Kateryna Zavoloka is an Ukrainian female musician, sound artist, performer and graphic designer. She’s involved with different music projects, Zavoloka being her solo-work where she explores digital- and analogue sound synthesis combined with Ukrainian ancient folk songs and traditional instruments. Zavoloka is already active for several years now and has released a respectable number of productions. Her latest album entitled “Promeni” is part of a conceptual series around the purification by four universe elements. The work sounds as a mix between experimental-, industrial- and ambient music, but still reveals some IDM influences. “Promeni” has been released on Kvitnu for which, Kateryna Zavoloka is also doing the graphic design.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I noticed you’re artistically involved with different projects. Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us all projects you’re dealing with?
Kateryna: Hello! I am Zavoloka, a sound and visual artist, composer and performer from Kyiv, Ukraine. I often collaborate with Dmytro Fedorenko a.k.a Kotra. Together we’re running the label Kvitnu where we recently have released the new split-EP “XII”, and my latest solo-album “Promeni”. We our project Cluster Lizard we also released a new album entitled “Prophecy”, which has been released on Prostir.
Q: Let’s talk about your music project Zavoloka. What means music to you and what do you try to express by this project?
Kateryna: Music is my freedom, an alchemical creativity that enhances vibrations, transformational force and my very own way to have a dialogue with the Universe.
Q: Your newest album “Promeni” is a conceptual work, which is part of a series dedicated to the purification by four universe elements. How did you get the idea of this concept and what did you try to accentuate on the newest album, which is dedicated to the element of ‘fire’?
Kateryna: I have started the series many years ago and this series is my exploration of purification by four universe elements, a kind of spiritual practice. I started with the air element –“Viter”, then water the element –“Vedana”, later the earth element –“Syngonia” and the final chapter is dedicated to the fire element –“Promeni”.
The Ukrainian word ‘промінь’ can be translated as ‘ray’. Lesya Ukrainka who’s the most famous- and my favorite Ukrainian poetess, has the authorship of this word. She introduced it into the Ukrainian language by the end of the 19th century, and this word has several meanings –as rays, light waves, or verb ‘променію’ – a manifestation of happiness.
Q: I experienced your music as a mix between different influences (industrial, dark-ambient, IDM…), which is perfectly representing the concept featuring different ‘elements’. What are your personal influences and references when it comes to composition?
Katya: I want to make a timeless art and can’t affirm that only some music styles influence it; it can be a book I read, good films, just a deep meditation or a heavy experimental techno party. I think everyone should explore their own way of creativity and integrate it into life on many levels. It just simply makes you bloom from inside. I love to explore various digital synthesis, analogue bass errors, experiment with different sound sources like lo-fi recordings of ancient Ukrainian songs in a village or dirty noises on the streets with riots, or just to have a very clean record of a voice or an instrument in the studio. It is interesting to me to combine various sounds –tune flows from one to another and transforms during a time travel.
Q: I’m always fascinated by concepts and the way artists put it into sounds and songs. What has been the main focus when working on these albums and what makes “Promeni” maybe different from the other releases? What can you tell us about sound creation?
Kateryna: “Promeni” is a very personal album, it is an audiovisual map and history of metaphysical transformations and inspirations throughout my whole life; from strong personalities that influenced me with their powerful inner fire or significant events that ignited my flame from within. For example the track “Sontse | Сонце”, which can be translated as ‘Sun”, is dedicated to ancient Slavic polytheistic religion. During one of my expeditions to the Polissya region in the North of Ukraine I have met an old woman, Dominika Chekun, who has a very beautiful and powerful vibrato voice and has an amazing knowledge of hundreds of traditional Ukrainian pre-Christian songs.
The track “Gromovytsia / Громовиця”, which can be translated as “Thunderbolt”, is a tree that has been struck by lightning and in the Carpathian mountains “громовиця” has been used by Molfars, Ukrainian Hutsul shamans to create magical artifacts. The most famous Carpathian musical instrument Trembita, sounds at its best when it has been made out of it.
The track “Fire Consecration | Вогнехреще” is inspired by Maidan revolution of 2013-2014. On January 19th in Ukraine it is a holiday called Водохреще and then people follow a ritual by sinking into the Holy water. But during that day the Hrushevskogo street in Kyiv turned into the first fires, molotov cocktails and exploding fireworks from protestors against the riot police forces. Back then I have been so amazed by very young and brave kids, that had this strong fire from within and courage to fight for their future.
Or the track “Inhale The Light | Вдихай Світло” is about a powerful and harmonious meditation, when you have to visualize inhaling and exhaling the light, and become the light.
Another track entitled “Iskra | Іскра”, which you can translate as “Spark”, is devoted to contemporary magicians.
Q: The artwork of the album is definitely artistic, but still somewhat cryptic and mysterious. What did you try to express and what’s the link with the music?
Kateryna: I designed the artwork, made the graphics and visuals for “Promeni”. There are nine tracks connected to nine visual symbolic cards; it is like an audiovisual psychotronic art, or an abstract sonic sacred geometry that has transformational influence with conscious intention.
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