OLGA PERRY - SINGER, SONGWRITER, PRODUCER
PAST & PRESENT
Olga Perry, or Olga Pérshina, as she’s known in Russia, singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, has dedicated most of her life to music. She started back in 1970s in St Petersburg (or Leningrad as it was then). She joined her first rock band ‘The Big Iron Bell’ in 1973 with whom she was lead singer. In 1975 with her own concert programme of American folk songs and covers of the Beatles she took part in a large rock festival in much more liberal Tallinn (Estonia), where she got acquainted with the members of ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Aquarium’ who also took part in the event. This meeting led to a long standing friendship and joint projects with these musicians, especially with "Aquarium", members of which were taking part in some of Olga’s recordings. Of course, rock music in Russia played a distinguished role not only as a music style but also as a way of expressing the attitude of musicians to the State Soviet regime under which the country suffered for more than seventy years – rock music was forbidden in Russia; it was illegal; it was underground. It was only in 1986 that the first Russian rock music recordings got to the West and were published there that the situation started to change, and that led to further substantial changes with the arrival of ‘perestroika’.
Olga left for England in 1983 to join her British husband. She continued her song writing. In 1991 she recorded in London an unreleased single with two songs: ‘Tonight’ and ‘It’s been so long’ with excellent musicians including Deon Estas (George Michael’s bass player at that time). That same year she also recorded a couple of country songs: ‘Deadline’ and ‘Queen of Hearts’ with the British guitar duo ‘The Cat’s Eye’. The year before in St Petersburg she recorded an acoustic album in a tradition of American folk music, called ‘Not so Long Ago’, since Olga has a great love of American folk and country music.
In 1992 she joined the Bolshoi Ballet, helping them as an interpreter on their tour of England, which left her with a cycle of songs ‘Ballerina’s Dream’ which was recorded in St Petersburg with some of the best rock and jazz musicians: Vsevolod Gakkel – chello, ex ‘Aquarium’, Alexander Titov - bass, ex ‘Aquarium’, Nikolay Rubanov – sax, ‘Aukzion’, Pavel Litvinov – percussion, ‘Aukzion’, Oleg Shavkunov – drums, ex ‘Jungle’, current ‘Aquarium’, Rashid Fanin – fine jazz guitarist.
In 1994 she did a demo recording of her first Christian album: ‘Miracles of Jesus’. Christianity plays the major role on Olga’s life. Olga is a Russian Orthodox (Pravoslavnaya) Christian. Since 1995 until the present Olga has been writing and recording Christmas songs, which she releases as singles. As previously in this work she is joined by the best St Petersburg musicians: Yuriy Shevchuk – the leader of DDT, the late Andrei Romanov (Diusha) - ex ‘Aquarium’, Natasha Pivovarova – ex ‘Kolibri’, Oleg Garkusha, Dmitry Shagin, Yuriy Nikolaev all of whom you can see on the photograph
and Michael Chernov – saxophonist of DDT, Marina Kapuro, Alexander Starostenko – jazz guitarist, Herman Zaikin – bass player, Dmitriy Ivachin – lead guitarist, the late Nikita Zaytsev – lead guitarist and violinist of DDT (with whom, by the way Olga started in that first rock band, ‘The Big Iron Bell’) and many many more. In 1994 Olga released a compilation of Christmas singles called 'Pesni Rozhdestva' (Songs of Christmas) which included her latest single 'V Mir Prishel Khristos' (Vsio Gotovo K Prazdniku' and 'Prasing Holy Night' - the English version of it which she recorded for her Charity project.
Another aspect of her career is a large musical cycle dedicated to the poetry of one of Russia’s best poets: Anna Akhmatova. Olga has written more than fifty musical pieces on Anna Akhmatova’s poems 43 of which were recorded and published on 4 CDs. She considers this work to be very important. She is joined now by an English poet and translator, Richard McKane, who is undoubtedly one of the leading British specialists on Russian poetry, especially on Anna Akhmatova. The artwork for the Anna Akhmatova cycle was accomplished by a very talented artist, and a good friend of Olga’s, Natasha Kucherenko, computer graphics done by another St Petersburg artist, and a good friend – Maxim Vasiliev. The music was performed and recorded in St Petersburg by the core of musicians – Olga Perry – vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, Nail Kadirov – acoustic guitar, Dimitry Gusakov – bass, Pyotr Strukov – balalaika and Sergei Statsenko – bayan.
In June 2001 in St Petersburg, Olga finished two new cycles: one ‘Poshli nam, Gospodi, Terpenie’ (‘Send us Patience, O Lord’) dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs’ from poems by Sergei Bekhteyev and Prince Vladimir Palei; and the other ‘Napominayu vam...’ (‘I remind you...’) from poems of one of Russia’s elders, much loved and respected by the whole Orthodox community, Father Nikolay (Guryanov) from the island of Zalit. In 2002 she finished her woork on new CD albums 'Svetlaya Doroga', 'Beloi Lilii Tsvet', followed by an album 'Golgofa Velikoi Rossii' in 2003 also dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs.
Olga’s plans for the future include continuing her work on the Akhmatova cycle, recording and performing it, recording her first full length Christmas album. She hopes that her musical work would be her contribution to furthering the best tradition of exchange in the field of culture between Russia and the West.
Send your comments about your visit to: info[at]olgaperry[dot]co[dot]uk
O.Perry © 2001-2012
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