BORDERLAND Mariana Sadovska & Band
Gig Seeker Pro

BORDERLAND Mariana Sadovska & Band

Band World Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"A Rugged Musical Journey Through Rural Ukraine"

Sometimes a musician has such an inborn desire to communicate that her message naturally becomes universal: it doesn't matter whether she is singing soul or bel canto or folk. The responsibilities, protocol and tradition of whatever style she is working in just vanish; she replaces them with pure vitality.

Such was the case with the Ukrainian singer Mariana Sadovska, who performed on Friday night at Exit Art in the penultimate event of its Balcan Cabaret series. The slight, intense Ms. Sadovska, who is in New York only briefly, working with the Yara Arts Group, a theatre troupe, at LaMamma, stormed on stage, stood behind a harmonium and quickly announced that all the songs she would perform had been given to her by women she had met in her travels through Ukraine.

"After ten years of travel," she said, "I understand that a song can be a map which leads you to your life."

Ms. Sadovska has a hollering, slighty nasal voice and she pushed into the ribs and tears in it, filling the room, singing fast and using the harmonium notes to jerk herself forward.

The songs, all about the rituals and psychology of a remote, rural life, had strong melodies, only occasionally in minor keys; she used whipping trills in her voice. One was a widow song summoning the courage to live on after the death of a husband; another was that of a girl drawing water from a well and speaking with doves; one was a song to push sirens away; another, to push clouds away. Between verses she rattled off aproximate english translations.

Some moments in the performance recalled white gospel music from Appalachia. At other times Ms. Sadovska's delivery was as wired forthright and sexual as a rock star - Polly Jean Harvey perhaps. She could have been singing the same material in front of a rock trio.

Towards the end she sang in front of slide projections of the areas she had travelled through; the images depicted farms, weddings, children, churches, weathered old women with tough smiles. The performance was rushed and nearly reckless but oddly perfect.

Ben Ratliff - The New York Times, 8/03/2001

"Most expressive..."

Most expressive:an astonishing melange of archaic elements, vocal arts, hard rock and theatrical-ironic refractions - WDR, Western German Broadcasting, 23/11/2006

"...absolutely unique..."

...absolutely unique, never heard before, you get electrified; by far - the most outstanding stage presence! - JURY CREOLE Competition for World Music from Germany, 2006


2002: "Songs I learned in Ukraine"
Mariana Sadovska solo (Global Village Records)
2005: "Borderland"
Mariana Sadovska with Anthony Coleman, Doug Wieselman, Roberto Rodriguez, Frank London, Brad Jones
2007: "The Rusalka Cycle"
Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, music/arrangements by Mariana Sadovska
2008 (to be released in autumn): BORDERLAND Mariana Sadovska & Band



"I'll be back in one year, mother! Or maybe in two... I hope it will not be forever..." - Mariana Sadovska tells us about the pain of the departing emigrant. Accompanying herself with an Indian harmonium, she sings, speaks, whispers and screams out his promises: at times seemingly convinced, then mysteriously alluring, suddenly in a scared child's voice, and always full of soul, power and longing.

For ten years Mariana has been travelling through the remote neighbourhood of rural Ukraine collecting songs, legends, rhymes from the women living there - popular material hundreds of years old, that only outlived the soviet era by oral tradition and which, nowadays, is mostly unknown even among Ukrainians. Her repertoire embraces pagan midsummer night invocations, old-fashioned wedding songs, melancholic emigrant chants... and the aim is always to tell a story: about live, about adventure, about sorrow and love.

Together with her band Borderland, Mariana works on this old popular material, transforming it into singular contemporary sound. Some of the elements used are: the playing of modern piano, rhythms of improvised music and avantgarde harmonies. These multiple musical facets meet with Mariana's expressive singing, her charisma. She revives the archaic tunes with her voice, ranging from susurrant tremolo over angered sprechgesang up to anything beyond ordinary sound. The result of her singing is a peculiar soundtrack that talks about universal wisdom and deep human feelings.

Singer, Musician, Actress and Composer

Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Mariana Sadovska now lives in Cologne, Germany, and works throughout Europe and the USA performing, directing workshops, participating in theatre projects, composing incidental music. Her work in music and theater has always been inspired by indigenous cultures. Her aspiration ist to bridge the gap between ancient, traditional sounds and the contemporary.

She began her work in 1991 with Les Kurbas Theater (Lviv, Ukraine) in Anatolyi Vasiliev's Festivals in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Invitation to join Theater Gardzienice where she worked for 10 years (actor and music director). During that time, she began her exploration of indigenous music and cultures, with expeditions in the Ukraine, to Ireland, Egypt, Cuba and Brazil. She has since organized many cultural exchanges between contemporary artists from Europe and the US with native singers from Ukraine.

In 2001, she moved to NYC (grant by Earth Foundation). Work as a music director with La Mama E.T.C.'s resident theater company, Yara Arts Group. First solo performances as well as collaborations with such renowned artists as Michael Alpert, Anthony Coleman, Frank London, Victoria Hanna. First solo CD "Songs I learned in Ukraine" (2002, Global Village Records). Since then, regular invitations, solo concerts, workshops, theatrical collaborations at: Public Theatre (NYC), Brooklyn Academy of Music, Symphony Space (NYC), Princeton and N.Y. University, San Francisco World Music Festival. In 2004/2005 new stay in the USA, second CD "Borderland" (evoe:performing:artists), featuring Anthony Coleman, Doug Wieselman, Roberto Juan Rodriguez and Frank London.

In working with the musicians of her Cologne-based band BORDERLAND she found a medium for her furious interpretations of traditional songs and singings from the Ukraine.

Further Stations of Work:

Performances: Jewish Festival San Francisco (with a Frank London project)
Workshops/performances: Penn State University, Urbana Champaign, Stanford, Princeton

Fulbright scholarship in the USA 2007/2008
Performances: "The Rusalka Cycle" first performance by Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, San Francisco
Musical Direction/Composition: "Cesarian Cut", ZAR Theater, Wroclaw/Poland

Award: CREOLE 2006 - Prize for World Music, regional qualification Northrhine-Westfalia
Theater: "RAUMUNG" by Claudia Klischat (first performance), Futur3/Cologne, Music: Mariana Sadovska
Competition: Nominee for the Alfred-Radek-Prize with the music of "sklavy" (Farma v Jeskyni, Prague)

Performances: "Without Ground", featuring Anthony Coleman, Roberto Rodrigues, Doug Wieselman,
Symphony Space New York City; San Francisco World Music Festival
Workshops/Performances: University/National Theater Kabul (Afghanistan), expedition to Badachschan
Musical Direction: Guest for the Art Atelier Program (curated by: Toni Morrison), Princeton University/US
Theater: "Rusalka Cycle", Oakland (CA), Composition and Arrangements: Mariana Sadovska

Performances: East Voices-Festival Prague, US-Tour: Joe's Pub, Macor, BAM (NYC), Albuquerque,
Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Barbara, Portland; Warszaw, Giving-Voice Festival (Wales)
Musical Directing: "Sklavy", Theater Farma v Jeskyni (Prague) [traditional music from East-Slovakia]; "citybeats - Gott in der Stadt", Futur3/Cologne [sacred music from around the world]
Expeditionen: Po