“I have no right to hack, because I have to respond to the public”

The Siberian Cossack team “Dunya” came to Krasnoyarsk directly from the tour. The artists thrilled the people of Crimea with their work. The hall was lit with bold Cossack songs, he sang along with “Dunya”. And the group leader, Alexei Sukhov, also encouraged the audience: “Let ‘s shake it, we can dance!”.

The group of Cossacks with an unusual name has long been known in Krasnoyarsk – they play on holidays and festivals, coming to the “Siberian World” in Shushenskoye. For them, this southern area is easily accessible. After all, Dunya is from Minusinsk.

Today, the group of Siberian Cossacks from the Krasnoyarsk Territory is known throughout Russia, even speaking before the president. How artists from abroad managed to achieve such success – we are talking with the head of Dunya, director of the Center for Cultural Development of Minusinsk Alexei Sukhov.

– Alexey, how did your team start and where did such an unusual name come from?

– It was almost 20 years ago. We are all teachers, we work in Minusinsk with the children’s ensembles “Sibirinushka”, “Osinushka”. And somehow the administration of the institution asked us to go to Krasnoyarsk for a regional creative competition among teachers. We went and sang the famous Cossack song “Dunya”. He won. And because we did not have a team, they wrote us in the award: “Dunya”. After that, we think: why not create a group that will sing Cossack songs. And they got the name they wrote us.

– Why do you promote Cossack culture? Are you a Cossack?

– We are all populists, even the drummer graduated from the institute as a populist accordion. And we love folk song. And what kind of culture should we develop if not our own ?! The Cossacks and Siberia are not discontinuous things. All our ancestors were Cossacks.

– Folk songs are difficult to interpret for modern singers, because they evolved under certain realities of life. For example, they sang during the harvest or during the wedding ceremonies …

– And what changed in life? Envy has not disappeared, the desire for conquest, conquest – also no. Now more than ever we need a folk song! It is important to go back to the roots and show how rich the world is, how flexible and interesting we are, how many nationalities live in Siberia.

And our ancestors sang when they worked. And they were healthier than us, because their diaphragm was working. A song is a cry, it is necessary not only for an animal, but also for a human. And now we say to the child: “Shut up, do not shout”. Ritual culture has largely been lost. We have all become listeners. Name at least one person who knows folk songs from beginning to end.

– Do you have to promote a folk song or is it sought after by the listeners?

– Now there is a special interest in the folk song. Especially for young people. For Victory Day in Minusinsk, we did a big production based on the Dunya group – 400 artists participated. We had eight concerts and there were full halls, despite the fairly high cost of the tickets. People were sitting with tears in their eyes.

Do you know when I noticed the interest in folk music among young people? In March of this year. 10-12 years ago, children, wearing folk costumes, were ashamed of themselves. And now they wear it with pride. This means that we do not stand in vain on stage, collectives do not go to concerts in vain, it is not in vain that the Center for Folk Art works.

Popular culture is very developed in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. We can envy the Moscow region. At the Gnessin Academy, they sing songs from the Krasnoyarsk Territory, which were collected by folklorists. Other areas of our country can not boast about it.

How do you choose songs to perform?

– We sing both military and lyric songs. But first of all – the Cossacks. It happens – we hear somewhere. And which ones they brought from the mission. The children and I travel to the villages of Paleopiste, collecting folklore material. Sometimes there are so many interesting songs – with salt. Once our grandmother in a remote village sang us the urban romance “Confessions of a prostitute”. We now have a dream to reach the village of Old Believers in Tuva. But there – either by boat water or by air. Of course, we design these songs to get the attention of young people.

– Have you ever wanted to leave Minusinsk? This is a province and your team is well received even in the capital.

– And what prevents us from getting on a plane and flying for a tour? I think the centrism that we have to do is wrong. Why does everyone want to go to Moscow? More work? From money? But this drug leaves something behind. Someone builds churches, someone builds orphanages and we invest in our team – we get new equipment so that the children can look at us and say: “How nice it is to live in Russia!”. Why do we need Moscow or Harvard? We have such nature – beauty! Minusinsk has a unique climate, nature and people. I enter the store, they tell me: “I got a ticket for your concert”. And here I have no right to hack. Besides, I have to answer to the public.

We live with the principle: where one was born, there one was useful. You have to do things in your place.

– And what is a Cossack from your point of view? How do you show it in the songs?

– This is a man who can never be broken by anything. A warrior defending his home, his land. Represents the Homeland. And our team is moving forward, it can not stop.

– You just returned from a tour in Crimea. How is the situation in the south?

– We performed in Simferopol and Sevastopol. You know, you feel uncomfortable when fully equipped fighter jets are flying over you and combat cruisers are standing on the road. The locals take it easy. And for us it was not so wild after the tour in Luhansk, which we did at the end of 2021. We performed in a concert hall, and opposite was the building of the former Gestapo, where Hitler was imprisoned. We sang the song “Cranes”. And as soon as he started playing the piano, everyone in the room got up.

It was still calm. About. There were bombings. When you are sitting in a hotel on the sixth floor and the siren starts screaming, you do not know where to run. And most importantly – you understand that you will not run to the shelter. There is simply no way out. You drive a mile and a half from the government building – and you are in another world where there are no bridges, everything is destroyed. Soldiers walk around and ask what you are doing here. In those days when we came to Lugansk for a tour, the curfew was lifted. But the concerts started at 17 to end at 19. No one on the street at night. And the children do not walk here even during the day.

The saddest thing is that for children living in Lugansk everything is normal. An entire generation of children grew up in the conditions of war. They do not know the other world. This is a horror and a hope for Russia in the eyes of adults.

If anyone thinks that it is not necessary to defend Donbass, go see how it lives there! If your children grew up in such an environment, you would speak differently.

– What are the plans of the Dunya group?

We are now recording a new album – already the fifth. It is interesting in terms of technology. We have a good recording studio in Minusinsk – we equipped it ourselves. Now even singers from Moscow come to us for recording. We will be on tour all summer: on National Unity Day we will go to the Crimea again and possibly to Lugansk. Then Novokuznetsk, Irkutsk region, Kodinsk. Next year we want to bring our big concert to Krasnoyarsk for Victory Day. And also – to give concerts in his hometown, Minusinsk. Despite the fact that Dunya has been around for 20 years, our first concert in our hometown took place only in March 2022. There was no big stage. But thanks to the local government and the Ministry of Culture, a magnificent Cultural Development Center with a capacity of 500 seats was built in Minusinsk. In the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, this is the best scene.

Photo provided by dunya-group.ru and the press service of Krasnoyarskenergosbyt

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