Baba Yaga, as well as being a witch from Russian folklore, is the name of a unique international group consisting of Irish and Hungarian rock musicians, and 4 Russian folk singers. This highly unusual formation combines British pop music with Russian folk. The band has written music which blends authentic Russian folk tunes and instruments seamlessly with rock/pop sounds and harmonies.
The members first met on a starry night in Agrigento, Sicily in 1989. Jamie Winchester, (the Irish singer/guitarist), was living in Budapest at the time, and had travelled to Sicily with the members of the Hungarian rock group KFT, amongst them Tibor Bornai. Also performing at the festival that year was the Russian folklore group Karagod, and by pure chance Jamie and Tibor heard four members of that group singing spontaneously at a late night party in the courtyard of their hotel. Neither will ever forget the effect this soulful music had on them. Without a moments hesitation they asked the Russians whether they would be interested in creating a band, and Baba Yaga was born.
Their first album was recorded and released independently in Hungary, and this, in addition to some early showcase concerts in Budapest and Berlin, was enough to gain the interest of international record producer Leslie Mandoki, and the German record company DSB. The result of this collaboration was the album Baba Yaga, which was recorded in Munich and Budapest, and released throughout Europe.
The success of the album helped the group to tour extensively in Europe, performing solo gigs as well as festivals, including Glastonbury (GB), Arezzo Wave(I), Rudolstadt, Köln, Open Ohr Mainz (G), D'Ete Nantes (FR), Tilburg, Terschelling(NL), Kaláka Festival (HU) and tours in Germany. The power of the music, as well as the infectious fun which the members are obviously having when they play together, ensure that Baba Yaga are favourites wherever they play, and almost always recieve invitations to return.
The latest album, Secret Combination, contains songs and recordings dating from 1995 until the present day, and was recorded in Budapest and Moscow. It shows how the combination has matured, and how the members' understanding and respect of eachother's music has developed over years of travelling and performing together. But above all it demonstrates how the members feel the same excitement and sense of fun which has characterized the band since that first night in Sicily. Baba Yaga pairs together folk music from the depths of the russian soul with some serious rock 'n' roll.
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