In the summer of 2019, the Siberian forests stood in flames. An area the size of Greece was on fire. The city of Krasnoyarsk was particularly affected. The inhabitants suffered from shortness of breath because of the smoke. It will take about 100 years for the forests to recover. Vedan Kolod returned to this apocalyptic landscape to record their eighth album “Wild Games”. The Siberian folk trio is originally from Krasnoyarsk, but has spent the past seven years in Moscow and participated in various international art projects.
“We were very sad and depressed this summer because a large part of the Siberian forests was on fire. We recorded the album while our hometown was covered in smoke. For me the album is an outcry for Mother Nature,” says singer and percussionist Daryana Antipova. She is particularly outraged by the fact that the extinguishing work began very late. The reason for this: more than 90 percent of the burning areas were in so called “controlled zones”. Since 2015, regional governments in Russia are not obliged to do anything about these areas if the costs of extinguishing a fire are higher than the damage caused by the fire. If the forest is not considered economically viable, the damage is said to be zero. “In summer we cannot breathe because of the fires, in winter because of the air pollution”, laments Antipova. After living a few years away from their homeland, Vedan Kolod were shocked on how the ecological situation in the Siberian taiga has deteriorated “in these vast and independent areas where our ancestors sought a better life for themselves and for their children”.
With “Wild Games” Vedan Kolod celebrate their 15th anniversary as a group. It is the first album since “Gorodische” was released in 2014. With “Wild Games” the trio goes back to their first album “Tribes” from 2005, which dealt with shamanic music tradition of Siberia. “Wild Games” was recorded under live conditions and only very sparingly reworked. According to singer Tatyana Naryshkina, the central song is the track “Fox”, which returns to the early days of the band with its singing based on the shamanic tradition and the percussive elements. “Fox” is about a girl who becomes a fox. “After this song, the rest of the album took shape,” recalls Naryshkina. Children’s folk tunes were added as distinctive elements. It is played on historical instruments such as Russian double flute, hurdy-gurdy and gusli.
“Wild Games” is an album that is characterized by the love of the band members for the harsh Siberian nature and its wild animal world. The animals and their “endless play with death” were the main inspiration for the compositions, says singer and multi-instrumentalist Valery Naryshkin.
Vedan Kolod come from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk and want to keep the musical traditions of their homeland alive! Tatyana Naryshkina and Daryana Antipova come from the same family and began playing music with their grandparents when they were only four years old. “Traditional music has always been a part of our lives,” recalls Daryana Antipova. In 2005 they met Valery Naryshkin and three of them came together as an ensemble. Their main focus: traditional songs from Siberian of their ancestors who came there for different reasons : escaping from Moscow’s repressions or being sent by Stalin, but also their own compositions. To this end, they have searched the archives in Krasnoyarsk. Sometimes the ensemble sings in Old Russian language and focusses on myths and legends. The name of the band is translated from Old Russian and means “Prophetic Tree”. “The tree connects the earth with the sky, remembers our past and knows the future”, say the three band members. For them, wooden instruments are also “storytellers”. Historically, making music on traditional instruments was closely linked to the rich vocal tradition.
Vedan Kolod use numerous traditional folk instruments for their music, which were almost forgotten in their homeland. For example the gusli, a box zither, the ocarina, a flute or the war horn. Valery Naryshkyn himself restores or reconstructs the instruments by hand.
Already in its founding year, the ensemble was awarded the prize as the best Russian folk music act at the Uuste-Huree Festival in the autonomous Russian Republic of Tuva. Vedan Kolod have performed at numerous festivals since 2005, especially in Russia itself. The ensemble has recorded seven albums to date and has also collaborated with other folk bands. Vedan Kolod regularly create a program at Moscow’s “Folkradio” and have also released the soundtrack for a cartoon and a few International photo exhibitions.
Krasnoyarsk, the hometown of Vedad Kolod, is the third largest city in Siberia and an important stop along the Trans-Siberian railway. However, the Siberian metropolis is not an idyllic place: Russia’s second largest aluminium plant is located in the city area. Krasnoyarsk is notorious as a place of exile: from 1897 Lenin was forced to live near the city for three years.
Year of Release: 2020