Olga Arefieva. “Triptits”

Amazing, multisided, ultimately feminine and firmly masculine Olga Arefieva is famous as the author and the composer of her songs with charming and memorable melodies and deep lyrics. The founder and the leader of the “Kovcheg” (“Ark”) band which is known to the public since mid 90s, she has graduated from the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow and has released 21 musical albums. She has also written four books and has got an award for her poems. Olga Arefieva is putting on her perfomances, gives courses on body plastics and is also juggling – and she keeps advancing continuously by setting and completing new projects. Olga Arefieva is playing as if she is living through real life and is living in tune with her play and songs. And the public is following her by singing together the phrase from one of her most famous songs – “And you just play and play and play, and will perhaps see the Heavenly Way”.

The Album “Triptits” (Russian — “Триптиц”) (the name merges the Russian words of “triptych” and “three birds”) was maturing for a long time and contains only a small fraction of what Olga is going to record. For years and years she has been deeply involved in Russian (and not only Russian) spiritual singing tradition. She has studied, lived through and transformed into singing layers of historical material, and as a result her theatrical and musical projects and concerts with hymns and songs of prayer about eternity and death have attracted an enormous interest. The projects “Songs about death”, “Miserable birds”, “Death memory” and “Forest” have enabled one to realise for ever that archaic hypnotic songs about soul journeys are no longer contained in the dark cellars of folk memory but are, in fact, boldly modern and in high demand. One would need to live more than one life to tell about this in the way Arefieva did. This is actually her topic. For the whole of her life she was composing songs about that, writing books and putting on perfomances.

“Triptits” contains very special hymns: they are calm, winged and full of enormous internal power. These spiritual works collected under the same “roof” seemingly appeal to very different cultures: the folk orthodox tradition, Hindu mantra and rock-hymns of hippy movement. But all of them, unexpectedly or not, convey the same message about universal and inconceivable which beckons and twinkles behind the curtain hidden from us by our «coats of skins». “Triptits” is a multicultural album about cosmic love, ultimate loneliness among people, abyss of sin and an attempt to escape from the cardboard world of everyday life, about firmly shut door to the eternity and the glimpse of real freedom without which the breath may stop.

“Do not lose your heart” is the old Russian folk chant which exists in many melody versions. “Stotram” is a translation or, more exactly, the complete retelling of the Hindu spiritual hymn which has been heard and recorded by Olga in a novel way. Now this is no longer a praising of a particular god but is an appeal towards unknown, into the indescribable cosmos which makes everything else meaningless. “There is no death” is the only fully author’s song of Olga in the album. She was singing the words “Change my blood, replace my memories…” during her youth when this fragile girl has realised to what extent her soul is just a guest in this world. Studio recording of this song has appeared for the first time while in the past there were only concert versions which have never been officially released.

The words and the amazingly beautiful melodies of the songs in “Triptits” may serve as a “rescue rope” for a spiritually drowning person who is watching the rapidly vanishing reality. There is nothing else to rely on as the words and values have been turned upside down. This is “not the paradise, not samsara, not the hell, not nirvana…”, “Yesterday I was sitting with my friend — today I see the landmark of death…”. Silent prayer, speechless sound, the bell of a blind man following the edge of the abyss. The album is culminating with an explosion of a new star in the final epic song “There is no death”. It is exactly at the moment when the image of the one way bridge appears from nowhere. For those who have passed it there is no reason to return any more. The great Game, called “The Earth Planet” is just a game, and one day it will terminate revealing the mechanisms and the programmers. This, however, does not mean the end for the existence and the consciousness which, in contrast to the materialists’ opinion, are the same. And this entity is far bigger then the world which we can observe and perceive at the moment.

The recording has been made by Timur Ibatullin. This is his third album with the “Kovcheg” band, where he has acted both as a sound engineer and as a musician. The two previous albums are “Angel and the girl” (2017) and “Jane” (2016). Peter Akimov and Sergey Indukov have played their instruments as usual. Natalia Zherenkova, Elena Kalagina, Yulia Teunikova, Adrian Gusseinov and Timur’s daughter, seven-year-old Diana Ibatullina, have participated in choirs and the polyphony.

Album “Triptits”
1. “Not White Swan” – Russian folk song, Smolensk region.
2. “On the Jordan River” – Russian folk song, Belgorod region.
3. “Lamentation of Joseph” – Russian folk spiritual hymn.
4. “Stotram” (sanscr. स्तोत्र, stotra means “praise”) – ancient Indian hymn and praise. Russian lyrics by Olga Arefieva.
5. “I Have Lived Through My Life” – Russian folk spiritual verse.
6. “Yesterday I Was Sitting With My Friend” – Old believers spiritual verse.
7. “The Man Lives” — Russian folk spiritual verse.
8. “Do Not Lose Your Heart” — Russian folk spiritual chant.
9. “Agni Parthene” (Αγνή Παρθένε) – a non-liturgical hymn composed in Greek by St. Nectarios of Aegina in the 19th century. Russian translation by hierodeacon Herman (Ryabtsev).
10. “Unfortunate” – Ukrainian folk song.
11. “There Is No Death” – music and lyrics by Olga Arefieva.

There is no Death
Do change my blood
And replace my memories.
Give me a different face.
I will watch with my alien eyes
What will happen
When the End comes with healing pace.
There is no death,
There is no end to the death forever,
There is no heaven
There was no heaven and there will be none,
There was no beginning to heaven
And there will be no end.