“Polýnushka”, founded in July 2004 in Berlin is Germany’s first vocal ensemble of authentic Russian folklore music. We are five singers from different countries (Russia, Bulgaria and Ukraine) who have all been working with Eastern European music for many years. We created the ensemble in order to save a unique, but disappearing, Russian vocal tradition. Our mission, insofar as this is possible in an urban context, is to preserve this musical tradition and make it known to a wider audience by sharing the beauty and depth of Russian village songs with others. Nowadays it is only the generation of 75 year olds, the grandmothers, who have grown up with this tradition. Because we have learnt from them we see ourselves as their successors and carriers of the tradition. Due to Soviet censorship, the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, and later, due to the appearance of television in the villages, this music is a rarity today.
Today it is only Babushki who still know these songs and sing them in everyday life. That is why one hears old voices on most archive and field recordings, whose beauty, strength and mobility can only be guessed at. But in the heyday of this music, it was mainly young singers whose voices unfolded to their full potential when they sang.
Many folklore ensembles imitate the recordings of the babushki with their voices. We, on the other hand, use the technique and dialect of the babushki, but each of us keeps our own timbre. That's why we sound like an ensemble of the present and create situations like they were experienced in the village a hundred years ago.
We wear beautiful traditional costumes from different regions, some are old and some are lovingly sewn and detailed according to original patterns. We bring the diversity of Slavic traditions to the stage in order to show our listeners a colorful picture and to open up unknown sides of this "continent" to them through music. Our ensemble Polynushka has transnational importance and our authentic songs have symbolic power. They stand for peace, diversity and dialogue to learn from history and draw energy from traditions for a future we need not be ashamed of.