Hi Tatiana. Can you introduce your musical project to our readers?
I’m the leader of the project, and I’m happy to collaborate with two great guys, Alexander Blokhin (percussion, flutes, etc.) and Ihar Adasik (percussion). There are two major parts in the project. First, I perform as a singer-songwriter, involving a variety of music styles, using elements of what is known as bards’ songs on the post-soviet territory, as well as bits of ethnic sound, jazz and art rock. The second part is creating musical arrangements of Belarusian folk songs. There are a lot of Belarusian folk songs which are really sad. It’s astonishing how sad the wedding songs are! Perhaps, it’s because the bride was taken away from her parents, probably, to another village, and might see her parents very seldom after the wedding. But even these songs (sometimes you might feel like calling them ‘grief songs’) are amazingly close to nature and its magic. The ethnic part of the project was born out of the wish to experience this – magic state of mind, or something like this. We do not use any electronic sounds in our arrangements. Our percussionist Igor Adasik makes some of his percussion instruments himself, and Alexander Blokhin plays different kinds of flutes (some of which he also makes himself), kalimba and some percussion instruments.
Tell us something about your last musical release and the direction your music is taking.
At the moment I’m working on a new programme based on Belarusian poetry. I don’t write in Belarusian (I was born in Russia, and I just don’t know it well enough to create something decent in it) So my aim now is to create a program of Belarusian songs, which, as I dare hope, will attract still more attention to Belarusian poetry and language. And I’m also going to continue my folk song project, it looks like something living.
Where did you get inspiration for your music? Tell us something about it.
Nature, human nature, beautiful descriptions of nature and people’s feelings, children, seaside, sun, happy faces. The right words conjuring the right images, which trigger the sense of beauty present around. It’s quite strange, you see. Sometimes I feel desperately helpless facing these fits of inspiration! I’m also fascinated by some pieces of poetry (such as F.G.Lorka, for example), which help me to embody images in sound.
Which artists have influenced your style & sound, if any?
Queen, Marillion, Sinnead O’Connor, Ivan Kirchuk (Troitsa). We do our best not to make any influences too evident, but they certainly exist.
What’s the best live act in your area? Tell us something about the Belarus musical movement.
The most important open-airs in Grodno are Grodno-jazz, Festival of ethnic music, and the festival of singers-songwriters Green Grand-Prix in which I take part as co-organizer. There is an interesting event in August in Grodno region, in a small town Mir, which is called Mirum Music fest. It’s mostly indie, ethnic and folktronic-oriented open-air, and it’s held right at the walls of the castle of Mir, which is very famous and quite old. There’s also a number of festivals of ethnic music, and some big rock events in other cities of Belarus, but I’m not into the rock movement so I can’t tell anything about it. The Belarussian musical movement is growing year by year, new festivals appear (and disappear as well), and there’s a great diversity of styles. Some of the prominent performers are the folktronic project Shuma, the electronic indie-pop-band Mustelide, our friends Dzivasil who mix archaic Belarussian songs with ambient and trance, and obviously Troitsa.
What’s the best live music show you’ve seen recently?
It’s the Troitsa Belarusian folk music trio (leader Ivan Kirchuk). I’ve been to quite a number of their music shows, and each of them was an outstanding event in the musical life of the city, as well as personally for me. Kirchuk has a wonderful ability of preserving this subtle balance between the authentic folk song material and modern sound tendencies, making the whole music project “digestible” for our time and cultural background. Yet you get the feeling that the source of the project (folk songs collected by research expeditions in Belarusian villages) is treated with deep respect. Kirchuk manages not just to USE the material for his own purpose, but to grasp its meaning and spirit.
What also comes to my mind is Mark Drobinsky’s performance (cello), it’s classical music which I also love :-) Miracles do happen, and provincial cities sometimes enjoy top world musicians!
Are you touring right now? Do you plan to have a tour in the next future?
We used to tour, but as for now – it’s not exactly touring ;-) We take part in concerts or festivals, but not as much as before, because there’s something else each of us does for a living, not music. And it takes time, too. But we try to find time to work on new songs.
Tell us something about your best and your worst memory on the road.
I live in Belarus, and often play concerts in Poland, and to get there, you have to go through customs, as there’s a border between Belarus and EU. As cigarettes are a lot cheaper in Belarus, many people smuggle them and sell in Poland. Being on the train to Poland you regularly see people putting cigarettes under seats, unscrewing lamps and window panels and putting endless boxes of cigarettes everywhere. One old lady (also a cigarette smuggler) looked at my guitar case, which is quite big (the customs officer didn’t even ask me to open it, while he examined others carefully), and said, “Dear child, if you packed your guitar case full with cigarettes, I bet you would never have to play your songs again! It pays better than your music!”
I really can’t think of any negative experiences now… My trips are generally positive!
What do you think of Livetrigger.com? Do you think it could be a good tool to facilitate the process of booking and organizing shows? Do you have any suggestions?
Great project! Thank you for this chance to share our music!
It’s a pity that the service is not known in Belarus – I just found only two musicians and no venues. However, I will spread the information among my friends and colleagues, and I hope the user base will grow here.