Svitlana Okhrimenko (artist name: Svitlana Nianio) is a Ukrainian artist, musician, and signer. She is one of the most prominent representatives of the independent music scene of Kyiv in the late 1980s — early 90s. She has repeatedly recorded and performed in collaboration with other musicians and bands, such as Oleksandr Yurchenko, Sugar White Death (Cukor Bila Smert’), Ivanov Down, GeeNerve & Taran, and Blemish. Svitlana still performs and publishes new recordings today.
“Transilvania Smile” is one of the first solo works recorded in 1994. During this time, Svitlana repeatedly visited Germany, where she had the experience of playing in parks and on the streets, gathering contacts of the local art scene. Her cooperation with the international choreographic group Pentamonia, based in Cologne and consisting of several girls who performed in theaters, took part in various performances, and were engaged in music. They met in the 1990s during joint performances with "Sugar-White Death." After that, they corresponded, and the idea of doing something together arose. Svitlana attended several of their performances, which inspired her to write music for a new project, and the band members helped to realize their creative ideas. Later, they started rehearsing together.
The name “Transilvania Smile” was invented by the project participants, and it symbolized the mold on the mirror and the reflection of a smiling vampire. However, shortly before the premiere, they changed it to “Firefox”, as the participants actively used flashlights and the play of light and shadows in the scenography.
The premiere occurred in the local Urania theater, previously a gallery. Isabel Bartensein directed the choreography, and Svitlana played, sang, and improvised. She said it was an excellent experience for her and the band. Besides Cologne, they also performed in Aachen.
Later, Michael Springer offered Svitlana to record this material in his "Phantom" studio. They had already worked together and recorded music for their project (Svitlana Okhrimenko / Phanton). Michael was also interested in the Ukrainian independent scene and participated in the creation of several compilations that featured bands from Kyiv and Kharkiv. Svetlana played the piano and harmonium in the studio and also sang. After the recording, the material was never released in its entirety. Two compositions appeared on the cassette compilation “Shovaisia” (Hide) in 1995, some episodes were re-recorded for the “Kytytsi” album in 1999, but for a long time, the full version of this recording remained practically unknown to listeners and was kept in Svitlana's and Michael’s archives.
This album is one of the most personal and insightful works of Svitlana Nianio from the 90s, which you can now get to know in its original form and sound.
released September 1, 2023
Original Soundtrack for the Dance-Theatre Performance “Transilvania Smile” by Svitlana Nianio
Recorded in phantonstudio, Cologne, 1994—1995
Mastered by Michael Springer (phantonstudio)
Shukai team: Dmytro Nikolaienko, Dmytro Prutkin and Sasha Tsapenko
Liner notes by Vlad Yakovlev
Graphic design by (DN)
Svitlana’s stage photo by Christiane Bowinkelmann
Pentamonia Dance Group photos by Olav Faustmann
Special thanks to Michael Springer (phantonstudio) and Guido Erfen
Muscút (Ukr. Мускáт) — etymologically is a syllabic abbreviation of two words: Music and
Record label focusing on pseudo and practical audio archaeology.
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supported by 4 fans who also own “Transilvania Smile, 1994”
This monumental recording, created behind the Iron Curtain in the perestroika era, combines minimalism, drone music and improvisation based on electrified violins and amplified household objects, showcasing a Ukrainian violinist’s extraordinary creativity.
More: https://thequietus.com/articles/32451-the-quietus-reissues-compilations-mixes-of-the-year-chart-2022 Jakub Knera