Stary Olsa band (Belarus)

General information

Stary Olsa is a medieval music band from Minsk, Belarus. The band was founded in 1999 and now consists of six musicians. Stary means “old” and Olsa is a name of old brook in the west part of Belarus.

Stary Olsa’s path is deeply and inextricably linked to the traditional culture, history and musical traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (13th – 18th cent.).

The band’s music makes it possible to restore sounds of many forgotten instruments, which have been reproduced with authentic materials and techniques. Stary Olsa uses copies of old aged instruments such as Belarusian bagpipe, hurdy-gurdy, gusli (Baltic psaltery), lute, cister, svirel (reed pipe), rebec, shawms, tromba marina, drums.

Stary Olsa has recorded 14 albums. The band’s repertoire includes Belarusian folk balladry and martial songs, dances, works of Belarusian Renaissance composers, compositions from aulic music collections (e.g. Polack Notebook, Vilnia Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th – early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and Renascence.

Besides its own concerts, the band performs at mediaeval culture festivals, spear-runnings, folklore and music festivals in Eastern and Western Europe, USA.

Stary Olsa’s aim is to not only introduce audiences to the beauty of the Belarusian culture and the richness of its age-old musical traditions, but also show how much it has in common with modern rock music as they bring living history to the stage!

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