Who: Founded in 2006 by singer and composer Tina Kuznetsova, Russian indie-folk band Zventa Sventana produces upbeat contemporary dance music that blends traditional folk songs with indie-pop, hip-hop, and jazz.
What: Fuelled by ecstatic disco beats, “Mak na Gore” (“Poppy on the Mountain”) is a cyber-folk music clip that reinvents polyphonic choir music from the Russian countryside for modern audiences. Yet rather than using an actual choir, the hypnotic chorus is created only using Kuznetsova’s vocals, duplicated and overlapped. Matching the spirit of the song, the music video combines elements of Russian fairytales with avant-garde fashion and digital collage art. In it, actor and activist Varvara Shmykova stars as Russian fairytale princess Vasilisa, fighting evil spirits played by Kuznetsova herself.
What they say: “Acting as Russian folk princess Vasilisa Prekrasnaya, Varvara Shmykova finds herself in a reality where folk, contemporary, and digital art are intertwined. Hypnotised by the rhythm of the song, she goes through a rite of passage that consists of a pagan dance ritual. She eats the poppy flower and gets tested by chthonic evil forces, performed by Kuznetzova,” Zventa Sventana shared on their YouTube channel.
Why you should listen/watch: The video won Best Art Director and Best Song at the Oniros Film Awards in New York, and was also listed in the Silver Selection at the Berlin Music Video Awards. Bringing together creative minds working in music, fashion, and digital art, “Mak na Gore” is a bright example of a growing global trend: breathing folk art into modern culture and vice versa.