Kolibri were formed in 1988, first as a kind of exotic side project for Natalya Pivova′rova (born 17 July 1963, Novgorod), then Sergey Kuryokhin’s Populiarnaya Mekhanika member.
Having brought together six other girls who were connected to the Leningrad Rock Club in one way or another but had no stage experience whatsoever, Pivovarova suggested they’d form a kind of musical theater and perform cover versions in a cabaret/avan-guarde/post-rock fashion. On 8 March 1988 the septet staged their ‘Vacation of Love’ programme (it’s title referring to the Japanese film) in Leningrad Rock Club.
According to critic and rock historian Andrey Burlaka the concert caused furore and the girls became their native city cultural scene’s overnight sensation. By the time of their next gig, though, Kolibri were five: alongside Pivovarova sang and danced - Yelena Yudanova, Irina Sharovatova, Olga Feshcenko, and Inna Volkova.
Soon, discarding their cover versions band tag, all of them started writing their own material. In November 1989, using Aquarium’s portable studio, Kolibri recorded their ‘Amerikanskaya Zhena’ (‘American Wife’) demo and next month started working on their debut album in the Titanic Studio with producer Alexandr Titov (ex-Aquarium). Among those taking part in the sessions were Oleg Sakmarov (flute, oboe), Piotr Akimov (cello), Alexey Ratzen (drums) and two Televizor’s guitarists: Alexandr Beliaev and Maxim Kuznetzov. In 1990 the debut album Манера поведения (Manie′ra Povede′niya, Manner of Conduct) was released, first unoficially, a year later - on FeeLee Records in Russia, two years later - in the USA.
The band went on tour (using the instrumental studio backing track) asserting (according to Allmusic) ‘their nonconformity with theatrical stage antics and costuming, in their case identical black ballet outfits and colored gloves’
1991 saw them performing in Rock Club’s 10th Anniversary concert and on Interdelo Festival in Novosibirsk alongside N.O.M., Orkestr A and The Shamen among others. They took part in Nantes’ Leningrad Days (Lеs Allumees fest) and later played in Germany, Finland and Sweden. In 1992 Videofilm company made a musical movie Колибри в Париже и Дома (‘Kolibri in Paris and at Home’, - a self-explanatory title). It’s been demonstrated occasionally in the SPB theaters in the 90’s but surprisingly has never been released on video. By this time Olga Feschenko has left the group and went on to live in Paris.
Kolibri’s second album, Маленькие трагедии (Ma′lenkie Trage′dii, Little Tragedies), was recorded in 1992, renowned jazzmen Yuri Sobolev and guitarist Alesandr Gnatuk taking part in those sessions. A year later songs from the album started to filter through into the Russian radio, Zholtiy List Ose′nni (Yellow Leaf of Autumn), written and sung by Elena Udanova having gained the status of unofficial hit.
On 8 March 1993 the group celebrated their fifth anniversary by plaing in Vyacheslav Polunin’s show. In 1994 Kolbri recorded Naiydi Desyat Otlichiy (Find Ten Differences): this album, produced by Andrei Muratov of DDT fame anr released by Triary Records, is still widely regarded as their best. This time they’ve got instrumental support from bassist Vyacheslav Koshelev and drummer Igor Cheridnik of the group Prepinaki (the latter’s frontman Alex Lushin was Natasha Pivovarova’s husband at the time), as well as from Aleksandr Belyaev (Nautilus Pompilius) and Igor Cheridnik (Strannye Igry).
The experimental Бес Сахара (Bes Sahara, a pun which could mean both ‘Without Sugar’ and ‘The Sugar Demon’, its working title having been - ‘Princesses Don’t Poo’), recorded with Tequilajazzz was released on Gala Records. The boys from TJ joined the girls on stage in Kolibri’s first ever performances with a live backing band.
In 1998 Kolibri starred in Aleksandr Bashirov’s film Zheleznaya Pyata Oligarchy (The Iron Heel of Olygarchy). In May this year the band joined the line-up of Sergey Kuriokhin’s 2nd annual S.K.I.F. Festival organized in New York by David Gross, the good friend of the latter.
In December 1988 Natasha Pivovarova left the band to pursue a solo career. She’s been working all the while as a producer for Molochny Skake (another all-girl group which some critics labeled ‘teenage Kolibri’) and sang duets with Alexandr Lushin and his band. In January 2000 she formed a new group (or ‘the association’ as they preferred to call themselves) named Sous (The Sauce).
In less than a year Kolibri (whom everybody hastened to write off) resurfaced - with the two new members who turned out to be (almost scandalously) male: Oleg Emirov (keyboards, arrangements, ex-Golye) and Andrey Gradovich (guitar). It was only after a year of constant European gigging (two Scandinavian tours included) that the reformed Kolibri made their first St.-Petersburg appearance, debuting on 24 December, 2000 in Teatr Estrady and garnering fine reviews.
The album, Любовь и её конечности (Ljubov I jeio′ Kone′chnosti, Love and it’s Limbs) recorded in Signal Studios with producer Sergey Rusanov (ex-Ulitzy, Televizor) was shelved for more than a year and then released by Real Records - almost simultaneously with their next work, Troi - a collaboration with the Volkovtrio members, Vladimir Volkov and Sviatoslav Kurashov.
In the course of the next two years Kolibri played several festivals (including S.K.I.F.) and appeared in studio compilations (like the two Aquarium members tribut - first Dyusha Romanov’s, them Boris Grebetschikov). The band’s 15th anniversary concerts in Moscow and SPB saw Natasha Pivovarova joining her ex-colleagues on stage. Meanwhile Emirov left and Kolibri joined forces with Soundscript 33, an instrumental trio led by saxophonist and composer Dmitry Fiodorov.
Natasha Pivovarova, Kolibri’s founding member, died in a car crash in Crimea, Ukraine, in September 2007.
Edited by april29th on 10 Mar 2012, 18:21
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