Siberia is renowned for vast panoramas and extreme temperatures but it is also rich in sound. Over the past 15 years the folk trio Vedan Kolod has been introducing world audiences to the region’s acoustic qualities, from whistling forest winds to echoes of time to their own spellbinding blend of voices and traditional instruments. A family band from Krasnoyarsk, roughly the halfway point on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Vedan Kolod has a repertoire … More Vedan Kolod: Wild Games
Like the queue outside the Louvre, the seven-woman chorus Tsaziken is a fascinating mix of disparate elements and common threads. Based in Cologne, with German and Slavic roots, on their second album they sing in eight languages and highlight a shared passion for combing the world’s cultures in search of traditional songs about love and destiny. The group ignited at a 2004 music festival when its four original singers met Raimund Kroboth, director of the … More Tsaziken: Machnaty
There’s more than a touch of Gogol in the Russian ensemble Otava Yo: There’s humor, symbolism and archetypal characters that serve as anchors for artistic brilliance. Group leader and co-founder Alexey Belkin explains that the band’s work reflects “not so much folklore as a twenty-first century attitude toward folk music,” brought to animation in layers of respect and self-parody, with instruments that run from traditional zithers and pipes to worldly violin … More Otava Yo: Do You Love
Just as Greenwich Village nurtured the American folk revival in the Sixties, so is St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultural center, the stage for a back-to-the-village folk group whose members dress like peasants and play like virtuosos. Founded by Alexey Belkin, Dmitry Shikhardin and Alexey Skosyrev in 2004, Otava Yo (Отава ё)—now five men and one woman—are known for witty banter, tight harmony and a musical palette of psaltery, fiddles … More Otava Yo: What Are Those for Songs!
The history of Russian rock music could fill volumes, but much of it can be summed up in a single word: Akvarium (Aquarium). Launched in 1972 by Boris Grebenshchikov and friends, the band—unapproved by Soviet culture authorities—initially played in apartments, recorded albums on homemade tapes and sometimes hitched rides to distant gigs on freight trains. As the Soviet Union and Russia … More Akvarium & Boris Grebenshchikov: Greatest Hits