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Stary Olsa (Стары Ольса) is a neo-medieval folk band from Minsk, Belarus, founded in 1999 by its present leader Zmicier Sasnouski and now consists of five musicians. They take their name from a brook in the west part of Mahilou Region, Belarus.Read More...
The band’s repertoire includes Belarusian folk balladry and martial songs, Belarusian national dances, works of Belarusian Renaissance composers, compositions from Belarusian aulic music collections (e.g. Polacak Notebook, Vilnian Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th - early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and renaissance.
Stary Olsa cooperates with many knight clubs from Belarus and Europe, museums and research centres, masters of early instruments, bands of folk, aulic, sacred and city avital music, as well as with solo performers using old instruments.
The band’s music makes it possible to restore sounding of many forgotten instruments. Stary Olsa uses for its performances maximally exact (in appearance, technology and materials) copies of the age-old Belarusian instruments such as duda (bagpipe), lira (lyre), husli (psaltery), svirel (pipe), drymba (jew’s-harp), akaryna (ocarina), surma (trumpet), bierascianaja truba (birch bark trumpet), hudok (rebec) and baraban (drums).
The purpose is to reconstruct completely (whenever possible) the musical traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania where Belarus was the basic cultural and geopolitic part in the 13th-18th centuries, and where there was a unique synthesis of Belarusian folk and aulic music with the European musical achievements of that time. In order to revive this cultural feature the band’s members mix early Belarusian instruments’ sounding with the all-European medieval instruments such as lutnia (lute), flejta (flute), mandalina (mandolin), arabski baraban (Arabian drum).
Besides its own theatricalized concerts, the band performs at medieval culture festivals, spear-runnings and folklore festivals.
Stary Olsa has recorded 7 albums and 1 musical project. The band’s music is included into 7 collections of old melodies performers.
Since 2003 the band’s dance collective has been working (Javaryna band - "Javaryna Theatre"). During performances it acquaints spectators with avital dance traditions.