At the beginning of 1999, in Minsk (the capital of Belarus), Franc, a musician of "Palace" and "Kriwi", met Ury Zadiran ("The Liavony"). They decided to join their forces in a project they had both been thinking about: a band that would merge ancient musical traditions with modern sound.
Franc had already been working in cooperation with "Kolykhanka", a group of folk singers, for whom he had prepared arrangements combining traditional Belorussian singing with vocal techniques from other parts of the world, such as Tibet, China, India, or Egypt. Ury Zadiran joined them, adding his solid rock guitar sound of the seventies. In this shape, the band, named UR'IA, took part in the "Slaviansky Bazaar" international festival. Other musicians in the first line-up were: Andrei Hvisevich - keyboard, Ludmila Krukovskaya - bass, Chinedu Bid Epelibeh - vocal, percussion, Andrei Sivets - percussion, Victoria Mickulinskaya, Anna Soldatenko, Oxana Annushkina, Anna Harevskaya - folk-vocal.
Later, Alexander Soloviev ("The Clear Silver") replaced Ludmila on bass guitar and Oleg Kozlovsky appeared as a drummer. In August 1999, on recommendation of their manager Sergey Osipoff, the group started to cooperate with Christopher M. Ihihoh (computer, S-Medium DX). In September UR'IA started to work in live sound.
First there was the tradition, then, the scene...
The sound of UR'IA is a mixture of modern styles (underground, rock, brit-pop, fusion, break-beat, r'n'b) and traditional music of various peoples and cultures. The group tries to retain the original manner of singing, as well as the melodic and rhythmical lines, and only enrich them with contemporary accompaniment.
URIA draws from musical material unknown to wider audience, discovered in the archives and collected during special expeditions. The language of their songs is ancient-Russian (a combination of Slavonic and Sanskrit).
Christopher M. IHIHOH