Winter Beasts

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    <br><br>„Wintering Beasts“ – a group from St. Petersburg performing songs combining Russian rock and author’s song. Founded in 1994 by Konstantin Arbenin and Alexander Peterson. It ceased to exist in 2009. In 2018, Konstantin Arbenin announced the re-creation of the group with a new line-up.<br>Story<br>The group appeared as a result of the acquaintance of the poet Konstantin Arbenin and the musician Alexander Peterson, which took place in the summer of 1994 in the St. Petersburg music club „Ambush“. Prior to that, Arbenin wrote lyrics for Minsk and St. Petersburg rock bands, performed his songs at apartment concerts, and Peterson played jazz in various combos and sometimes participated in Pavel Kashin’s orchestra. Peterson was interested in Arbenin’s songs, and in the summer of 1995 at the Forum studio, in 20 hours (there was no more money), the debut album Cities That Was No More was recorded. While working on the album, the name „Winter Beasts“ appeared and the third participant was drummer Anatoly Smirnov, Peterson’s army friend. Many tracks from the first disc were included in the number of the best songs of the group – „Come in“, „Cities that are gone“, „Falling out of the window“, „Glass“, as well as the romance „You are hungry, madam …“ They began to be broadcast on the radio, and, having never performed on stage, the group has acquired many absentee fans.<br><br>In the summer of 1996, the production center „Theater DDT“ helped the group to record the second album „The Number of a Man“. But there was a hitch with the publication, so the same song material first appeared in acoustic form on the concert cassette „Winter Animals on Radio-1″, published by the store „Nirvana“. It was based on the songs played live on the „Russian Rock“ program by Valery Zhuk and Alexander Ustinov. It was these radio hosts who gave Zimovyu a start in life by including their compositions in the playlist of Radio-1, Petrograd.<br><br>In the autumn of the same year, Alexander Peterson officially took over the duties of the group’s director, and in November the group gave its first big solo acoustic concert at the Red October Palace of Culture, having gathered an almost full hall of its newly minted admirers. The composition was acoustic: Arbenin – voice; Peterson – guitar; Smirnov – snare drum. Arbenin performed several completely new songs at this concert a cappella (including the widely known Gin and Tonic). In December, the first electric concert took place with the same line-up plus a computer, into which Peterson preliminarily played bass and keyboards. There was no bassist in the group, and all further electric concerts up to 2001 were performed using a sequencer.<br><br>At the beginning of 1997, Zimovya began to cooperate closely with the lecture hall of the Leningrad Zoo, which was later renamed the club. In this place the band performed for six seasons, two versions of the concert album „In the Zoo“ (1997 and 1999) were recorded here and the film-concert of the same name was shot (1998).<br><br>In 1997 flutist Yegor Mazhuga joined the band, who was initially invited to record the flute part in the song „Witnesses“. His participation becomes permanent, and the flute part has since then occupied an important place in the band’s sound.<br><br>Throughout the history of the group „Zimovtsy“ alternated acoustics and electricity – both in recordings and in concert activities. At the 1997 Songs of the XX Century rock festival, held by the DDT Theater on the stage of the Yubileiny Sports Palace, Zimovye Zverei was the only group to perform in acoustics (and the television version included the Bill of Rights composition , performed by Arbenin a cappella). Later, the „Zimovites“ refused to participate in large group concerts, explaining this by the specifics of their work, which does not fit well with the atmosphere of crowded stadiums and backstage parties. In search of their own face, the group began to move further and further from the prefix „rock“.<br><br>Since Arbenin has accumulated a lot of material for several years of „on the table“, in the late nineties „Zimovye“ releases two records a year, and sometimes more. After the release of two very similar albums „Shoulders“ (1997) and „Witnesses“ (1998), the group released an unexpected disc „Both Heaven“ (1998), consisting only of new songs, but in concert performance. The album became one of the most successful in the history of the group, on it for the first time sounded „Odysseus and Nausicaa“, „Back to Space“, „Five Years Ago“ and „Airplane“, which were fixed in the main repertoire of the group for a long time. And in 1999, as if in a hurry to finish everything unfinished in the XX century, Zimovye released a whole bunch of releases – the acoustic dilogy Things with Their Names and The Return of Named Things (published on one CD, but on two separate cassettes), the second edition of the live album „At the Zoo“ and the electric album „Pedigree“, which became the most controversial in their discography.<br><br>2000 – a year of respite after shock labor – was marked by the release of the studio version of „The Swineherd“ and the from the group of Anatoly Smirnov, who went to live in Holland. From that moment on, the sound of live drums disappears forever from the recordings of Zimovya. On the other hand, bass-guitarist Mikhail Ivanov appears in the group, whom Zimovye at first occasionally invites from the Vermicelli Orchestra. Mikhail does not take part in the studio work (since all the bass parts are prescribed by Peterson), but since then he has been taking part in concerts with minor interruptions.<br><br>In 1999, the group begins periodic performances in Moscow, and in 2001 it releases one of its most famous albums – „The End of a Quote“, built as a musical and literary composition. The title is conceptual: Arbenin declares that he is tired of playing with quotations and allusions, that he wants to finish with these philological exercises and write easier. Regular listeners (and there are indeed many philologists among them) are shocked by such statements, but do not really believe in them. The band, meanwhile, is releasing a rather strange („experimental“ as the annotation says) Dystopia (2001), half old material, half new, half live recordings, half studio recordings; and then another electric record – „On the Third Roman“ (2001). With the departure of Mazhuga, an important stage in the biography of the group ends.<br><br>In 2002, the permanent line-up becomes acoustic; violinist Alexandra Savina joins Arbenin and Peterson, who previously took part only in studio recordings. Later, Mikhail Ivanov reappears in the group.<br><br>At the beginning of the XXI century, Zimovye takes a few more steps in the direction opposite to rock music and show business. The musical performance „Animals are looking for summer“ (2003), released on disk and staged on stage, can rather be attributed to the style of theatrical, actor’s song; Peterson and Mazhuga perform there for the first time not only as musicians, but also as vocal artists. And in 2004 the group travels to festivals of art songs and becomes a laureate of the Grushinsky festival, which significantly expands its audience at the expense of fans of this genre. Continuing the theme „Zimovye“, he recorded the concert „Bard’s Album“, on which, in addition to the guitar, the clarinet of Evgeny Krivoshein sounds not very characteristic of this genre.<br><br>In 2007, the „Like Adults“ was released, recorded with the participation of Krivoshein and Savina. At the same time, the group resumed electric concerts and several times performed in St. Petersburg in a rock lineup with drummer Max Klotz and Mikhail Ivanov on bass.<br><br>Released in 2008, the album „Always ready for rock and roll“ becomes the last in the history of the group (except for the collection „Selected Songs“ published at the same time). „Zimovye“ first launches the official version that in the spring of 2009 the group will go on an indefinite sabbatical, after which it gives a series of percussion concerts with the participation of Ivanov, Savina and the newly appeared Mazhuga. But already in March, Arbenin begins performing with the solo line-up of the „Carnelian Band“ and the sabbatical ends with the announcement of the termination of the group’s activities, published in the fall of 2009. All musicians disperse on different projects: Peterson plays jazz, Savina plays classics, Mazhuga raises her instrumental project Minus Tril, Arbenin and Ivanov collaborate in the Serdolik Band.<br><br>In December 2018, „Winter Animals“ announces the resumption of studio and concert activities with a renewed line-up, and preparations for the release of a new album. In addition to Arbenin, the group included Vadim Kurylev (guitar, ex-DDT), Anatoly Smirnov (first drummer of the group), Mikhail Ivanov (bass-guitarist of the concert line-up, ex-Vermicelli Orchestra) and Alexey Kormin (harmonica).<br>Authorship<br>Critics and musicologists have never been able to define the style of Zimovya, classifying it as either acoustic Russian rock, or bards, or theatrical chanson. During its existence, the sound has changed more than once – first hard electricity, then minimalist acoustics, then something in between. The composition of the musicians also changed, but the tandem Arbenin – remained unchanged. Konstantin Arbenin composed poetry and music, and then Alexander Peterson did the musical processing of the songs, either creating full-fledged arrangements for the group, or choosing the usual guitar accompaniment. Some songs remained without musical parts and were performed a cappella by Arbenin („Leaving – come back“, „Sad Roger“, etc.). On the first officially released albums (mainly on cassettes), the group did not decipher the details of authorship, limiting itself to the line: „Songs – Wintering Beasts“, which gave rise to the erroneous, but very widespread opinion that Arbenin writes exclusively the lyrics of these songs, and Peterson composes the music for them. Later, already on discs, a permanent title appeared: „Songs of Konstantin Arbenin; arrangements by Alexander Peterson „, but the delusion turned out to be persistent: many listeners still consider Arbenin to be exclusively a poet.<br>Composition of the group<br>The main and permanent member of both line-ups of the group is vocalist and songwriter Konstantin Arbenin.<br><br>Other members of the group:<br>Alexander Peterson, on the recordings Peterson played several instruments, performed on stage as a guitarist (from 1995 to 2009)Anatoly Smirnov, drums (played from 1995 to 1999 and from 2018)Georgy (Egor) Mazhuga, flute (1997-2005, concerts in 2009)Alexandra Savina, violin (2002 to 2009)Evgeny Krivoshein, clarinet (since 2005)Mikhail Ivanov, bass guitar (occasionally played since 2001, constantly – since 2018)Vadim Kurylev, guitar (since 2018)Alexey Kormin, harmonicas, rhythm guitar (since 2018)DiscographyMajor albumsCities that are gone – November 1995The number of people – October 1996Shoulders – March 1997Witnesses – november 1997Both skies – March 1998, concertPedigree – March 1999Things with their own names – September 1999The return of personalized things – September 1999End Quote – September 2001Dystopia – March 2002In the third Roman – october 2002As adults – May 2006Always ready to rock and roll – July 2008Newest chronology – december 2018Concert AlbumsAt the Zoo (version 1) – 1997The fate of a diver – 1998At the Zoo (version 2) – 1999Post Outpost – 2003Cones – February 2005, 2 CDBard album – 200511 bis – 2019CompilationsFavorites – 1998Selected songs – 2008SinglesOnly in pairs – 2020Super Botanist – 2021Musical performances (fairy tales)Swineherd – october 1999, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian AndersenThe animals are looking for summer – December 2003, based on Russian folk tales, 2 CDBootlegsAcoustic Pedigree (2000)Concert at the Central House of Journalists on February 20, 2009Concert at the Central House of Artists on March 27, 2009Concert filmsAt the Zoo (VHS) – 1998Documentary Concert (VHS) – 2002Gin and Tonic (DVD) – 2004Beasts Seeking Summer (DVD) – 2006Swineherd (DVD) – 2007Wintering Beasts (DVD) – 2008Festival „Mighty Handful“<br>From 1999 to 2008, Arbenin and Peterson annually organized a festival of singing poets „The Mighty Handful“, which was attended by Mikhail Bashakov, Kirill Komarov, Svetlana Golubeva, Vyacheslav Kovalev, Dmitry Maksimachev, Anatoly Bagritsky, Max Ivanov, Elena Gudkova, Ekaterina Boldyreva, Pavel Fakhrtdinov, Anton Dukhovskoy, Evgeny Paltsev, Yulia Tuzova, groups „Tamburin“, „Night snipers“, „Steps“, „Zga“, „Speech defects“ and many others. Each of the festivals ended with a performance by the „Winter Animals“ group, which was joined by other participants in the final.<br>Achievements<br>The group „Winter Animals“ in 2004 became a laureate of the XXXI Grushinsky festival.<br>

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