Yakruna band is creatively different project of two world music stars from Russia – Luiza Imangulova and Marian (Mario) Caldararu.

The voice of the band is Luiza Imangulova – a folk songs performer and multi-instrumentalist, playing traditional string and wind instruments. She is a Tatar born in Kazakhstan, nonetheless she sings Russian folk songs since the age of three. Luiza graduated from Samara Academy of Culture and Fine Arts and has been teaching folk singing for over thirteen years. She is the director of a children folklore ensemble Zhar-Ptitsa ("Firebird"), which has won numerous awards at international competitions in Poland, Austria and Czech Republic.

Luiza was fully engaged in several art projects, including ethnic ones Solyarnye Znaki ("Solar Signs", Samara) and Art-terra (Moscow). But she has become known to general public after taking part in the fifth season of Russian Golos ("The Voice") TV contest. A short time before this she met Mario.

Marian (Mario) Caldararu is the pulse of the band. Sophisticated drummer and percussionist, he was born in Moldavia, USSR and started learning to play the piano at eight. But at the age of eleven a vinyl record of Boney M had opened a brand new world of percussion to him.

For many years of his activity Mario collaborated with well-known musicians and took part in interesting projects. The list is impressive: Arkady Shilkloper and Klaus Burger, Sergey Filatov's Ethnosphere and ethno-jazz trio Trigon (Moldova), Sergei Starostin and Matthias Schneider-Hollek, Leo Slepner and Pascal von Wroblewsky, Andrey Goncharov and Stefan Charisius.

Mario has traveled half of the world with his performances; he played major international festivals in Russia and abroad. He also has been giving percussion master classes in Europe, including the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg. And beside that Mario is a skilled craftsman who makes authentic percussion instruments with his own hands.

Luiza and Mario have been performing as Zhyvye Vorota ("Living Gates") duet for several years. But one day they realised their sound is "too acoustic" for big stages, so the decision to add electric instruments was made. Luiza and Mario found like-minded fellows and highly professional musicians in bassist Alexander Nadezhdin and guitarist Alexander Borisov. In such a way Yakruna was born.

It was Mario who came up with the name.

*Yakruna is the sacred tree of Colombian Indians. The tree grew high in the mountains in clear atmosphere and was very rare. The broth of Yakruna flowers served the local shamans as the mean of communication with the world of ancestors, and also was a powerful medicine. Basically, the Yakruna tree is a bridge that connects the world of ancestors with the world of the living.

This idea was approved by the whole team, as fully consistent to the concept and goals of the band. Musicians consider their main task is building a bridge between traditional and modern worlds. They want folklore to come home to present-day people.

Yakruna's music is a lively canvas of different nations' traditional tunes framed by elegant lace of jazz and jazz-funk. Musicians create a special pulsating sound merging polar music genres and different singing traditions. So old Belarusian song suddenly goes East, and traditional Russian song sounds like rhythm-n-blues.

Harmonious choir of drums, guitars and saxophone is perfectly entwined with gusli (multi-string plucked zithra-type instrument) and African calimba , kalyuka (Russian overtone flute) and kugikly (Russian variant of pan pipes), cajón and doyra (medium-sized Asian frame drum with jingles), and of course, Luiza's beautiful and distinctive voice.

Yakruna is on the rise now, playing club gigs and festivals extensively. In Moscow, they show up at one of the most prestigious venues – Aleksey Kozlov Jazz Club. In summer 2017, Yakruna headlined two big international world music festivals – MIR Sibiri and KAMWA. The same year, the band was a honorary guest at the First Congress of the Assembly of Peoples of Eurasia in Moscow. Yakruna is also a participant of Usadba Jazz Festival (the biggest Russian open-air festival joining various directions of contemporary improvised music) home concerts.

Radio stations (American RUSA Radio among them) often invite Yakruna to their shows; the band's songs are in constant rotation on top Russian Radio Rossii.

The band's debut album 'Zelenaya Ulitsa' (Green Street) has been recently released. And this is just the beginning!

Sound engineer – Valentin Osinsky

Presentation of album was in "Aleksey Kozlov Club" on March 15

Vocals, gusli, kantele, kalimba, kugiks, calyks
Drums, percussion
Alexander Nadezhdin
Alexander Borisov
Elena Ovsyannikova
Regular collaborations
Pipe, bagpipes, flutes, ocarinas, etc.
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