called differently and consisted of a large number of participants. Later I began to study beatbox and electronic music, so I thought it was interesting to combine it with Russian folk songs. So FolkBeat has traditional Slavic polyphony, surrounded by electronic arrangement, which is close to the styles of EDM trap, dubstep, trance and crunk. The compositions are often performed with beatbox – imitation of drum machines and music effects using vocal apparatus and articulation organs.

 

Alyona Minulina

 

Q: How would you describe your musical journey so far?

AM: When we started we made music for ourselves and gradually our music started to be interesting to other people. We didn’t think about genres, we were passionate about making music with each other, it was really awesome. When we went on stage the audience felt our special energy.

Q: Did you perform in Europe or only in Russia?

AM: In 2016 Folkbeat took part at EuroRadio Festival and had a concert in Viljandi (Estonia). Besides this we visited Madrid, Munich, Athens and Tallinn with festival of Russian cultural FeelRussia.

Q: As I know – you love collaborating with different music genres and bands: what are the features of Russian folk music that makes it possible for you to collaborate with other musicians?

AM: The most interesting thing for me is the fact that people connect with each other, share cultures, and different genres and traditions mix too. Now I have plans to record some songs together with the master of throat singing Alexei Chichakov from Mountain Altai. This will be the connection of his own Altai traditions and Slavic melodies.

In every collaboration I’m looking for special feeling when the spark runs between musicians (chemistry in our relationship), because then, every performance becomes memorable for listeners. This is the highlight for me. Of course with Folkbeat we often had this feeling. When the head is full with ideas – I always find the way to realize them. But sometimes I get tired and I need to allow some rest for myself. This is the most difficult thing for me.

 

 

Q: What music instruments do you use?

AM: Different electronic things (loop station, keyboards), sometimes folk wind instruments like kugikly and kaliuk, khomus.

 

Alyona Minulina

 

Q: What can you tell us about the contemporary Russian folk scene?

AM: Despite the fact that the Russian folk scene is a real “folk star” and a budding young musicians, it hasn’t been formed yet. We do not have enough support and solidarity between each other. Although we have more opportunities for advancement than 10 years ago.

Q: How are your albums being received by audiences?

AM: Our first album «Joyful meeting» became favorite Russian-folk album on EBU Folk Festival in 2016. In Russia it was in the top twenty music albums of 2016. This year we released the album «Sama idu» (I’m marching on my own). We collaborated with different electronic musicians and DJs, so it can be classified as pop-folk.

Q: Who would you say are the leading influences in your musical career?

AM: My teachers, who always said something like this: pull yourself and work, work hard, if you really love it.

Q: So what happened to FolkBeat?

AM: With Folkbeat we are friends, but we do not work together anymore. If the world gives us a chance to sing together again, I will take this chance.

Now I work on original songs album with the texts of famous Russian poets from XX century. And together with Jewish, Armenian, Russian musicians and composer from Canada, Ivan Popov, we have created a world music project “Under The Same Sky” which intertwined tunes and melodies of different national cultures. In March we will have a concert of Slavic-Jewish music.

 

Alyona Minulina

 

Q: Are Russian audiences, venues, labels and artists open to collaboration?

AM: It depends on various factors, but if you play interesting music, you can always find a way.

Q: Where do you see yourself 10 or 15 years from today?

AM: I see myself chewing pasta in my favorite little pizzeria in Italy, resting in a cozy wooden house on the Solovetsky Islands in Russia, and playing my set at the Burning Man.

Q: Do you also teach workshops for students and musicians?

 

Alyona Minulina

 

AM: I opened vocal beatbox and body percussion workshops named “Pulse” in Moscow recently and it’s getting popular. I have a lot of new ideas and projects in my head and I hope my music experience with FolkBeat will help me to create something really unique and internationally interesting.

Videos:

 

 

 

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Artist Profiles: Eugene Zolotaryov

Eugene Zolotaryov is known artistically as Jipo. He is married to singer Namgar Ayushievna Lhasaranova. Jipo comes from Ulan-Ude, Buryatia. Originally from a Chita Polish family, he graduated from East Siberian Institute of Culture.

Originally bass guitar player in Ulan-Ude bands, he met Namgar, who came to join his group Selenga as a lead vocalist. In the group Namgar, Eugene plays chanza. Chanza is a long-necked spiked lute with an oval wooden frame and snake skin covering stretched over both faces. The three strings are fixed to a bar, which is inserted in the body. The instrument is struck or plucked with a plectrum made of horn or with the fingers. As the tones do not echo, every note is struck several times.

Discography

* Hatar (Sketis Music, 2003)
* Nomad (2008)

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Artist Profiles: Bady-Dorzhu Ondar

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar – Photo by John O’Hara, Whitefish Bay Herald

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar was born in the village of Iyme. In May 2006, he was awarded Best in Competition among xoomei performers on the 85th birthday of the popular throat singer Maxim Dakpai. He was given a horse (a very valued award in Tuva) as grand prize.
In July 2005, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar won the Best Vocals category at the Ustuu-Huree Festival, and in September 2005 he was given a special award at the 4th All-Russia Festival of Folk Orchestras, dedicated to Kalinin and held at the Saratov Folk Arts Center.

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar’s career started early. At the age of eight, the young throat singer started to perform with his teacher, the distinguished xoomeizhi Kongar-ool Ondar. The teacher and student were guests on one of the most highly rated American TV late night programs, the David Letterman Show. Later, 9-year-old Bady-Dorzhu Ondar performed Tuvan throat singing on another popular show, hosted by popular comedian Chevy Chase.

In 1999 Bady-Dorzhu Ondar became one of the founders of The Alash Ensemble. The group was formed in the basement of the Kyzyl Arts College in Tuva’s capital city. Originally known as Changy-Xaya, Alash became the resident traditional ensemble at the school.

In December of 2007, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar (who was 23-years old) was awarded the title People’s Xoomeizhi of Tuva. The title People’s Xoomeizhi is an honor bestowed by the president of Tuva in recognition of a throat singer’s artistic accomplishment.

Discography:

Alash Live at the Enchanted Garden (2006)
Alash (2007)
Buura (2011)
Achai (2013)

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Time-honored Songs of Western Siberia

Vasilyev Vecher – Siberia Land. Russian traditional songs of the Western Siberia (Sketis Music SKMR-108, 2014)

The Vasilyev Vecher a cappella ensemble specializes in traditional Russian music from Western Siberia. On their album Siberia Land, Russian traditional songs of the Western Siberia (Земля Сибирь – Песни села Богословка) the vocalists deliver a set of songs that is fruit of their extensive research.

The Vasilyev Vecher musicians from Tomsk have studied vocal music and folk dances from elders in Western Siberia and recreate the characteristic style of polyphonic and call and response songs. These traditions were brought to Western Siberia by farmers who arrived there throughout the 15-18 centuries. Additionally, Vasilyev Vecher’s members also research traditional costumes, food, celebrations, and traditional crafts. The artists wear traditional outfits during their performances.

The ensemble’s name Vasilyev Vecher (Васильев вечер) means St. Basil’s Day Eve, which is one of the most popular Russian traditional holidays. Alexander Bespalov is the ensemble’s artistic director. Daniil Krapchunov is the scientific supervisor.

The CD booklet contains lyrics and liner notes in Russian with song title translations in English.

Siberia Land is a fascinating recording of traditional songs from Western Siberia.

Buy Siberia Land. Russian traditional songs of the Western Siberia in the Americas

Buy Siberia Land. Russian traditional songs of the Western Siberia in Europe

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