Tuned to Russiahttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/tuned-to-russia/

Tuned to Russia

Members of the Russkiye Umeltsy compliment each other through the diversity of their music.

The Russkiye Umeltsy (Russian Masters) is as alike as it is different. Combining vocals with traditional musical instruments gusli,balalaika-contrabass,domra and the accordion,it is diverse. The five-member ensemble’s love for folk music is unified. The group,comprising Pavel Lukoyanov (gusli),Ekaterina Suslova (vocals),Evgeniya Popova (accordion),Irina Kuznetsova (domra) and Alexey Vorobev (balalaika-contrabass),will be performing in the city on June 12 at a concert organised by the

Pune Music Society,at Mazda Hall Camp.

Hailing from Russia,where the geographical barriers are huge,Popova mentions that she got in touch with the group through her friends before performing a concert in Moscow,a few years ago. “ I had to find musicians for the concert. Naturally,I called my friends and they in turn called their friends. We all eventually met through social networking websites. We even fixed the time for our rehearsals through the internet,” she says.

The members are all decorated musicians and individual performers back home in Russia. Kusnetsova was a winner of the Tikhvin Lel; Lukoyanov is a member of the Moscow Musical Society; and Suslova is a winner of the Romansiada competition. She has also been awarded the Order of “Service to the Motherland”,Second Class,for her courage during the concerts at a military base in Khankala in Chechnya. “It’s our love for Russian folk music,which unites our music. That,and our willingness and desire to promote our national instruments. We wanted to demonstrate each others

skills in a musical ensemble,” says Vorobev.

Performing in the country and the city for the first time,the group has an air of enthusiasm. “It is such a beautiful feeling,the hope of a warm welcome and a little bit of heart pounding. On the day of our performance,Russia will mark its Independence Day,which is one of the most important public holidays and we want to represent our country to the audiences

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here and show how high the level of music is in Russia,” says Suslova.

The performance will include Russian folk songs,dance tunes,ballads and songs of the Russian gypsies. Lukoyanov says it is a perfect opportunity to present the traditional instruments and music of Russia. “There will be plenty of surprises and unusual musical gifts. We cannot reveal all,but let me tell you there will be the music of Antonio Vivaldi using Russian folk instruments. We hope to acquaint the people with an ancient folk ritual,” he adds.

(The Russkiye Umeltsy will perform at the Mazda Hall in Camp,7.30 pm onwards on

June 12)