The vocal and instrumental ensemble “Kraianye” (in Russian “zemlyaki” – “fellow countrymen”) was formed on the base of the Poltava Regional Philharmonic Society and appeared in front of audience at the beginning of 1974. The first name of the ensemble was “Divertisment” because the musicians of “Divertisment” created the main part of the new ensemble. The first group consisted of four musicians: Vladimir Lin’kov (keyboards), Nikolai Yavir (guitar), Alexandr Sirenko (bas-guitar) and Oleg Ragulin (drums).
In the first concerts of “Divertisment” the singers Tatyana and Olga Bondarchuck, Vladimir Shcherbachenko took part. The sound technician Vladimir Bovkoon was also the competent part of the group. In the middle of 1974 Anatoliy Kalyanikov (trumpet) and Oleg Sheremenko (saxophone) also joined the group. At the beginning of 1975 the group changed its name to “Kraianye”.
Later Valentin Prikhodko was placed instead of Oleg Ragulin in the group. Nikolai Lepskiy – the singer with the bright lyrical tenor – joined the group as well. The voice of Lepskiy added some colorful tones to the songs of “Kraianye”.
The basis of ensemble’s repertoire consisted of Ukrainian folk songs pop adaptation. Vociferous singing, polyphonic usage and modern instruments made the repertoire sound unique and juicy. Thus, “Kraianye” concerts became of a great demand not only among Ukrainians but also on the territory of the ex-Soviet Union.
In August 1975 “Kraianye” visited Checkoslovakiya (now Check Republic) for the first time. The same year “Kraianye” met its future leader Anatoliy Pashchenko. It has happened in Gorkiy (now Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia), where Anatoliy studied at the conservatory. That talented and capable student was well-known among the musicians of the city. His parents were originally from Kremenchug, Poltava region, therefore Anatoliy couldn’t help visiting the concert of “Kraianye” as the group represented his historical motherland. After the concert he personally came up to the musicians, told about his deep interest in folk songs and his dream to come back to Poltava and asked “Kraianye” to recommend him to the Philharmonic Society director as the possible future employee.
At the beginning of 1976 Anatoliy Pashchenko came to Poltava for the interview, tried out several pieces of solo presentation and was accepted to work in Poltava Regional Philharmonic Society after his graduation from the conservatory.
In summer 1976 the stuff of “Kraianye” musicians changed. Its leader Vladimir Lin’kov left the group for “Chervona Roota” of Sophia Rotaru. Anatoliy Kalianikov went to Krivoi Rogh and Nikolai Yavir and Alexandr Sirenko started another job as musicians in “Teatralnyi” restaurant in Poltava. Alexandr Lebed (guitar) from Ivanovo joined “Kraianye” and Mark Aizikovich (solo) returned to his native city of Poltava from Sakhalin. Anatoliy Pashchenko also arrived in Poltava and was offered position of the group leader. He also played bas-guitar and worked as a solo singer of the group.
That stuff of “Kraianye” musicians remained till the end of 1977. Many fans of the group appeared at that time. The successful presentation in Moscow made the ensemble popular and the famous Soviet composer Maxim Dunaievskiy offered the co-operation to the group. At the same time that new project with Dunaievskiy became the reason of musicians’ conflict with the direction of the Philharmonic Society and the further split of the group itself. Only Anatoliy Pashchenko continued to work in Society. The rest of Poltava musicians having joined again with N. Yavir and A. Sirenko and invited Vitaliy Zaikov (bas-guitar and clarinet) – ex-musician of “Sirena” group – organized the new ensemble named “Festival”. It started to work in Belgorod Philharmonic Society. Anatoliy Pashchenko invited other musicians and went on working.
The new full-time rehearsals started, the leader was choosing the repertoire, divided the parts for each musician. The real professionalism was the priority for Pashchenko. The first song offered by him to the group was “Tuman Yarom” (“Fog Along the Ravine”) in unrivaled authoring. That very song determined the further style of the ensemble’s activity. It was the first song where the birds’ voices and the original sounds of nature had been used. It has become the real masterpiece. The pop adaptations of folk songs were made so impressive that nobody could stay indifferent.
“Kraianye” very often found themselves in different almost extremal situations. For example, rather often the musicians of the group had to clean the way for their car from the snow with spades by themselves, but they had never cancelled any concert.
Anatoliy Pashchenko was increadibly hard-working person. He could easily work during the whole day and night as well as he taught his musicians to do the same and very professionally. As they were pop – musicians, first of all, they got used to play by ear without written music. Anatoliy on the contrary demanded to produce the sounds as they had been written in the part. He himself wasn’t only the excellent musician but also the brilliant teacher of singing, therefore “Kraianye” had never worked as a group with the only solo singer – all the musicians in the group sang.
Anatoliy was quite an ambitious organizer and he realized perfectly well that the popularity and recognition were possible to deserve only through participation in different contests. He immediately approached in that direction and “Kraianye” became prize-holders in any contest or festival they participated.
Even during the all-Union contest of pop – singers where “Kraianye” were presenting “Tuman Yarom” the jury said that they came across the real Ukrainian group then only for the first time.
In the first contest of “Pesennyi Vernisazh” (“The Song Vernissage”) in Kiev “Kraianye” became awardee and later the group was getting the same prize for 11 times. That special result no one group of musicians managed to achieve. Since 1978 the stuff of musicians in “Kraianye” had been changed: Pavel Bogoosh (guitar), Nikolai Kushch (keyboards), Vladimir Yarovinskiy (drums), Anatoliy Pashchenko (bas-guitar), Vladimir Bovkoon (sound technician), Sergei Podvorchan-Netudykhata (guitar). But the next year the stuff was changed again. Instead of Poltava musicians the aquaintances of Anatoliy Pashchenko from Ivanovo joined the group. During some time Alexandr Pashchenko, Anatoliy’s brother, worked in the group.
In 1981 the stuff of musicians was following: Nikolai Kushch (keyboards), Igor Zolotaryov (guitar), Igor Zasulskiy (keyboards), Irina Tsybulnik (violin), Yuriy Gusev (trumpet, flute), Andrei Babich (guitar), Sergei Raketskiy (drums), Anatoliy Pashchenko (bas-guitar). All of the musicians except Gusev and Pashchenko were originally from Poltava.
In winter 1982 that stuff of “Kraianye” released its first floppy disk-mingon in “Melodiya” company. The following songs were included in the album: “Chto Tyebye Podarit’?” (“What to Present You?”), “Za Litamy” (“As the Years Pass”), “Roksolana”, “Stozhary”. In spring 1982 “Kraianye” was starring in the musical “Ulybki Nechiporovki” (“The Smiles of Nechiporovka”) as well as in the presentational video-clips of other songs such as “Chto Tyebye Podarit’?”
By the end of 1982 the musicians of the group had been changed again and the new ones started to be looked for. Finally the Philharmonic Society invited the complete group “Galaktika” from Nikolayev. They were dressed in “Kraianye” costumes. But also those musicians didn’t stay long in Poltava. Once upon a time during a tour the bus of musicians caught fire. The people were safe but the fire destroyed all the musical instruments. The damage was great, Anatoliy Pashchenko burnt his hands trying to save his guitar from fire. The shock of the accident was enormous, so the new migration of musicians in the group began. Nikolai Zhovnitskiy (guitar) from Karlovka, Poltava region, and the left-handed guitar player Stepan Vasylyshyn from Stryi (Western Ukraine) were the freshmen of the group. By the way, Stepan Vasylyshyn was the holder of the unique style of guitar playing named flaathletes.
The next period of “Kraianye” activity was connected with the replacing of above-mentioned musicians with the others from Dnepropetrovsk. The first ones who joined the group were Sergei Prokopishyn (saxophone, flute), Igor Rybalchenko (keyboards), Vladimir Kolesnik (guitar). Later, since 1985, when M. Zhovnitskiy, Y, Nyechayev and S. Vasylyshyn had left the group, Igor Semendyaiev (bas-guitar) and Andrei Novitskiy (drums) started their work in “Kraianye”.
‘My first meeting with “Kraianye” wasn’t the pleasant one’, says Viktor Gerasimov, the poet. ‘I visited their concert in Oktyabrskiy Palace in Kiev and was shocked. It was impossible to listen to what they were singing. I wrote a critical article after which…became friends with Anatoliy Pashchenko. He understood everything from the first word. “Kraianye” as well as Pashchenko had been studing on Volodya Ivasyuk’s songs. We composed several songs with Tolya, but the most successful of them I consider “Bereghynya”. The train from Poltava arrived in Kiev at 6 a.m. Tolya called me immediately. ‘I composed the new song!’ – I head in the handset. He was an eternal romantic person and similar to some extent Yevheniy Martynov. It’s difficult to imagine now another person in our pop-music who would take after Pashchenko. Unfortunately, he passed away very early. He is a bright star of our pop-songs and this star will be shining forever. Tolya will be always glowing with his unique fire’.
The giant-disc of “Kraianyie” named “Chto Tyebe Podarit’?” contained Russian-language hits and was produced in 1985. Certainly, it wasn’t able to compete with Moscow giants of the same genre as they had already been using the new modern instruments and styles. The second giant named “Ukrainian Souvenir” was more successful. It contained two folk non-stop-disco suites and the super-hit “Chogo Kvity Ne Vianut’?” (“Why Don’t the Flowers Fade?”), which helped “Kraianye” to become the leaders of Ukrainian pop-music.
In 1987 “Kraianye” got the Diploma of all-union contest of pop-musicians. Later the time of changes also influenced the group’s activity. Its musicians started to work in hard-and heavy style (the songs “The Night Motorcyclist”, “You Are Making Money”). But after all those innovations the group decided to come back to its traditional genre of vocal and instrumental ensemble. As an example, there were the record albums “Tsyogo Razu Ya Nadovgo” (“This Time I’ve Come for a Long Stay”), “Ochyshchennya” (“Purification”), “Nad Dniprovs’kym Kraiem” (“Over the Dnieper Land”).
Everything went on successfully and hopefully for the group. Anatoliy Pashchenko was looking a lot for songs in villages having communicated to old people. His world-famous “Kalyna” (“The Guelder Rose”), fanastically arranged later, had been found by him in Lubny, Poltava region.
In autumn 1989 Anatoliy had to change totally the stuff of musicians again. To do that he went to Kremenchug, Poltava region, to listen to the concert of the local band “Formula – 1” on his friends’ advise. After the conversation with the musicians three of then agreed to work in Poltava Philharmonic Society as a part of “Kraianye”. They were Sergei Starchenko (guitar, solo), Alexandr Kozlov (bas-guitar, solo) and Sergei Batsman (drums, solo, a poet and a composer) – at present he is the leader of “Kraianye” group. A little later Valeriy Sokolick (keyboards, solo and a composer) joined them. After almost ten days the fresh stuff of musicians finished the new program and left for its first tour around Russian Zolotoye Kol’tso (Golden Ring). Thereafter the group did lots of concerts, radio transmissions and TV shows. There were many new songs recordsand the work at three albums simultaneously. The two of those albums had never been released because of the tragic death of Anatoliy Pashchenko in car accident.
26 July 1990 became the last day of Anatoliy Pashchenko’s life – he died in a terrible car accident at the age of only 38. Anatoliy was coming back to Poltava from Kiev having carried the new posters of “Kraianye”. It was very dense fog and the car of the Philharmonic Society crashed with a big lorry transporting the metal rods. After that tragedy the star of “Kraianye” faded away fast. For almost two years the group wasn’t able to work with its full capacity. The young musicians of the group had managed to work with Anatoliy for less than a year. The group went on working only as a part of the Philharmonic Society. After Anatoliy Pashchenko’s death Alexandr Kozlov (bas-guitar) became the leader of the group. In two years Valeriy Sokolick (solo and key-board) changed him. In fact, Valeriy Sokolick really revitalized the group.
1994 became remarkable for “Kraianye”. During six months the group was having a tour around the USA and Canada and it was very successful. The album “Over the Dnieper Land” was released in Canada in Yevshan Corporation Studio.
At the end of 1995 the musicians of the group founded their own half-professional sound recording studio in Poltava. In 1996 “Kraianye” did a tour around France. At the end of summer 2000 “Kraianye” reminded the audience about their activity with the two-hours live concert on the First National TV Channel and a bit later they showed in the benefit performance of Raisa Kirichenko, the diva of Ukrainian pop-music. After some time Valeriy Sokolick left the group.
As for adaptation and arrangement the modern “Kraianye” go on following the traditions of Anatoliy Pashchenko. They have the same songs in Ukrainian folk style.
The group came through the different times. Thus, in the middle of 2000-th it had to leave the Philharmonic Society and fought for the right to keep its original group’s name. When the new direction of the Philharmonic Society organized the new group and named it “Kraianye”, the real “Kraianye” started the trial to defend their right to bare its name. Owing to anti-monopoly committee the “Kraianye-2” had to stop its activity and the Philharmonic Society was fined.
At present “Kraianye” is being revitalized with the help of new professionals and is ready to start the tours and participate in concerts.
Sergei Batsman is the leader and the ideological inspirer of the group, its poet, composer and the best solo singer ever. The stuff of musicians is following: Alexandr Klimovskiy (guitar), Viacheslav Tretyak (bas-guitar), Sergei Malinivskiy (drums), Oleg Yaroshevskiy (keyboards).
Translated by Svitlana Omelchenko
Перевод Светланы Омельченко