Tag Archives: Russia

Renaissance of the Vargan

Vladimir Markov – Out of time. Russian jew’s harp music

Vladimir Markov – Out of time. Russian jew’s harp music (Sketis Music, SKMR-126, 2017)

The jew’s harp had disappeared in Russia until Vladimir Markov (Владимир Марков) and other enthusiasts revived it. Markov, a musician from Irkutsk conducted research and started playing the vargan, the Russian jew’s harp in the 1990s.

Out of time – Russian jew’s harp music (Вне времён. Русская варганная музыка) is Markov’s vision of how the vargan was used. It’s a fascinating album of traditional Russian folk songs adapted to jew’s harp.

Buy Out of time. Russian jew’s harp music

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Old Believers Chants from Western Russia

Choir Of Russian Pomor Old Believers Community of Veliky Novgorod – Oh, My Brethren and Sisters…

Choir Of Russian Pomor Old Believers Community of Veliky Novgorod – Oh, My Brethren and Sisters… (Sketis Music, 2016)

Oh, My Brethren and Sisters… is an album of traditional Russian spiritual verses performed by the Choir of Russian Pomor Old Believers Community of Veliky Novgorod. The Old Believers mix choral folk music and spiritual influences from the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Old Believers continue the liturgical and ritual practices of the pre-reform Russian Orthodox Church. The religious chants featured here are performed by the Pomor Old Believers choir from the western Russian city of Veliky Novgorod.

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Artist profiles: Huun-Huur-Tu

Huun-Huur-Tu

If you were to journey to the geographical center of Asia you would reach Tuva, an autonomous republic on the Russian-Mongolian border. This is the home of Huun-Huur-Tu a group of fascinating overtone- and throat-singers whose language can be traced from Turkish and whose culture reflects many similarities to that of Mongolia. Tuvan throat-singers produce up to three notes simultaneously by selectively amplifying harmonics naturally present in their voices. Traditionally attired the quartet alternates between solo and ensemble works.

Sasha Bapa his brother Sayan and two other musicians Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and Albert Kuvezin formed Huun-Huur-Tu in 1992 to focus on the performance of as Sasha put it “old and forgotten songs”. Sasha Sayan and Kaigal-ool were refugees from one of the large state-managed song and dance ensembles that became a fixture of official cultural life during the Soviet era. For decades these ensembles with their glitzy performances of folk music or pseudo folk music offered close to the only outlet for young musicians who wanted to earn a living playing indigenous music. But as the music business has become increasingly privatized throughout the former Soviet Union many musicians have abandoned the state ensembles and formed their own groups. The musical results have been decidedly mixed.

At the same time that the members of Huun-Huur-Tu have devoted themselves to learning old songs and tunes their performances reflect the values of innovation as much as tradition. For example the very notion of an ensemble like Huun-Huur-Tu is new to Tuva: Most Tuvan music has traditionally been performed by a solo singer or instrumentalist and musicians have tended to specialize in a particular genre or musical style. These genres and styles in turn have deep roots in particular kinds of social occasions. By contrast Huun-Huur-Tu’s eclectic concert presentations of old songs and tunes fall between the cracks of Tuvan musical life.

In Tuva there’s still no real context for what we do,” says Sasha Bapa. “We perform there only rarely because it’s so difficult for an independent group like ours: where can we find a good hall and sound equipment and transportation to get there? How can we deal with all the government and commercial structures that still control a lot of the booking? And who can offer fees that will support us even modestly as professional musicians? Kaigal-ool Khovalyg the musical leader of our group might be better known in America than in Tuva. We’re trying to preserve our musical heritage but at the same time we’re trying to look forward. If a musical tradition stops evolving it is destined to die.”

Kaigal-ool Khovalyg – voice, igil, doshpuluur, Chanzy

Anatoly Kuular – voice, byzaanchi ,khomuz, amarga

Sayan Bapa – voice, doshpuluur, marinhuur, guitar

Alexey Saryglar – voice, tungur (drum), dazhaaning, khavy (rattle)

Discography:

6 Horses In My Herd (USA: Shanachie 645 1993 – Europe: JARO 4196-2, 1996)

Fly Fly My Sadness with The Bulgarian Voices – Angelite (JARO 4197-2, 1996)

Orphan’s Lament (USA: Shanachie 6458 1997 – Europe: JARO 424-2, 1997)

If I’d Been Born An Eagle (USA: Shanachie 648 1997 – Europe: JARO 4216-2, 1998)

Mountain Tale with The Bulgarian Voices – ANGELITE (JARO 4212-2, 1998)

Where Young Grass Grows (Shanachie 6618, 1999)

Best Live (JARO 4236-2, 2001)

More Live (JARO 4246-2, 2002)

Spirits from Tuva (JARO 4243-2, 2002)

More Live (2003)

Altai Sayan Tandy-Uula (2004)

Live at Fantasy Studios (2008)

Mother-Earth! Father-Sky! (2008)

Eternal (2009)

Ancestors Call (World Village, 2010)

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One Beat Russia in Moscow This Weekend

Alexander Arkhincheev

OneBeat Russia will arrive to Moscow this weekend. The event brings together nine socially engaged musicians from Russia and the United States to compose, create and perform original music, and explore ways that music-making can build community across cultural and geographic divides.

OneBeat Russia is comprised of three one-week residencies, starting in the medieval city of Suzdal, continuing to Sviyazhsk Island and Kazan in Tatarstan, and ending with a week in Moscow, co-organized by Ground Khodynka.

Our one-of-a-kind ensemble will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Stravinsky’s ‘L’Histoire du Soldat,’ reimagining the work entirely while drawing inspiration from its original intent to use the power of myth and folk tales to bring art and music to people from all walks of life. Conversely, OneBeat Russia draws the sounds and stories of the public into the art world. In addition to performances and workshops, OneBeat Russia fellows and staff will produce original recordings, music videos, photos and social media to share the experience with wider audiences.

In times of challenged US-Russia relations, this program emphasizes the creative connections and enduring good will between the people and artistic communities of the United States and Russia.

Moscow

Saturday, June 24: Powerhouse Moscow — 8pm — Free admission
Sunday, June 25: Ground Khodynka — 4pm/8pm — 100 Rubles

Participants:

Alexander Arkhincheev – morin huur, vocalist
Alexander Serechenko – electronic musician, saxophonist
Marina Vishnyakova – composer, violinist
Daryana Antipova – drummer, vocalist
Diana Burkot – drummer, sound artist
Andrey Dolgov – balalaika, domra player
Aquil Charlton – electronic musician, rapper
Eduardo Valencia – percussionist
Aurora Nealand – clarinetist, saxophonist, singer

More at 1beat.org

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Spellbinding Indian Trance Sounds from Moscow

Zaindiveli – Sagar (SKMR-134, 2016)

Zaindiveli is a remarkable project from Russia. The ensemble combines mesmerizing ambient electronics and trip hop with electric and acoustic musical instruments. The musicians are deeply influenced by Indian music and jazz as well.

Highlights include the opening track, “Sagar” that features rich electronic textures. Track 3, “Wheel Prayer (Prayer Wheels Remake”) features Indian tabla, bansuri and Indian-style violin accompanied by electronic textures and beats. The violin performance is spectacular and leaves you wanting more.

Other goodies include the rhythmic “Ouimix” featuring a combination of electronic and acoustic rhythms.

The Indian influences return on “Haldi” with more masterful violin work.

The final track is also a high point. It’s a meditative piece with electroacoustic ambience and Indian-style vocals.

Zaindiveli was developed by two Moscow-based multi-instrumentalists, Gennady Lavrentiev and Kirill Parenchuk in the 1990s. Additional musicians were later added, including Oleg Mariakhin on saxophones, Sergey “Grebstel” Kalachov on bass, Andrey Demidenko on dhrupad vocals and bansuri, Dmitry Losev on keyboardss and electroacoustics and Vladislava Yakupova on bila (Russian flat bells).

Despite the smooth jazz saxophone on a couple of tracks, the overall result is very satisfactory. The electronics and Indian music influences are beautifully composed and masterfully performed.

Buy the digital download version of or the CD from sketismusic.bandcamp.com

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Artist Profiles: Chirgilchin

Chirgilchin – Photo by Gary Ehlenberger

Chirgilchin are the 1998 champions of the Tuvan national throat singing competitions in Kyzyl the capital of Tuva. Chirgilchin means either mirage or miracle in the Tuvan language.

In 1996 Alexander Bapa also the founder and producer of Tuvan Throat Singing group Huun Huur Tu gathered the cream of the younger generation of Tuvan musicians and formed Chirgilchin. One of the group’s more extraordinary features is the appearance of a Female Throat Singer which is still quite uncommon in Tuva.

All Chirgilchin’s songs are in the Tuvan language and the group plays instruments such as the Doshpuluur – a kind of lute with two strings the Igil – a violin with two strings the Limbi – a trapezoid harmonic soundbox Flute and the Dymbra – a rattle drum used by the Tuvan Shamans in their rituals.

 

Chirgilchin

 

A Chirgilchin performance will also get the public acquainted with shamanism. The Tuvan religious culture is primarily shamanistic but for some hundreds of years has also been strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism [or Lamaism as they call it]. Indeed many people note the relationship between some Tuvan throat singing styles and the religious chanting of Tibetan lamas.

Throat-singing or overtone singing is the audible expression of producing two or more notes at once. This startling technique was developed in response to the sounds of the natural environment in which Central Asian nomadic tribes roamed.

A particularly rich throat-singing tradition survives in Tuva and neighboring Mongolia. In these areas marked by vast grasslands and mountain ranges throat singing is called khoomei. The singer produces overtones by varying the shape of his mouth and pharynx; as a result two three or even four distinct tones can be heard at once. The fundamental tone remains constant while melodies are sung with the highest overtone resembling the sound of a flute.

Line-up:

Aydysmaa Kandan: female vocalist khomus (Tuvan mouth harp) tenchik (bells)

Mongoun-ool Ondar: throat singing (5 styles) igil morin-khuur khomus
vocals.

Igor Koshkendei: throat-singing (5 styles) igil morin-khuur doshpuluur khomus guitar.

Aldar Tamdyn: throat singing (kargyraa and khoomei styles) morin-khuur doshpuluur limbi igil

Alexander Bapa: founder producer arranger manager. Founder of Huun Huur Tu producer of their first two CDs (6 Horses in my Herd and The Orphans Lament)

Discography:

The Wolf and the Kid (Shanachie, 1996)
Aryskan’s Wind (1999)
Ezir-Kara (2002)
Collectible (2005)
Will Teach (2006)
Pictures of Tuva (2008)
Kaldak Khamar (2009)

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Artist Profiles: Reelroad

Reelroad in 2008

Reelroad plays traditional Russian music in an original post-folk style in concert halls and festivals throughout Europe and Russia.

In 2008 the band crossed the Atlantic to perform at world music festivals in Mexico and the United States. In early 2009 Reelroad celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Reelroad’s repertoire favors obscure folk songs from northern Russia and central Siberia, music driven underground for decades. Reelroad has two styles of performing Russian folk music. The first echoes the village with the sound of Russian instruments such as the gusli (zither), zhaleika (fife) and kaljuka.

Traditional vocals are prominent, due in part to Reelroad members Anastasia Karaseva and Aleksandrs Dmitrijevs, founders of the traditional village choir “Dubinushka.” Acoustic guitar, violin, flute and bagpipes round out the sound.

In the second style, developed for the large stage, Reelroad projects and amplifies the village sound with bass guitar and drums. All seven Reelroad members are musicians. Four serve as vocalists as well, singing in traditional Russian village vocal style.

Anastasia Karaseva plays the tin whistle, Spanish pandereta and Irish harp.

Alexey Belkin manages Reelroad and plays Galician and Scottish bagpipes, zhaleika (fife) and winged gusli (dulcimer).

Aleksandrs “Kep” Dmitrijevs plays acoustic guitar, banjo and harmonica.

Natalia Vysokikh is a professional violinist.

Alexey Skosyrev made the fretless bass guitar he plays, as well as Anastasia’s harp.

Svetlana Kondesyuk, a graduate of the Academy of Arts, plays the flute and Galician bagpipes.

Denis Nikiforov learned to play the drums in the army, studied at the Academy of Arts, and works at the famous Hermitage museum.

In addition to concert performances, Reelroad teaches Russian folk dances in clubs and dance schools. The band welcomes dancers of all skill levels and aims to dispel the belief Russian folk dances are boring or difficult.

Discography

Reelroad (2001)
Стрела – Arrow (2003)
Гуляю, гуляю – I Walk I Walk (2007)
Выйду за ворота – Past the gates (2014)
На море орёл (single) (2016)

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Russian World Music Awards Accepting Admissions

The second edition of the Russian World Music Awards application process is now open until July 15, 2017. To apply, go to worldmusicawards.ru. The voting process will be held during 15 days – from July 15 till July 31. People choose the best nominee for the Listeners Choice nomination until July 31. The jury will evaluate nominees based on 4 criteria: professionalism, authenticity, experimentalism, personal attitude. The winners will be presented in 5 categories: The Best Authentic Project, The Best Experimental Project, The Best World Music Project, The Best New World Music Project, and Listeners Choice Award.

 

 

 

In 2017 jury members are Ben Mandelson from the UK, Jarmila Vlchkova from Slovakia, Nataliya Shostina from Russia, Simon Broughton from the UK, Aengus Finnan from the US, Rolf Beydemuller from Germany, Alexander Cheparukhin from Russia, Arne Berg from Norway, Andrew Cronshaw from the UK, Carlos Seixas from Portugal and Yury Romanov from Russia. In total, 11 samurais and absolutely wonderful people.

 

Organizers and musicians at Russian World Music Awards 2016

 

The first Russian World Music Awards Ceremony was held in November 2016 in Moscow. The winners were chosen from a large amount of nominees for the first time – 149 applicants from 25 cities of Russia. The best world music project was Authentic Light Orchestra; the best experimental, Inna Zhelannaya; the best authentic project, Nerechtskiy Rozhechniy Choir; and Listeners choice, Robert Yuldashev and Kuraisy band.

 

Nerechtskiy Rozhechniy Choir, winners of best authentic project award at Russian World Music Awards 2016

 

Nerechtskiy Rozhechniy Choir

 

Jury members in 2016 were 9 professionals from 7 countries: Juliana Voloz from Estonia, Ton Maas from the Netherlands, Johannes Theurer from Germany, Andrey Kataev from Russia, Timur Davletov from Turkey, Tristra Newyear Yeager from the USA, Aengus Finnan from the USA, Joe Boyd from the UK, and Ankur Malhotra from India.

 

Andrey Kataev, member of Russian World Music Awards 2016 jury

 

 

It was a big surprise for us, organizers, that our idea with the world music awards had a resonance in hearts of many people, the activity in social nets was really impressing! Over 2000 visitors per day! Organizers are Natalia Myazina and Daryana Antipova.

 

Alyona Halepo, Alexander Eremin, Natalia Myazina, Juliana Voloz at Russian World Music Awards 2016

 

We ordered handcrafted statues with the symbol of our Awards – a bird, made of cedar wood in Siberia. Totally we spent about 500 dollars for all the project work.

In 2017 year we are planning to present our winners at WOMEX in Poland. And this year it’s going to be free for the musicians to apply to our Awards. As what we offer is really a substantial deal: an international and Russian jury will listen to nominee’s music, will watch their video, we publish the band’s profile at all our social media, so later bands will be in our compilation CD and online (for the best nominees), so many new people will know about nominees music and can become their fans!

 

Natalia Myazina and Alexander Eremin at Russian World Music Awards 2016

 

Some people ask us why we are positioning ourselves as an international project. The answer is vivid, we almost don’t have a world music market in Russia. Our bands are traveling abroad to earn money. The Russian reality is that world music is an unknown term for our specialists; we misunderstand ethnic and folk music, often taking communist lubok balalaika and garmoshka as national folk. That’s why we gather international specialists for the Awards’ jury, as we see the lack of international-class specialists in world music in Russia. We hope this will change in the future, and our mission is to be the locomotive of this process in Russia.

 

The best authentic project – Nerechtskiy Rozhechniy Choir

 

The best world music project Authentic Light Orchestra

 

The best experimental project – Inna Zhelannaya

 

Listeners choice – Robert Yuldashev and Kuraisy band

 

The Russian World Music Awards welcome professional bands and soloists, performing in world music genre living in Russia. How do we determine who is professional and who is amateur? We decided that to be a professional musician in world music is not about documents, diplomas, it’s about listener’s’ choice. It’s impossible to lie to people, they feel what has a resonance in their hearts, and what does not. That’s why a professional musician for us is who has a vast concert activity and has at least 1 album.

info@worldmusicawards.ru
www.russianworldmusicawards.ru
https://vk.com/russianworldmusicawards

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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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