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Troitsa: Mystic music from Belarus
Not many releases come this way from Belarus, the land-locked and still politically unrelaxed country surrounded by the Baltic states, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, but several of those have been earlier releases from Minsk trio Troitsa, and they chart the progress to this sixth album.
Ivan Kirchuk is the possessor of one of those real, rumbling bass voices that seem to flourish in Russia and its near neighbours, and conjures mental images of a huge bearded Cossack in boots and floor-length furs.
He formed the original trio in 1996 to perform the traditional material he’d been finding since the 1980s in the villages of Belarus. After its first album the group broke up, but after a pause Kirchuk recruited Yuri Dmitriev and Yuri Pavlovsky, who supplement his armoury of 12-string guitar, domra, gusli, Jew’s-harp, whistles, zhaleika and more with guitar, bass, domra, kalimba and percussion.
His singing tends to stay down in the gravelly basement, accessing tones that an epic film-trailer voice-over artist would kill for, but on occasion he rises through the frequencies, right up to a rather finely-controlled falsetto-alto.
The band’s music is quite ethereal, almost mystical, Ivan’s voice is strikingly shamanic, the melodies are simple and almost ascetic, the arrangements reveal virtuosity in the blendingof modern and ancient instruments. It makes Troitsa to be understandable all around the world.
No knowledge of Belorussian is necessary to be enthralled by the mature, meditative message delivered by Troitsa’s music nor to be captivated by its fascinatingly modern rendering.
Ivan Kirchuk – vocals, domras, smyk, pipes, whistles, zhaleyka, mouthorgan, lyre
ocarina, gusli, reed stick, jawharp
Yuri Dmitrijev – 6- and 12-string guitars, domra, smyk, vocal
Yuri Pavlovskij – drum, gong, darabuka, jembe, bells, bamboo xylophone