Vedan Kolod
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Vedan Kolod


Band Folk World


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"Slavic folk goes rock ’n’ roll"

Feb. 9 at 8 pm, Dom, 24 Bolshoi Ovchinnikovsky Per., bldg. 4, m. Tretyakovskaya,,

Tatyana Naryshkina was sick of piano and harmonica. Growing up in the Siberian town of Krasnoyarsk, she longed for the soaring, honking, wailing sounds that she heard in old Russian folk music.

Then she met Valery Naryshkin, a classmate who crafted ancient Russian instruments such as the zhaleika out of wood from local forests.

“In the ’90s, it was very hard to get these things in Krasnoyarsk,” Naryshkin said. “These instruments may look simple on the outside, but as we collected the wood to create them, we realized that they weren’t as straightforward as they appeared.”

Together, Valery and Tatyana (who are now married) and her sister, The Moscow News’s Daryana Antipova, formed the folk group Vedan Kolod, which blends traditional melodies and chants with modern rhythm and lyrics. In Old Russian, the trio’s name means “prophetic tree,” referring to the tree’s symbolic importance in Slavic mythology.

After a two-year hiatus, Vedan Kolod is returning to the stage for a Feb. 9 concert at Dom. In addition to playing songs from its previous albums, the band will present a cartoon based on Uigur folk motifs, “The Hotan Carpet Tales,” for which they wrote the soundtrack.

Vedan Kolod don hand-sewn costumes and jewelry based on those worn by ancient Slavic tribes such as the Vyatichi. Their stable of instruments, apart from the zhaleika (a single-horn reed instrument similar to the oboe), includes the gusli (a multi-string instrument played by plucking) and the Russian hurdy-gurdy, as well as flutes and drums. Depending on their degree of complexity, the instruments take Valery a week or much longer to make.

Ancient Slavic music wasn’t meant for listening, but for performing, said Naryshkina. “When you sing 50 parts in a khorovod (an ancient Russian circular dance), from the inside it’s incredible – you feel like you’re at the center of the universe,” she said. “But when you see it onstage… you just sit there thinking about the meeting you have tomorrow.’”

To keep contemporary listeners engaged, the band draws on non-traditional elements. “We turn ancient music into modern music, with rhythm and drums and loud bagpipes,” she said.

When the group began performing over eight years ago, the sounds of squeaky bagpipes and throat singing often induced giggles. Today, the group has a loyal fan base at home and abroad. Naryshkina said this interest stems in part from common musical roots.

“Modern German folk is worlds away from Russian, but German singing from the Middle Ages is very close to Russian old music,” she said.

“Everyone goes, ‘Whoa! This music is just like ours.’”
Read other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #04" - The Moscow News

"Get medieval at Dom"

Vedan Kolod album presentation

Feb. 6, 8 pm, Dom, 24 Bolshoi. Ovchinnikovsky Per., bldg. 4, m. Novokuznetskaya,, 953 7236.
Tickets 400 roubles.
Listening to the music of Vedan Kolod – a self-styled Slavonic ethno band – it’s almost as if the famous portrait of the Three Bogatyrs had come with a soundtrack.
The band has reconstructed the music and instruments of the early Slavs
Drawing inspiration from the landscapes and folklore of ancient Rus, the Krasnoyarsk-based combo has painstakingly reconstructed the music and instruments of the early Slavs.
And when they say reconstructed, that’s literally the case as Valery Naryshkin started out from scratch making modern versions of half-forgotten instruments.
Working with his wife Tatyana’s distinctive low-pitched throaty vocals, the band – whose name means Prophetic Tree – has reinvented the kind of music that ought to appear on the soundtrack of films like last year’s historical epic “Yaroslav”, if only the directors had the courage to tweak popular expectations and think outside the commercial box.
It’s a multi-instrumental mix, with Naryshkin creating everything from zither-like gusli to fluting ocarinas, typically underpinned by throbbing drone from didgeridoo-style pipes and sonorous drums. Added colour comes from mouth-harps, local variants of bagpipes and the almost-lost Scythian horn.
Meanwhile the distinctive modality of the vocal lines immediately transports the ear back through the centuries: as well as aiming to be authentic, it sounds entirely true to what ancient Rus might have sung over a flagon of medovukha. Or at least the contemplative ditties which might have followed an extended session on the mead – the vibe tends to be mellow rather than uproarious.
Sonorous drums are part of Vedan Kolod’s multi-instrumental mix
Unlike many other folk-based acts, such as Anna Pingina or Iva Nova, there’s no attempt to update the music.
Instead of mixing in some electronica or smuggling rock riffs under the radar, Vedan Kolod aim to keep it real – medieval style.
With a quartet of acclaimed recordings behind them, the band is performing in Moscow to promote their newest CD, “Slovo o polku Igorieve” (“The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”) in a special one-off show.
And in addition to the musical performance, literature professor Lev Skvortsov is to be there to give an intriguing insight into the folklore behind the music. - The Moscow News


Tribes (2006)
The Dance of the Wood Spirits (2007)
Wolf's Path (2008)
Curve of the Road (20010)
The Tale of Igor's Campaign (2011)



Vedan Kolod is one of the most famous folk bands in Russia nowdays, appeared in Siberia (Krasnoyarsk) and based on ancient songs, Vedan Kolod became popular in one year and took part in the biggest folk festivals in Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary and etc.