90th release from Antonovka Records
Chuvash villages appeared in Russia’s Irkutsk Province during the Stolypin agrarian reforms at the beginning of the 20th century. Later, many Chuvash went there immediately after World War II. The songs on the album are mainly from the latter period.
Kukkuk Ensemble (“Cuckoo” in Chuvash, tracks 1-9) was formed in the village of Tagna in the Zalarinsky Dstrict. Its members range in age from 22 to 56.
Upper photo on the album cover, from left to right:
1. Marina Matveeva (leader)
2. Tatyana Vinogradova
3. Anastasia Vinogradova
4. Elena Avramenko
5. Olga Smirnova
6. Elena Dasheeva
The members of the duo The Belkovy Sisters (tracks 10-17) were born in the village of Uspensky-3 in the neighboring Ziminsky District. The duo is named after their mother’s maiden name. Nadezhda now lives nearby in the village of Maslyanogorsk, while Veronika lives in the city of Irkutsk. Nadezhda is a teacher of the Chuvash language, while Veronika is the chair of the Chuvash national cultural organization Yultash.
Part of the sisters’ repertoire (tracks 10, 14, 15) consists of popular Russian folk songs translated into Chuvash. The “Young Agronomist Song” was translated locally in Siberia and is a hallmark of the duo.
Lower photo on the album cover, from left to right:
1. Nadezhda Fidikova
2. Veronika Timofeeva
Recorded on July 9, 2022, in the House of Culture of the Village of Srednepikhtinsky, Zalarinsky District, Irkutsk Region, Russia.
Thanks to Veronika and all the performers, as well as Elena Ludwig, Lyudmila Gerda, and Natalia Dmitrieva.
Source: Antonovka Records (Facebook), 22 January 2023. The liner notes, above, have been edited slightly for clarity’s sake.