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Folk It!

fri 14 jun 2024 18:00 hrs

Nordic Sounds

The northern light doesn’t only shine in Scandinavian countries. Earlier, we have listened to music from Baltic states and Ukraine. In this episode of Folkit! Nordic Sounds – a programme in which we feature music from places where you can see the northern lights – we will travel to northeastern Russia. Saint Petersburg could still be described as a ‘northern lights region’, as this ancient Russian city lies just a stone’s throw from Finland. It is also the birthplace of the folk rock band Otava Yo. In their music, you can hear the Russian counterpart to the (Finnish) kantele or the (Estonian) kokle, known here as the gusli. Their lively and catchy tunes also feature a restored Russian bagpipe. The now eight-member band enriches their sound with a variety of acoustic instruments, as well as bass, drums, and electric guitars. Otava Yo stands as the quintessential example of Russian folk rock.

Siberia evokes associations with vast tundras, cold, permafrost, and unfortunately also with less pleasant situations. But you can also see the northern lights there. And that’s why today we will look at one of the most interesting folk groups: Vedan Kolod, a trio consisting solely of family members who aim to preserve the old culture, particularly its musical heritage, by performing traditional songs and melodies in a contemporary style. They use authentic aucoustic instruments, as well as the bouzouki and mandolin, for example. Their singing sounds archaic and takes some getting used to. Perhaps the music as well, as their performances cannot always be described as conservative or purely ethnic. Just have a listen…

Both Otava Yo (Loud and clear) and Vedan Kolod (Bird) recently released albums. We made a selection.

Otava Yo

















Otava yo – Loud and clear – ARC music EUCD2971

1.      Good evening (trad) 4:28

2.      Zilivochka (trad, Alexey Belkin) 4:31

3.      A Gusli tune (Alexey Belkin) 4:48

4.      Timonia (trad) 4:41

5.      There goes our gusli (trad, Otava Yo) 4:28

6.      Don’t you fly nightingale (trad, Otava Yo) 4:10

Vedan Kolod – Birds – CPL073

7.      Cuckoo (trad) 3:28

8.      Aviatrix (Valey Naryshkin) 6:29

9.      Flock of ducks (trad) 4:48

10.  Birds (Valery Nayshkin) 4:25

11.  Raven (trad, Valery Naryshkin, Tatiana Naryshkin) 6:55

12.  Swallow (trad) 2:33




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