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Singing for freedom

Jazz singer Olesya Yalunina on how jazz freed her from a career in economics.

Published: February 29, 2012 (Issue # 1697)



  • Jazz singer Olesya Yalunina will perform with guitarist Alex Degusarov at Erarta on Friday, March 2.
    Photo: FOR SPT

As for so many of her heroes, for jazz singer Olesya Yalunina, jazz is freedom: A means of expressing emotions and ideas, as well as a means of freeing oneself from the homogeneity of daily life. This is apparent not only in her music and her singularly expressive voice, but in her personality as well. Yalunina flits between multifarious topics with ease, always with a smile framed by her trademark scarlet lipstick, clearly at ease with herself and eager to imbue similar feelings among those around her.

Yalunina is, unsurprisingly, most animated when talking about jazz, her job and her lifeblood. She talks lovingly about its ability to inspire and indeed, a look into her past explains why. Born in Irkutsk to a conventional working family, her mother and father encouraged her to become an economist. Although she played the piano at music school for eight years, the rigid structure of such an education, limited as it was to the classical styles of Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, nearly extinguished Yaluninas passion for music. Having moved to St. Petersburg at 17 to begin studying economics, it quickly became apparent that office stuff was not for me, she says. During this time, at about the age of 19, she began listening to jazz artists, notably Diana Krall and Tierney Sutton.

I dont know why I started it was intuition, Yalunina says. Before long, she had fallen in love with all things jazz, broadening her musical repertoire whilst surrounding herself with musicians in the field. It was then that she decided to embark on a second degree, this time in jazz.

Music in particular, jazz was what freed Yalunina, and she remains confident in its ability to help people.

Music can be different for different people for some people it can be useful and helpful. Now there is more commerciality but music always has power. If you want to hear it, it always has power.

While some artists set themselves the mission of bringing about political change or doing something on a grand scale, Yalunina feels there are other equally important ways in which to help through music.

Its a big responsibility, but I want to help people, she said. To encourage people to change their job, to break routine, to look at things with a fresh perspective. When we perform its a great happiness, when you think people might listen to your music and go home and get on the Internet and listen to more jazz. You know, just so they dont switch on the TV! I want to give people good, positive emotions.

At the same time, Yalunina concedes that jazz music is not for everyone.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, July 30


SPIBA continues their series of Look@It tours, which focus on the success stories of major brands in the St. Petersburg market. Todays event will focus on the Gorky Golf Club and will also be held there. For more details visit spiba.ru



Thursday, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Womens Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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