1991 and 2001

In 1991 Sigbjørn Nedland invited Mari Boine and two of the musicians from her band to Moscow, to meet with three Russian artists and a rock band. It was Mari Boine’s first international project of collaboration that resulted in a CD. The music combined many influences, from Sami traditions and joik to Russian traditional music, Moscow rock, and experimental music. 

The resulting CD was released two times: first in 1992 in Norway, as “Møte i Moskva”, and then internationally in 2001 with a different title: “Winter in Moscow”. Sigbjørn Nedland had met Inna Zhelannaya and the Moscow rock band Allians the year before, when he was making interviews for his radio show. He immediately saw the potential in a collaboration between the Russian artists and Mari Boine. Som more research brought in two more Russian artists: Sergey Starostin and Andrej Misin. Together with Mari’s musicians Roger Ludvigsen and Gjermund Silset they created an impressive mix of musical styles.

The one week recording session produced three longer numbers with the full participation of all the artists and musicians. The opening track, Dás Áiggun Čuožžut, sets the stage. It is based on a composition by Mari Boine, with inputs from the Russian musicians, notably a great performance by Sergey Starostin on a traditional flute made of cow’s horn, and the participation of a folk choir that Sigbjørn Nedland heard by lucky chance at an art exhibition, and promptly invited to the studio – their very first time in a recording studio. Andrej Misin composed the first part the second song, which has tatally crazy parts and lots of energy, but that also contains beautiful singing by Inna Zhelannaya. The third track, “The Corridor Song”, is the result of an experiment where everyone went out of the studio and into the great hallway outside, where one stereo pair of microphones was placed centrally, and everyone improvised, singing and playing from various parts of the corridors leading away from this place.

The rest of the album contains separate tracks by the participating artists, A beautiful song by Inna Zhelannaja and Allians, A specially recorded track by Mari Boine and band, a song where Allians shows their ability to merge their rock background and Russian tradition, like the haunting old flute called kaloka. Sergey Starostin and Andrej Misin both provide songs echoing their traditional background but also their understanding of modern expression.

From top right: Mari Boine, Andrej Misin, Gjermund Silset.

Below: Inna Zhellanaya, Roger Ludvigsen, Sergej Starostin

Recordings were made at MDM Studios, located in the majestic Moscow Youth Palace, a typical example of monumental modernist Soviet architecture, containing concert and theatre halls, meeting rooms, a community center, – and a recording studio. The music was recorded there by a very accomplished sound engineer: Igor Zamarayev.

Igor with Andrej Misin at MDM Studio

When the album was re-released in 2001 with the name “Winter in Moscow”, it had an international release by the very highly respected German record company Jaro Medien. That led to more exposure, and it entered the World Music Charts Europe at number seven in March 2001.