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“Krai…gives forgotten stretches of Russian land a name for themselves, and in that regard this inventive and progressive release from an exceptionally talented young musician is a success.” –– Line of Best Fit, April 24, 2014, John Bell
Co-presented with New Amsterdam Presents
Krai (край) is the Russian word for edge, limit, frontier or hinterland. Present-day Russia is divided into a myriad of ‘federal subjects’, including nine krais. In this capacity the term is a political designation, like ‘territory’, but for the earliest Russians these places represented both the promise and terror of the vast unknown.
While much has been written about Russia’s major cities, Olga Bell’s Krai is a composition dedicated to the rest of the map: the wilderness, the towns, the inhabitants and their stories. From the Cossack melodies of Krasnodar Krai in the West to the Chukchi drumming of Kamchatka Krai in the Russian Far East, Krai is a forty-minute journey across the Eurasian landmass.
The live incarnation of Krai features Olga plus vocalists singing entirely in Russian, supported by a electro-acoustic chamber ensemble of cello, electric guitar, bass, pitched drums, mallet percussion and electronics. The setting for this performance of Krai is at 28 Liberty, where a video installation showing real and imagined landscapes from each territory completes a unique and immersive experience of Olga Bell’s groundbreaking, cross-cultural work. She is thrilled to be bringing the piece home to NYC for a final encore performance of the original twelve-person arrangement, featuring instrumentalists from the original recording and five guest vocalists, including members of Roomful of Teeth.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Noah Kalina