Author: Michael Filitis

Dantes and Oleynik / Дантес и Олейник

Dantes and Oleynik (Дантес и Олейник) were a Ukrainian dance-pop duo; they met in 2008 while competing on a reality TV/music competition in Ukraine called Star Factory 2 (Фабрика Звёзд–2). They quickly became friends on set and continued to collaborate beyond their television experience. In 2010, they recorded their one and only studio album, I’m Already […]

Boombox / Бумбокс

Boombox is a Ukrainian band from Kiev that mixes various musical styles, including rock, hip-hop, and funk. Formed in 2004 by vocalist Andrei Khlyvnyuk (Андрій Хливнюк) and guitarist Andrei Samoilo (Андрій Самойло), they have released a steady stream of albums and collaborative projects since their inception and built a loyal following throughout Ukraine, Russia, and […]

Yolka / Ёлка

Yolka (Ёлка in Russian) is a Ukrainian pop star, actress, and television personality who sings in Russian. Born Yelizaveta Valdemarivna Ivantsiv (Єлизавета Вальдемарівна Іванців), she received the nickname Ёлка (“fir tree”) when a childhood friend mispronounced her name; it amused her, and the name stuck. She has gained wide popularity and critical acclaim for her […]

Gleb Samoyloff and The MATRIXX / Глеб Самойлоff and The MATRIXX

Gleb Samoyloff (Глеб Самойлоff, original name Gleb Samoylov, or Глеб Самойлов) and The MATRIXX—subsequently shortened to just The MATRIXX in 2013—is a Russian rock band with punk and goth influences. Rising from the ashes of Samoilov’s previous musical collaboration, Agata Kristi (Агата Кристи)—which he joined in 1987 but which fell apart in 2009—The MATRIXX has […]

Geegun / Джиган

Geegun (Джиган) is the stage name for Ukrainian born hip-hop artist and DJ Denis Aleksandrovich Ustimenko-Weinstein (Денис Александрович Устименко-Вайнштейн). The artist has remarked upon his adopted name as a combination of the second half of the American hip-hop abbreviation for “original gangster”—O.G.—and a transliteration of the English “gun,” due to his fondness for firearms. Besides being […]


IOWA is an indie-pop group from Mogilev, Belarus, who sing in Russian. A relatively young band, they have only released one album since their inception in 2009, Export (2014; no Russian or Belarusian title). The band’s moniker contains several references, namely the US state, an American acronym—Idiots Out Wandering About—and an album by the metal […]

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello is a self-styled “gypsy punk” band that formed in Manhattan, NY, in 1999. The band’s unique fusion of influences is largely the brainchild of frontman Eugene Hütz’s own unconventional history. Hütz, born Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Nikolayev-Simonov (Евгений Александрович Николаев-Симонов), is a Ukrainian-born expat whose Romani heritage (his mother is partially of Servitka ancestry) inspired […]

Ivan Dorn / Иван Дорн

Ivan Dorn (Іван Дорн in Ukrainian; Иван Дорн in Russian) is a Ukrainian, Russian-speaking performer.Known primarily today through his career as a pop musician, Dorn has also found success as a TV personality in Ukraine, and in a handful of acting roles—most famously as Kostya in Happy Guys (Весёлые Ребята, 2014). Dorn was born in Chelyabinsk, […]

Tantsy Minus / Танцы Минус

Tantsy Minus (Танцы Минус) is a Russian rock band from St. Petersburg. Officially formed in 1995 by frontman Vyacheslav Petkun (Вячеслав Петкун), the band has released five full-length albums and developed a loyal fanbase during its long career. They have also been recognized for their contributions to Russian music, receiving the prestigious Golden Gramophone award […]

Okean Elzi / Океан Ельзи

Okean Elzi (Океан Ельзи—note that this is the Ukrainian spelling) is a prolific Ukrainian rock band from Lviv. Formed in 1994, they have released nine studio albums since 1998, toured extensively throughout Ukraine, Russia, the majority of Europe, and North America, and are heralded today as one of the greatest rock bands of the former Soviet […]

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