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15.05.07 Secret Chants of Ivan Kirchuk

The popular Belarusian band “Troitsa” (“Trinity”) appears so often on the radio and TV that it seems you could reach out and touch Ivan Kirchuk’s beard. And suddenly it appears that the band has not performed in Minsk for more than two years.

“Troitsa” keeps doing what it feels it must be doing: the popular band travels to the outskirts of the country, deep into “virgin lands” and off the beaten track to resurrect the slipping Atlantis of the Belarusian folk song. The musicians have enough words to describe the essence of their endeavor: “Troitsa” is a revolutionary band that has managed to demonstrate that folk music is not only a part of exclusive, elitist, or sub-culture, but also an essential part of the panhuman culture, understandable to fashionmongers and eggheads.

The band reveals a sacred stratum of folklore that has been fermenting on the ancient energy of previous generations and deep psychologism. There are few examples of groups that travel to distant villages to collect musical pieces, and Kirchuk is the chief Belarusian folklore shaman. But his musical weapons are somewhat cooler than traditional rock’n’roll guitars and drums: “Troitsa” uses pipes, violins, guslis, fifes, and mouth harmonicas.

The band has traveled around the world and given dozens of concerts at large festivals. “Troitsa” also authored the original music scores for movies (“Small Runaways” and “Three Talers”). The originality of Kirchuk’s music appeals not only to specialists, enthusiasts and critics, but also to inexperienced viewers and listeners.

The director Sergey Rybakov shot a short film about “Troitsa” “Consecrated by the Sun”. The film was demonstrated at the 4th Tribeca Film Festival founded by Robert De Niro, and the great actor was reported to be very interested in the feature.

The main source of inspiration is a regular domestic concert, though.

— People in foreign countries are unaware of the things you sing about, besides, they do not understand the words. In Minsk many viewers are my friends and students. We always feel that any concert in Minsk is a great responsibility, says Ivan Kirchuk. — Besides, it is easier to involve more instruments during Minsk concerts and get very close to the studio sound quality. We could have 30 instruments, or even 50.

The band regularly acquires new instruments. This year “Troitsa” has bought an African drum, ocarinas and many various percussion instruments. The band plans to perform 29 songs at its next concert.

Nevertheless, Kirchuk is uncertain that the band would be able to gather a full house. Minsk could have left off the vibrating chanting of “Troitsa”, as folk music is getting less popular, just like any type of musical meticulousness. Kirchuk looks incongruous on glossy pages of modern magazines and drops out of the showbiz mainstream. He lives all by himself, and it is not showing off, but simple and true loyalty to the creative vector he chose long ago. Digging for treasures is always tiresome and seems tedious to bystanders.

“Troitsa” seems to be closer to some forbidden territory than any other Belarusian band. Their music is filled with the pulse of the centuries and the national myth. They are working in the territory that Vladimir Mulyavin was the first to explore, and they are doing their best sparing no efforts. The band is preparing a new album. “This has been a very tough thing, as we never had anything of this kind before,” Kirchuk admits. They had never had easy albums, anyways.

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