DOM Cultural Center

23 September 2007

[world music]

Similar to Peruvian magic songs Icaros, performed by folk healers at ceremonies to expand participants’ consciousness, “Volga’s” songs take listeners’ souls on a journey. To fly up beyond the ordinary into the world of mysteries and forest spirits, of whirl and cosmic resonance where a person opens up to new facets of his/her consciousness. As a result, the healing takes place for a Russian in a world quickly losing its self-identity, in his/her revitalizing connection with the magic of old Russia (in Russian folklore, ritual tunes and Slavic polyrhythmics) and in its harmonious coexistence, in one’s mind, with futuristic arrangements of new global folk music (electronic tribal rhythms and percussion). Either one, enhanced by hypnotic lead vocal, entrances in its own manner, elevating over a humdrum existence to give a sense of celebration and connectedness.

Ancient authentic Russian texts from the 1100’s-1800’s have been gathered by Angela from Russian villages in different regions of the vast country in their own dialects. Each dialect, with its distinctive articulation, forms a unique vocal manner and sound, studied and mastered by the singer in their finest nuances. Her vocal techniques thus range from the academic to Russian Orthodox church to over a dozen ethnic traditions, including those of the Russian Volga area, North, Northeast, Northwest, South, Mid-Russia, Smolensk, Ryazan, Tver, Altai throat singing, Caucasus mountains, Middle East, Balkans, and India. Therefore the Western listener “Volga” takes on a journey into the richness of sound texture of the old and new Russia, never introduced into the world music before. Russian’s mixture of hard consonants and soft round vowels, especially in Angela’s richly intonated delivery, has a lyrical and calming effect. While its fusion with techno, trance, breakbeat mixed with elements of noise and sound of archaic instruments create a danceable ritualistic music with a touch of pagan psychedelia, bringing it to the cutting edge of the new Russian sound.

Anya Zontova

"Volga" is a unique project on the Moscow music scene. It successfully combines experimental electronics, contemporary dance rhythms and original Russian folklore. Pagan psychedelia, shamanism, authentic melodies and lyrics from ancient Russian texts (12th-19th centuries A.D.) mixed with urban aesthetics and contemporary video art are the essential components of Volga's performances.

Volga's current line-up includes: professionally educated vocalist and folklore researcher Angela Manukian (joint projects with Richard Norvila aka Benzo and Species Of Fishes duo); internationally acknowledged electronics specialists and multi-instrumentalists Alexei Borisov (Notchnoi Prospekt, F.R.U.I.T.S., The Gosplan Trio, joint projects with KK Null (Japan), Jeffrey Surak (USA), Anton Nikkila (Finland), Adam Ebringer (Australia), The New Blockaders (UK), Tania Stene (Norway), Sergei Letov (Russia)) and Roman Lebedev (Metal Corrosion, Alien Pat Holman, Idioritmik); Uri Balashov, artist and inventor of selfmade instruments and Grammy winner (artwork for Frank Zappa “Civilization III” album, 1996). The performances of Volga are usually accompanied by video projections created in realtime by Moscow video artist Roman Anikushin and Parisian Oleg Kornev.

Volga often tours in Russia and abroad and has also participated in different international music festivals including Burg Herzberg Open Air 2000 (Germany), SKIF-4 (St.Peterburg, Russia, 2000), Vital Water 2002/04 (Altai, Russia), HUH Festival in Tallinn (Estonia, 2003), The Festival of Russian Contemporary Art in Kiasma Museum in Helsinki (Finland, 2004), “Sayan Ring 2004” (Siberia, Russia), East-West Festival in Die (France, 2004), Progress Ex-04 in Ljubljana (Slovenia 2004), Days of Russian Culture in Bangkok (Thailand 2004).

The self-titled debut CD of Volga was released in 1999 by Moscow based Exotica Records and received very positive responses not only from critics but also from audiences in Russia and Europe as well. The follow-up CD, “Bottoms up!”, released at the beginning of 2003, is a collection of Volga's most melodic and danceable songs. The third release of Volga was a CD entitled “Concert”, recorded live at DOM club in Moscow and released by Sketis Music in April 2003. The latest CD, “Three Fields,” was released by Volga in cooperation with Sketis Music in 2004.

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(C) 2004 Девоцио Модерна,

works with a support of Ford Foundation