Alina Orlova

Alina Orlova (real name Alina Orlovskaja, Алина Орловская) is a Lithuanian singer-songwriter in the folk genre. Her unusual, ethereal voice and rich instrumentation backed up by piano have led to her well-deserved popularity in Lithuania. She sings in Lithuanian, Russian (her heritage is part Polish, part Russian), and English. She’s also sometimes considered a daina singer—daina is a genre of Lithuanian and Latvian folk music.

Orlova’s career began officially in 2006, when she released her first single, “Nesvarbu.” Unofficially, though, it began about a year earlier, when she released 17 tracks to the Internet under the title Belekokie. The “album” was mostly made up of songs Orlova had composed herself, but there were a few covers of Moby and Viktor Tsoi songs.

In 2006, attention picked up quickly for Orlova. She was named the Breakthrough of the Year and won an alternative music award, the A.LT, for “Nesvarbu.” Two years later she released her first album, Laukinis šuo dingo (The Wild Dog Dingo), which was followed up by two others in 2010 and 2015. She also has a concert album, LRT Opus Live, from 2013. (LRT Opus is an alternative music radio station in Lithuania known for promoting interesting up-and-coming singers. Every month the station produces and then records a concert by a different singer.) She has been nominated many times for M.A.M.A. (Muzikos asociacijos metų apdovanojimai) awards.

Orlova’s relationship to her ethnicity is complicated. She grew up in the primarily Russian-speaking Lithuanian town Visaginas, but was sent to exclusively Lithuanian schools there. She has said she does not feel fully Lithuanian or Russian but that her mentality is nevertheless “Baltic.”

Orlova often draws comparisons to Russian-American singer Regina Spektor.

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“Lijo” (“It Rained”), one of Orlova’s most popular Lithuanian songs:


Lyrics for “Lijo”:

Tavo akyse ganosi arkliukai,
Bet dangus jose visada apniūkęs
Tu žinai žodžius, jie nuo tavęs bėga
Viskas panašu į žaidimą Lego
Nes dieną, kai tu gimei,-
Lijo, lijo, lijo.

Lego iš vorų, ant tualeto sienų
Iš aklų šunų ir pušų kamienų.
Tu žinai žodžius – jie tave kankina.
Einam prisigert pas mane balto vyno
Nes dieną, kai tu gimei,
Lijo, lijo, lijo.


A live performance of “Morning” (“Утром”), a Russian-language song from Orlova’s 2015 album, 88:


Lyrics for “Утром”:

Я пишу тебе письмо, мой спящий друг,
А в открытое окно лунный круг
Смотрит удивленно
На земных влюбленных.

Эти слова ты прочтешь утром,
Рано утром.


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Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.