Skylark of the Stage

Some time ago Alesya, a delicate girl with an ear for music, appeared on the stage with a touching song “skylark” and she managed to become a popular Belarusian singer
Thirty years ago came on the legendary band “Syabry” (“Friends”) with its founder and permanent soloist Anatoly Yarmolenko. The musicians have played at most prestigious concert scenes of the former Soviet Union, had a number of tours abroad, many times toured in the USA, India, Poland, Germany, Finland, countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
And at all times and to all their tours “Syabry” took their talisman with them — Alesya, a delicate girl with an ear for music. Anatoly Yarmolenko’s daughter made her first appearance on the stage with a touching song “Skylark”. As it often happens to the children of famous artists, she could have remained in the audience’s memory as a subtle girl who used to sing one single song. But, fortunately, Alesya proved to be an adient person who has managed to become a popular Belarusian singer.

— Now I can say that I experience a “second wave” of my popularity, when I can pluckily tour without the band “Syabry”. Not long ago I returned from Russia, Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad region where I had performed both solo and with a dancing company. Today I am pleased to see a capacity house and realize that all these people have come to listen not to the concert of “Syabry”, but to the concert of Alesya. People of different ages come to my recitals. And all of them equally enjoy themselves at the concert, even grannies start dancing. This is the closest and the most pleasant communication with people that one can imagine.

— And why do you tour without musicians?

— For now we decided to concentrate on the concert show. We take a full van of set dressing, costumes with us... For example, for the song “There, at the party” the dancers and me dress ourselves in neckpieces and feathers, take clappers in our hands, confetti and have a real fiesta and rejoicing on the stage.

— What songs from your repertoire does the audience of today prefer?

— In my view, the audience is tired of discothиque rhythms. Not long ago we recorded a song “Kalina, kalina” in Belarusian, kind of a folk song, and we made a colourful adaptation of it. People often ask to sing this song too.

— What are your associations with Belarus?

— When I enter on the scene at joint concerts, all the Belarusian emcees announce me almost the same: “There are many symbols in Belarus — “Belovezhskaya Pushcha”, Belarusian tractors... But there is also the girl Alesya”. Of course, the name Alesya is associated with Belarus. And also, for some reason, it is associated with summer, fields, dew, a flying stork, of course, and purity. In fact, after the tour, when I entered Belarus, I suddenly realized that what I had been missing “there” is purity and cleanness.

— A short time ago I read somewhere in the press that “Alesya” is your pseudonym.

— Yes, I remember this article. But it didn’t alarm me. If it were my secret carefully concealed for all my life, then yes — it would be a startler. But everyone has called me Alesya since I was a child. And I have always openly said that I work under a pseudonym. So what? Many artists adopt stage names. There is nothing indecorous about it.

— With the song “Birds, my birds”, Alesya, you seem to have become a different self. How did it happen to you?

— Perhaps, my time came. I have always realized that I should sing modern songs. And suddenly I heard the song “Birds” composed by Oleg Yeliseyenkov. The Belarusian pop-music was experiencing an upsurge at that time, and I fathomed out that I had to entice these “Birds” into my cage. The more so, as the “birds” theme has always been present in my songs. But I weighed 80 kilos after child-bearing and was almost twice my usual size. And in order to diminish somehow my proportions on the screen, I decided to wear a corset in that clip. Nowadays, by the way, wearing a corset has somehow become very popular among artists...

— And how did you manage to recover your beautiful shape?

— If one sets a clear goal, one can attain everything. And I am trying to be in good form — when in Minsk, I go to a gym, and when on a tour, I take a hoop and a sport mat with me. Yes, this is indispensable.

— Do you have a good family, Alesya?

— I have recently started refraining from talking about my family. Because of those articles in the papers...

— Do you support family traditions, or are you for the modern gender approaches to marriage?

— The older one gets, the easier attitude to many things one develops. I remember, when 18, discussing adultery with other girls: “No. One shouldn’t forgive adultery!” And now I realize that it is not this that is important. This is all trash and trifles. Basically, I am for a family. I have a very good example — my parents — and I hope that my son (by the way, Anatoly Yarmolenko) will take after his grandfather, my father. Frankly speaking, I have seldom seen such refined, clever and wonderful people as my father. Besides, by nature I am a stay-at-home person, I like staying at home, doing something, cooking a dinner, for example. I like playing with my child. I value the feeling of home very much. I even feel lazy sometimes going to my rehearsals.

— Does your son understand already that his mum is a celebrity?

— Now yes. When he was younger, he asked me: “Mama, why does everybody know you?” And now he knows already, and he teaches me sometimes: “Mum, you should always be beautiful. We should have our car washed immediately. People see you and recognize — you should be in a clean car”. And when people come up to me for an autograph, he stands aside looking very important, and I see that he is very pleased.

— Does your family have a motto that you inherited from your grandfather, Anatoly Yarmolenko?

— One should be easier — thus one will attract people.

Viktoria Popova
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