Iva Nova

Iva Nova (Ива Нова; the name translates to “new willow”) is a Russian experimental folk-punk group. They combine elements of punk, blues, tango, and other styles with Russian folk music, creating a sound that has been hailed by rock journalists as radically innovative and interesting.  Their band website proclaims that they’re an “alternative ethno-extreme that experimentally combines in itself Slavic motifs and a punk thrust, danceable techno-rhythms and avant-garde sound effects.” What that actually means is that their sound combines punk and rock with traditional Slavic folk songs and some shanson-esque music; sometimes they veer into blues and really anything else that interests them. They’ve sung not only in Russian, of course, but also Ukrainian, Georgian, Bulgarian, and Tatar. The makeup of the group, which consists entirely of women, is also something of a rarity in Russian avant-garde music. They seem to pride themselves on being a women-only band: they use a Russian word for aristocratic young ladies, барышня—literally a landowner’s daughter—to describe themselves on their website.

The group started in St. Petersburg in 2002, after the breakup of drummer/percussionist Ekaterina Fedorova’s (Екатерина Федорова) group Bobsleigh (Бабслей). The original lineup also consisted of Inna Lishenkevich (Инна Лишенкевич) on guitar, Vera Ogareva (Вера Огарёва) on vocals, Elena Stankevich (Елена Станкевич) on bass and Elena Zhornik (Елена Жорник) on accordion. Iva Nova played their first live show at the Petersburg club Milk (Молоко).  As they already knew how to work together, they got started right away, releasing an album, Iva Nova, in 2003. They then slowed down a bit, with the second, Suitcase (Чемодан), only released in 2006, after some original members had left.

Since then Iva Nova has undergone various lineup changes—at present the only original member is Ekaterina Fedorova, and they’ve gone through a surprising number of bass players over the years. In 2004, Iva Nova traveled to Western Europe for the first time after the release of their self-titled debut album. In 2006 they released a second full-length, entitled Suitcase (Чемодан).

Iva Nova has toured extensively over the course of their career, including festivals in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, France, and Slovenia (not to mention numerous Russian shows). In 2011 they collaborated with American singer-songwriter and accordionist Jason Webley.

Iva Nova has released four studio albums and two live albums. For lyrics they draw on the resources of various Russian and Caucasian folk traditions, and rework these traditional tunes into energetic, danceable punk tunes.  The current members are Fyodorova, Anastasia Postnikova (Анастасия Постникова; vocals), Natalia Potapenko (Наталия Потапенко; accordion), and Galina Kiselyova (Галина Киселёва; bass guitar).

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Here is Iva Nova with a live performance of “The Witch” (“Ведьма”):

Lyrics for “Ведьма”:

За окном моим, окном моим падает снег
Закружит пурга, и прячется, прячется прочь
Подо льдом не слышно радостных, суетных рек
И зовет в свои владения тени и ночь
Ведьму, ведьму!

На дворе твоем, дворе твоем солнечный свет
Дни, когда тебя не сводит с ума зима
Море теплое, синее, инея нет

Отчего же снится нежная, снежная тьма
Ведьме, ведьме?

Запоет волчица грозная, звездная дочь
Закричит сова, заухает в дальньей дали
Разожги костры, веселия напророчь
Оторвись, и полети, лети от земли
Ведьма, ведьма!

 

Here is the official video for “Yaga” (“Яга”):

Lyrics for “Яга”:

Ветер в колодец заглянет
Старый колодец двора
Тихо засвищет в кармане
Значит пришла непора
А непорой непорою
Можно пуститься в полет
Двери я настежь открою
Может быть кто и войдет
Непогода непогожая
Ветры да снега
Кому бабушка хорошая
А кому Яга
Метлы сломались о крыши
Выдохлась старая печь
Кошки исчезли и мыши
Нечего больше беречь
Всходит лохматое солнце
Снова часы дали сбой
Не с кем мне больше бороться
Только с самою собой
Непогода непогожая
Ветры да снега
Кому бабушка хорошая
А кому Яга

 

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Zach Hicks is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is currently participating in SRAS's Home and Abroad scholarship program. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature, socialist modernism, and critical theory. Outside of academics his major interests are martial arts, the outdoors, and music. In Russia, he plans to continue to increase his language proficiency, to learn as much as possible about the Russian underground music scene, its tattoo culture, and to become a student of Russia’s native martial art, SAMBO.