Kostroma

(Traditional)

Kostroma (the title of the second track on Echo) is a straw effigy of a woman, for which Russian peasants organised funeral ceremonies on the verge of Summer. Special songs and dances were performed. Finally, accompanied by mourners, the effigy was either drowned or torn to pieces over the fields. It seems that Kostroma represented the life cycle of flax, and the ritual aimed to restore fertility of the earth for the next year. I play kanjira, frame drum and clay whistle on this track.

The song is traditional Russian and the rhythm comes from the Middle East.

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Mini-album Echo

I have released a mini-album entitled Echo, on which I had been working with my husband Duncan for some time.

I have dedicated this album to the late Layne Redmond, from whom I learnt frame drumming and women’s spirituality.

Echo reflects the voices from the past. Sounds from the Slavic and Middle Eastern lands interweave.

This mini-album contains a traditional Russian song, a traditional Ukrainian song, a fantasy based on an Medieval Old Slavic epic poem, a take on a classical piece, and vocalising to a frame drum.

On the album, I play frame drum and domra, and sing. Other than that, the album is largely electronic, apart from Duncan’s playing guitar for the bonus track.  I learnt domra in a Soviet music school, from a wonderful teacher Tamara Aleksandrovna Petrova. Two of her pupils became professional musicians – and that’s just from my year and one above.

On the cover photo, I wear a traditional Ukrainian shirt, which was hand-embroidered by my late Grandmother, Efrosinya Matveevna. She lived in a village in the Vinnitsa Region of Ukraine, where she brought up six sons.

For the cover image, I used my watercolour that I call “Mediterranean Peace”.

I thank Duncan for composing additional music and electronic effects in addition to recording and producing the album. I thank Miranda Rondeau, a prominent frame drum musician and teacher, for giving me permission to record her composition. Furthermore, my thanks go to Andrew for taking the cover photo.

Video: Miserlou

This is the tune that played at my Initiation ceremony at Tomsk State University. I played Honey Bunny. And now I play the rhythm.

Soma

We turn this composition into a little quiz game with our audiences. We ask the name of it and where they have heard it before. See if you can tell.

Oxana, of course, had known Miserlou only as an opening titles tune for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Oxana is a huge Tarantino fan and played Honey Bunny in a skit for Initiation Day in her University.

Andrew and Steve, being better musically educated, knew that Miserlou had been recorded many times before Tarantino had an insight to use the song for his seminal piece of cinematography.

In fact, Spotify has hundreds of versions. But it was Dick Dale’s American surf rock version of Miserlou that took flight to fame thanks to Pulp Fiction. Steve does a bit of riffs on his mandola in honour of that version for us.

Trivia point: the word Miserlou means “Egyptian.”

The history of…

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Video: I Shall Find You

Incidentals where I formerly played frame drums no longer performs. Sandi and I of Incidentals now play in a world music band Soma together with the marvellous Andrew and Steve.

Soma

I Shall Find You is a song by Tori Morrill&Al Newman. Inanna Sisters in Rhythm, who has originally played it, kindly gave us permission to perform the song and even shared their score notes! Inanna Sisters in Rhythm also count the late Layne Redmond as one of their teachers.

Sandi and Oxana made a couple minor changes in frame drums’ patterns, but overall it’s what our sisters across the ocean play. Andrew with his clarinet and Steve with his mandola make the magic complete.

Andrew also play a set of ankle jingles – something that Oxana and Sandi found impossible to do while playing frame drums at the same time – so kudos to Inanna Sisters in Rhythm for performing that feat! We all try to do our share in singing, and intend to use our voices more and more in the future.

 

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Incidentals introduce children to frame drumming at Heptonstall Family Day 2016

More community outreach with my frame drum band Incidentals

Incidentals and Todmorden Frame Drum Group

Beth Hardman and Sandi Beth Hardman and Sandi

Oxana and Sandi of Incidentals were excited to introduce adults and children to frame drumming at Heptonstall Family Day 2016. We were warmly welcomed by the organiser Beth Hardman, who subsequently said: “It was really good having you as part of the day.”

FirstTestOfFrameDrums26032016We had families with children young and younger join us informally and check out the instruments.

We played a couple of songs and instrumentals and led an introductory session of frame drumming.

Oxana and Sandi by the stained glass windows Oxana and Sandi by the stained glass windows

Children had their first try of frame drums along with shakers and other percussion in the beautiful interior of Heptonstall Church.

Frame drumming inside Heptonstall Church Frame drumming inside Heptonstall Church

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Incidentals at Heptonstall Festival 2014: Photos

My frame drum band Incidentals played Heptonstall Festival 2014

Incidentals and Todmorden Frame Drum Group

Incidentals at Weavers Square Stage Incidentals at Weavers Square Stage

Here we are, Sandi on Shamanic Remo Buffalo Drum, Oxana on Komuz, and Sarah on whistle ready for our brand new Intro to our set.

Incidentals with a member of audience Incidentals with a member of audience

We have been overwhelmed by warm welcome from Festival Organisers, our compere and the sound engineers.

After we have finished playing, kind members of audience both adults and children took time to talk to us, asking questions about our drums.

– Is is a Bodhran?

– No, it’s not, it’s a frame drum.

Our younger spectators told us they were thinking of starting a band themselves.

We wish them best of luck!

Our set consisted of three instrumental pieces: OxanaAndSarahHeptonstall20092014

  • Reversals
  • Fusion
  • Circle Dance

And three pairs of folk songs:

  • two Russian
  • two Ukrainian and
  • two Macedonian

A member of the

Sandi with a frame drum bag Sandi with a frame drum bag

audience said that the voice and drums blended…

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See Incidentals at Heptonstall Festival, 20 Sep, 1 pm

See my women frame drum band Incidentals at Heptonstall Festival, 20 Sep, Sat, 1 pm

Incidentals and Todmorden Frame Drum Group

Incidentals will perform at

Heptonstall Festival on 20 September, Saturday, at 1 pm on Weaver Square stage, Heptonstall

For Visitor Information click here

heptonstall-fest-web

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International Women’s Day at Todmorden Town Hall, 22 Feb 2014

Oxana at International Women's Day
Oxana at International Women’s Day

The wonderful Lady Mayor & Mayoress of the wonderful Todmorden invited women to Todmorden Town Hall, dressed in Suffragettes’ green, purple and white (I still remember vividly the touching and expressive opera “Emily” by Todmorden’s own Tim Benjamin).

Emma Decent presents Open Mic
Emma Decent presents Open Mic

Crowds flocked to browse the stalls of various women’s organisations and buy crafts and treats made by women of Todmorden and beyond. Emma Decent gave us all the gift of Open Mic, to which she contributed her memorable poems about her dog, having sex with the sky, and of course the epic comment poem about a man who shouted “Lezbo!” at the very first Magic Words – the incident which I witnessed. It is not often that one finds oneself in a spot where history is made.

Egg shakers to perform Kostroma
Egg shakers to perform Kostroma

I started with frame drumming and singing a spring ritual song from the Slavic culture, “Kostroma”. Lovely women around the stage area greatly helped me by shaking multicoloured egg shakers – perfect symbols of spring.

I was happy to share my poems too, in particular “Spring Equinox 2013” to welcome the approaching holiday.

 

In the Soviet Union Internationals Women’s Day was a public holiday, and so it remains in post-Soviet Russia. It is a celebration of Women, of Spring, and there are tulips everywhere. I shared a short topical poem  remember from childhood with the women of Calderdale:

Мы скажем маме: с Женским Днем!
Весь год мы помнили о нем.

(We will say: Happy Women’s Day to our Mom!
We have remembered it throughout the year.)

Oh – and thanks go to Jude for acting as a photo reporter!