Tag Archives: Russian music

Artist Profiles: Iva Nova

Iva Nova in 2016 – Photo by Vladimir Ubushiev

Iva Nova (Ива Нова) was formed in St. Petersburg in 2002, when five young Russian ladies met to create a new collective of musicians. All of them had extensive experience playing gigs with various groups. They started a new band combining the tunes and instrumentation of traditional Slavonic music with the energy and attitude of rock.

Their original songs, sung by Vera Ogaryova, with tunes and lyrics based on the riches of folk music, are catchy and sensitive.

Line Up: Vera Ogaryova – lead vocals; Katherina Fedorova – drums; and percussion; Inka Lishentevich – guitar, vocals; Elena Zhornik – bayan (Russian accordion), vocals; Elena Nokikova – bass


Live 2002 (2002)
Iva Nova – Ива Нова (Soyuz Outpost, 2003)
Suitcase – Чемодан (Geometria, 2006)
To Yourself Gently – К Себе Нежно (Geometria, 2010)
20 V. Live From WackelsteinFestival (Geometria, 2013)
Twisted Saw – Крутила Пила (Geometria, 2014)
Uba Khoba (Geometria, 2018)


Artist Profiles: Vedan Kolod

Vedan Kolod

The Ensemble of Slavonic Ethnic Music Vedan Kolod (meaning Prophetic tree) was created in February 2005 in Siberia, Russia, by Tatyana Naryshkina. In July of 2005 Vedan Kolod won the prize as the best Russian folk band in the International World Music Festival Ustuu-Huree.

In the summer of 2007 at the biggest Russian International Ethnic festival Vedan Kolod was the best in the Nomination Ethno-Experiment.

Vedan Kolod composes its own material, but it is based on recent research and analysis carried out by archaeologists and folklore specialists, interpreting events in ancient, pagan Russia before the coming of Christians coming. Vedan Kolod shows the culture of original Russian traditions and songs.

During its history, Vedan Kolod had revived numerous almost forgotten Russian folk instruments: gusli, ocarina, Slavonic drums, Scythian horn, sharkuncy and others, – restored, mastered and reconstructed by musical master Valerii Naryshkin. All these ancient kinds of instruments are used actually in a program of the Ensemble, as well as a low throat style of singing which existed in Ancient Russia. All songs are played without any electronic processing, just live.

Members: Tatyana Naryshkina – group leader. Plays vocal, flutes, Slavonic drums, ocarina, fuyara, vargan and others; Valerii Naryshkin – musical instrument maker, on vocals, two kinds of gusli, Scythian horn, ocarina, Slavonic drums, vargan, zhaleika, Slavonic bagpipe, fuyara, gudok and others; Daryana Antipova – Art-manager, on vocal, Slavonic big and small drums, fuyara, sharkuncy; and Polina Lisitsa – Slavonic small drum, vocal, lozhki, sharkuncy, flutes, vargan


Plemena – Tribes (2005)
Tanec leshih – The dance of the wood spirits ( Sketis Music , 2007 )
Волчья Тропа – Wolf Trail ‎( Slavic Sunrise, 2008)
У Кривой Дороги ‎- At Curve Road (Crossroads Records, 2010)
Слово О Полку Игореве – Word About the Regiment of Igor ‎(2011)
Site of ancient settlement ‎( Slavic Sunrise , 2014)


Artist Profiles: Vladiswar Nadishana

Vladiswar Nadishana

Vladiswar Nadishana is a Russian multi-instrumentalist and composer, who creates his own path in music, design, dancing, rites and other life processes.

His music style is ethnic fusion, ethnic jazz or world fusion – the creative synthesis of different musical traditions of the world on the basis of contemporary technologies.

In 1990, along with studying at the Cinema Engineers Institute in Saint Petersburg, Vladiswar Nadishana began his self-education in playing guitar. Then he mastered other instruments like fretless bass guitar, sitar, mandola, chanzy, jew’s harp, ethnopercussion (darbuka, jembe, kalangu, udu, frame drums); winds (bansuri, quena, kalyuka, zhaleyka, gayda). In addition, he has created some experimental musical instruments: dzuddahord, pruzhingum, plastrimbaphon, rablorrum, ghostcatcher, pin-sansa, spring-pivot-gamelan, banbang (beer and coffee-tins), etc.

In 1991 he founded his first group Soulbuilding Society together with Lavrenty Mganga, then he played in Ensemble Ri,with Lavrenty and Youl (1996). He also launched two other projects with Youl: phonic Duet (1994) and The Fourth Race (2001).

2000 -was the foundation year of a trio Russian-Tuvan Karma Knot with a throat singer from Tuva, Ayas Holazhyk. Vladiswar also played in the group Capercaillies at the Treshold of Eternity.

In Berlin he worked with famous ethno DJ Genetic Drugs and with Ramesh Weeratunga, a musician from Sri Lanka . All these groups and artists create music based on an experimental synthesis of musical traditions from all over the world (ethno jazz, ethno fusion, new world music etc.)

Since 2000 Vladiswar lives in Tibercul, the biggest ecovillage of the world. There he established The Department of Sound Microsurgery (DSM) . DSM is a creative research laboratory, tackling a wide variety of project: from mastering unknown ancient musical instruments to investigating the influence of modern sound electronics on the human energy structure. The Department researches also how musical instruments influence the consciousness and inner organs of the human body (the project Move Your Chakra!).

V. Nadishana created several solo albums in his own studio, recording with a computer, using a multi-track overdubbing method. Vladiswar possesses a big collection of musical instruments (more than 100) from different parts of the world.

He is laureate of the international festivals Ustuu-Huree, The Sayan Ring and New Songs of the Old Lands, and he is also the founder of the ethnofestival Free of Karma Zone.


Takku Ta Tei (2000)
Penetration Into Substance (Sound Microsurgery Department, 2001)
The Traditional Music of Ancient Kuzhebar Aboriginies (2005)
Kuckhermann Duo, Vladiswar Nadishana, David Kuckhermann – Live At The Moscow Hang Festival (Sketis Music, 2012)


Artist Profiles: Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble

Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble (Dmitri seated on steps) and The Paul Winter Consort in 1987

In the early 1970s, Dmitri Pokrovsky was a student of conducting at Moscow’s Gnessin Pedagogical Institute of Music. Frustrated with the current musical scene, he felt the need to discover something fresh and different, something that would break all the old patterns and rules. He found it in a remote village in Russia, embedded within the oldest of traditions.

In the strange sound made by a group of old women singing, Pokrovsky heard songs passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. The songs were extraordinary, complicated, dense in form, and unknown in towns and cities. These were the Russian folk songs.

Dmitri Pokrovsky lectured at America’s Smithsonian Institute, Princeton University and the Omega Institute, and was a Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College, USA. Directing his Ensemble, Pokrovsky wrote numerous scores for films and was an active musical director in Russian theatre.

In 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev honored Pokrovsky with the Government Award, the Soviet Union’s highest recognition for artistic excellence, a testament to the scholarship, musicianship and vitality with which he and the Ensemble had preserved Russian tradition, culture and customs.

We began as collectors of folk songs. We traveled all over Russia , principally to the small villages and rural farming areas where songs and customs have remained the same for many, many years. We were to form a living library as well as a cultural laboratory. The great Russian composer of the 19th century Mikhail Glinka said, “songs are the soul of the nation“. We would like to share these songs with you as a window into the Russian soul.”

Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble

The renowned Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble was founded in 1973. Wearing traditional Russian village costumes and performing on ancient instruments, the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble brings the authentic folklore of Russia back to life. Some of their lively recreations of village songs, dances and pagan rituals are more than 2000 years old.

Since its founding, the Ensemble has been featured on the Paul Winter Consort’s Earthbeat tour (USA) and has given performances at numerous international festivals. The group has been featured in more than two dozen films, participated in many Russian theatrical pieces and appears regularly on Russian television.

Dmitri Pokrovsky died in 1996, but his legacy continues. The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble continues to perform worldwide.


Russian Folk Polyphonic Songs (1981)
Earthbeat, with The Paul Winter Consort (Living Music, 1987)
The Wild Field (Real World Records, 1991)
Gesichter Russlands – Faces Of Russia (Trikont, 1991)
Les Noces (Elektra Nonesuch, 1994)
Night In Galicia (CCn’C Records, 2000)
Voices Of Frozen Land (NBELIVE, 2002)
Nor Close To Town Nor Far (2008)
Russian Album (ART, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Julia Vorontsova

Julia Vorontsova

Julia Vorontsova was born in St. Petersburg Russia in 1982. After studying violin and piano for three years at St. Petersburg State Music School she started composing her own poetry and songs while teaching herself guitar. She completed High School in the USA, and later studied communications at Baruch College New York City .

Vorontsova grew up listening to the classic Russian bard folk singers such as Bulat Okudzhava, Yuri Vizbor and more recently Veronika Dolina. Vorontsova may be considered the most recent link to these Russian poets who flowered silently during the Soviet era. She has a singular & unique voice.

Her song writing is deeply melancholic, but playful. She sings in Russian, Polish and English. One can expect from a performance by Julia Vorontsova post-traditional bard moods of deep feeling informed by a more current acid folk approach.


From St. Petersburg With Love (2004)
Our Garden Circle (Foxglove, 2005
Over (Privet Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Karelian Folk Music Ensemble

Karelian Folk Music Ensemble

The Karelian Folk Music Ensemble (KPME) is the only touring group of musicians playing traditional folk songs and instrumentals of Karelia, a large region that is part in Russia and part in Finland. Warmly received wherever they perform, the KFME are the keepers of the flame for this distinctive ethnic music.

The Karelian Folk Music Ensemble is a professionally trained and widely traveled trio of singers and musicians from Petrozavodsk, in the Republic of Karelia, Russia. The ensemble’s music is an exciting and interesting mix of Finnish, Russian and Karelian cultures. They sing in Finnish, Karelian and Russian, as well as perform instrumental and dance music.

The ensemble first visited the US in 1991 as a university group with the Petrozavodsk State University. They have since released three recordings on the Gadfly label, including “The Karelian Folk Music Ensemble” (Gadfly 501, an all-instrumental CD) and “Ingrian Folk Songs” (Gadfly 504) which is a set of songs from the region.

The members of the group are:

Igor Arkhipoff – Igor is a graduate of the Petrozavodsk Conservatory of Music. He has been a featured presenter in the Petrozavodsk State University Folk Ensemble, Toive, and is now their music director. He is also the music historian and bell ringer for the island museum of Kizhi, the director of a Finnish choir, Inkeri, and is on the music staff of the Petrozavodsk State University. In addition to performing in Russia, he has toured the USA, Finland, Sweden, Poland and Iraq.

Alexander Bykadoroff – Sasha is a graduate of the Petrozavodsk Conservatory in Choral Conducting. He has been a choir director, and an orchestra conductor of the Karelian national folk ensemble, Kantele. As a child, he performed piano in competitions as a child prodigy and since then has added many other instruments. He is a composer and music arranger and is currently the musical director of a folk group Myllarit. With Myllarit, he has toured Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the USA, Canada, Scotland and Germany.

Arto Rinne – Arto is a graduate of Petrozavodsk State University and was also a member of the Folk Ensemble Toive. He started his musical career as a singer in a boys’ choir when he was six. He sings and plays many instruments. Currently he performs with the folk group Myllarit and with them, has toured Russia, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Norway, the USA, Scotland and Germany.


The Karelian Folk Music Ensemble (Gadfly Records, 1995)
Ingrian Folk Songs (Gadfly Records, 1997)
From The Land Of The Kalevala (Gadfly Records, 2001)
Winds Of The Past (Center Of Cultural Initiatives “Myllärit”, 2004)
Toive (Sketis Music)


Artist Profiles: Myllarit


Myllärit was a seven person, 16 instrument Karelian-Finnish vocal and instrumental folk band from Russia. The group came together in 1992, an outgrowth of the pairing of world-class accordionist Sergei Zobnev and Alexander Bykadorov, who traveled Europe together playing Karelian and Russian folk music in the streets.

The unique sound of Myllarit combined ancient traditions of Karelian-Finnish epic, the Kalevala, Karelian, Finnish and North-Russian folk tunes with elements of rock, jazz, and world music. “Karelia represents a rich mixture of so many different cultures,” said Zobnev. “Our rather severe climatic conditions help to hone this musical style. It is the music of the Russian pomors (White Sea coast natives) and Finnish and Karelian songs. It all mixes together and provides food for Myllarit.”

Line Up: Alexandr Bykadorov “Deda”: guitars, vocals; Janna Lebdejeva: fiddles, vocals; Leo Sevets: lead vocals, kantele and juhikko; Andrew Lukin: drums, percussion, didgeridoo; Roman Ershihin: electric bass, vocals; Andrey Brazevich: accordion; Sergey Klevenskiy: wind instruments.

Sergei Zobnev left the band in 2008. Alexander Bykadorov died in 2010. After his death, Myllärit decided to disband.


Eta Pravda (Mipu Music Oy, 1997)
In The Light Of The White Night (1999)
A Voi Voi! Karelian Fever (Pilfink Records, 2000)
The 10th Spring (Center Of Cultural Initiatives “Myllärit”, 2002)
Saaren Synty / Birth Of An Island (Center Of Cultural Initiatives “Myllärit”, 2003)
Metsolan Kuningas (Center Of Cultural Initiatives “Myllärit”, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Svetilen


The ensemble of ancient Russian music Svetilen was formed in 1989 to preserve the old Russian vocal tradition. This style is reflected in two types of singing: church singing and secular singing. Both are marked by the meaning of the sacred word. This testifies to their common “starting point” and the same cultural and musical background. Musical compositions are usually performed a capella, but sometimes ancient Russian instruments such as gusli and koliosnaya lira are used giving a peculiar sound.

Svetilen tries to evaluate this legacy from the view points of modern people and to bring new conceptions to old Russian choral culture. The search for original choral arrangements, rhythmic patterns and harmonies, reflecting the character and forms of sacred and folk music is the main guideline for Svetilen.

The specific profile of the ensemble is based upon two characteristic features. First, the sound quality has a distinctive open ethnographical manner, used to perform sacred music. The leader of the ensemble D. Garkavi makes this strategy quite relevant, following the results of musicological researches. He considers this style dominating in old Russia, when neither monks nor congregations had any notion of Western academic choral traditions. Secondly, the repertoire of the group includes liturgical, folk and modern music. The most original item in the program of the ensemble is a set of spiritual chants, arranged by D. Garkavi.
Svetilen doesn’t only bring old Russian music to contemporary audiences. It is concerned about the genetic memory and the idea of national identity. D. Garkavi and his six professional partners are united in their care about restoration and promotion of old Russian choral culture.

The group has participated in numerous festival in Russia and abroad and has won several internal awards.

The ensemble “Svetilen” consists of seven professional singers:
Sopranos: Alena Maksimova, Tatiana Vagatcheva
alto – Loubov Shagalova
tenors – Dmitri Garkavi, Sergey Kondratiev
basses – Roman Kholodov, Dmitri Loushnikov
Choirmaster – Loubov Shagalova
Director – Dmitri Garkavi


From East To West (Ivtelecom, 2001)
Russia: Popular And Traditional Songs (Harmonia Mundi, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Terem Quartet

The Terem Quartet is one of the leading proponents of “new Russian folk music” on the international music scene today. The Terem Quartet was founded more than 13 years ago, when the participants were still music students in St. Petersburg. Mischa Dziudze explains the choice of the ensemble’s name: “Originally the word terem describes a loft, and therefore the place in which virgins used to live in the house before their marriage. Today, it is generally used to describe a pretty Russian-style house, but also,” he adds, “a wonderful place in which many different animals live in peace together, as in a Russian fairy-tale world.”

The group was already well known in Russia when Peter Gabriel discovered them in 1991 and immediately brought them into the recording studio. The Terem Quartet’s resulting debut album was released in 1992 on Gabriel’s Real World label and led to the group’s international breakthrough and popularity. After the great success of this first album, the Terem Quartet has had no shortage of invitations to play beyond Russian borders. They performed at the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, at the anniversary of German reunification in 1992, and have even been invited to the famous Venice Carnival. In January 1994, the musicians celebrated their thousandth concert together in Russia and took the opportunity to record their second album.

After making a studio album and a live production, it was decided that the Terem Quartet’s third album would be a concert performance recorded with the technical standards of a studio session. The venerable Teatro Civico in Tortona in Italy proved to be the ideal place for such a project, and No, Russia Cannot Be Perceived by Wit was recorded there on October 2, 1998.

On No, Russia Cannot Be Perceived by Wit, Igor Ponomarenko (alto-domra), Andrei Kostantinov (soprano-domra), Andrei Smirnov (bayan-accordion) and Mikhail Dziudze (bass-balalaika) present themselves in top form, both in terms of playing and in high spirits. The album title gives an idea of their general attitude, while wonderful track titles such as “Sounds Like A Twist,” “Must Be A Foxtrot,” and “Positively A Waltz” inform the listener that this is a quirky, non- traditional folk album. In addition to their own fascinating compositions, the Terem Quartet also present original interpretations of selected pieces of classical music (including an exquisite adaptation of Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”).


Terem quartet (Melody, 1989)
Terem (Real World Records, 1992)
Classical (Real World Records, 1994)
St. Petersburg (Radio Bremen, 1994)
1000th Concert. Live (Terem Quartet, 1994)
Dog’s Waltz (Manchester Files, 1999)
No, Russia Cannot Be Perceived By Wit… (Terem Quartet, 1999)
Russian Passion (Manchester Files, 2002)
Diddú Og Terem (Sögur Útgáfa, 2008)


Russian World Music Awards 2018 Ceremony

Kedr folk band from Novosibirsk – Photo by Jora PhR

On December 8th, 2018, the Alexey Kozlov club hosted the solemn presentation of the first Russian prize in the field of ethnic music, the Russian World Music Awards.

On two stages at the same time there were such groups as: Khoomei Beat from the Republic of Tuva, Abstaktor from Voronezh, a young project Beneath the skies from Moscow, Unknown Composer from Arkhangelsk, and Taisia Krasnopevtseva from Moscow.

The winner of the 2017 Award, Seven Eight Band, closed the festival. A special guest was the master of Russian folk Sergey Starostin.

The Russian World Music Awards is the first professional award in Russia in the field of ethnic music. This year, 90 musical groups from 27 cities were presented to the jury in the following categories: Best ethnic project, Best authentic project, Best experimental project, Best new ethnic project, Best music journalist and Audience award. Voting was held with 12 judges, consisting of experts in the field of ethnic music from 9 countries.

Jury 2018: Andrey Klyukin — festival director Wild Mint, Russia; Roger Short — BBC Radio3, England; Arthur Rozhek — OFF Festival, Poland; Vadim Ponomarev — Russian journalist; Natasha Podobed — More Zvukov Agency, Germany; Kirill Kuzmin — Aga Khan music (AKMI), Switzerland; Vladimir Potanchok — FM Hudba Sveta, Slovakia; Nick Hobbs — Charmenko agency, Turkey; Peter Doruzka — journalist, Czech Republic; Marina Ivanenko — head of music business and entertainment Management Department, RMA, Russia; Maria Semushkina — Usadba Jazz, Russia; Jahangir Selimkhanov — member of the European Cultural Parliament, expert on cultural policy, Azerbaijan.

Organizers of RWMA: Natalia Myazina, Daryana Antipova and Yuri Romanov – Photo by Jora PhR

For three years now, founders of the Russian World Music Awards , Natalia Myazina and Daryana Antipova, have been supporting and motivating professional musicians whose work does not fit into the modern standard of popular music, but draws inspiration from the deep traditions of Russian ethnic culture.

The mission of the award is the development of world and ethnic music in Russia and abroad, improving the image of Russia in the modern world, and fostering good international ties, by promoting its rich and vibrant Culture, Music, History and Art.

Winners of Russian World music Awards 2018:

Best ethno project — Alash, Republic of Tuva

Maria Arkhipova from Arkona band gives awards to Alash band – Photo by Jora PhR

Best experimental ethno project — Khoomei Beat, Republic of Tuva

Khoomei Beat performance at RWMA – Photo by Jora PhR

Best authentic project — Drowned Songs Project, Irkutsk

Andrei Kotov gives awards to “Drowned songs” project from Irkutsk – Photo by Jora PhR

Best new project — Abstractor, Voronezh

Inna Zhelannaya gives awards to Abstraktor – Photo by Jora PhR

Best young project — Beneath the skies, Moscow

Academy gives prize to Beneath the skies project – Photo by Jora PhR

Sergey Starostin and “Beneath the skies” project – Photo by Jora PhR

Best journalist — Lev Belyakov, Moscow Folk Room radio program

Vladimir Potanchok from FM Hudba Sveta, Slovakia gives awards to Lev Belyakov, best ethno journalist

For contribution to the development of ethnic music in Russia — Ivan Kupala, St. Petersburg

Ivan Kupala – Photo by Jora PhR

Listeners choice – Unknown Composer, Arkhangelsk

You can watch the whole ceremony here:

More at: worldmusicawards.ru