Otava Yo

A group of folk musicians in St. Petersburg, Russia, spontaneously formed Otava Yo in 2005. They wanted to create new interpretations of Russian folk music, open to everyone with open ears (and legs), and to revive neglected tunes from bygone times.

Their first album By the Pharmacy was released in 2006. After experimenting for three years, the band released their second album Once Upon a Time in 2009 and here their notion of Russian Beat came fully alive. The next album Christmas, an exquisite album of traditional songs celebrating Christmas, released in 2011 was in a very different direction. And in 2013 the album What Are Those for Songs further developed their music with wonderfully uplifting music. They’ve been called “modern buffoons” and the music has been described as “communal groove”. Both are true. Otava Yo play their music in a vigorous manner with uninhibited humour, mixing firely-played traditional Russian instruments with a look straight out of Gogol – one which simultaneously frightens and attracts the tourists. Otava Yo aim to shatter the cliché that Russian folk music is boring and undanceable.

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Otava Yo turn Russian folk songs into uninhibited dance music, a new Russian Beat. [The band] can take great concert halls by storm with their Slavic temperament and fire … an authentic example of what will happen if a classical Russian Ivan gets into a groove – Kiviberg, Viljandi Folk Festival

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