Belarusian band Stary Olsa occupies a unique position at the intersections where past meets present, tradition mingles with innovation, and contemporary creative expression has demanded the cultivation of skills that date back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Much like their namesake (a wandering brook in the Mahilou region), Stary Olsa's path has been full of twists and turns, and is deeply linked to the culture, history and music of the ancient Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Their 13th album, "Medieval Classic Rock," is the result of YouTube postings of informal rehearsal videos in which band members play their favorite rock tunes. After their cover of Metallica's "One" went viral, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a new album of hard rock covers in medieval style. They reached their initial goal in one week and then set their sights on a stretch goal to fund a U.S. tour. They'd funded their trip before they even reached the end of the 30-day campaign.
As they travel to the U.S. in August to kick off their first tour of the states, Stary Olsa's aim is to not only introduce U.S. audiences to the beauty of the Belarusian culture and the richness of its age-old musical traditions, but also to bring living history to the stage--and rock it!
Stary Olsa is:
Zmicier Sasnoŭski (bagpipes, gusli, tromba marina, vocal, hurdy-gurdy)
Maryja Šaryj (flutes, shawms)
Alieś Čumakoŭ (vocal, gusli, cister, rebec, shawms)
Illia Kublicki (lute, cisters)
Siarhiej Tapčeŭski (drums, percussion, tromba marina)
Aliaksiej Vojciech (drums, percussion)