Indigenous Bands and an Orchestra at the International Arctic Forum 2019 Opening


The Gala Concert devoted to the opening of the 5th International Arctic Forum will be held on 8 April on the St. Petersburg Music Hall Big Stage. Bands representing the Arctic regions of the Russian Federation have prepared unique programmes for the Forum’s guests and participants as well as for the city residents. Their performances reflect both the centuries-old traditions of folk art and imperishable world classics. St. Petersburg acting Governor Alexander Beglov will give a welcoming speech before the concert.

The concert will begin with a performance by the Northern Symphony orchestra conducted by Fabio Mastrangelo – one of the most titled and well-known conductors, who participates in many festivals and performances in Russia and abroad.

The concert programme includes performances by Arco ARTico of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) State Philharmonic, the ethnic music band Ayarkhaan and Chukotka Eskimos band Kochevnik. 

The ethnic music band Ayarkhaan (Yakutia) is a personal project of Albina Degtyareva. The group makes music that goes beyond familiar genres and categories. Using only their own voices and khomus, Ayarkhaan not only plays music but imitates the voices and sounds of wildlife: various birds, cranes, horses neighing, the sound of the wind and the heartbeat, immersing the audience in the amazingly picturesque world of wildlife.

The repertoire of Arco ARTico – the string ensemble of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) State Philharmonic – includes both classical and popular music, film music, Argentinian tango and pop hits from the past.

Vocal and dance group Kochevnik represents Chukotka. At the Music Hall concert, the group will be accompanied by Olit Tevlyanaut, demonstrating her wide and colourful vocal range and a combination of various performance techniques. Olit’s love of Chukchi folk songs is based on a blend of folk vocals, ethnic music, fusion and mastery of the mouth harp. 

When Norway PM Erna Solberg meets with Russian president in St. Petersburg next week, it will be the first time in ten years that the two countries’ Heads of State are in direct discussions. She will not reveal what they are to talk about. We are clearly witnessing a shift in atmosphere now, says expert on Russia.

Similar discussions between Norwegian and Russian top-level politicians have not taken place since then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg met then-president Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow in May 2009.

Solberg Wednesday gave a speech at the High North Dialogue conference in Bodø in which she stressed international cooperation and the blue economy as pillars of economic development for Norway in the Arctic.

Solberg would not, however, say what issues she will raise with the Russian president during next week’s meeting.

Senior researcher and Russia expert at the Norwegian Institute of Foreign Affairs (NUPI), Julie Wilhelmsen, argues that Solberg’s visit to Russia fits in to a larger European pattern in which many states have become more realistic about how to relate to Russia.

Researcher Arild Moe at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute says Norway sends a strong signal through both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister’s attending the conference in St. Petersburg.

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