Laukinis Suo Dingo
There is a new icy maiden coming from the North. A 22-year old Lithuanian, the latest in a line of enigmatic, entrancing artists including Kate Bush, Regina Spektor and Frida Hyvönen. Inspired singer-songwriter, piano-player, multi-lingual lyricist, Alina Orlova displays an amazing array of talent on Laukinis Suo Dingo, her debut album, which features songs in English, Russian and Lithuanian. A respected figure of the alternative music scene in her home country, she is also known for her work an an illustrator. Like her child-like, baroque, colourful, naïve, outstanding drawings, the music Alina Orlova makes is both immediate and ever-changing, and turns lingering melancholy into catchy melodies. The album is only 33-minutes long but contains 16 bolts-of-lightning tracks you'll want to play over and over again.
An explosive talent
Until recently, Visaginas, a small town in the North-East of Lithuania, was famous for its nuclear power station, not just the only one in the country but also one of the most powerful in the world. Visaginas is now bound to become famous for another reason, for being the birthplace of the angelic, sweet-faced Alina Orlova and her life-enhancing music. Laukinis Suo Dingo, her debut album, is full of catchy, well-crafted, enchanting songs, a powerhouse of ideas.
The latest in a line of enigmatic, entrancing artists
Kate Bush, Regina Spektor and Frida Hyvönen provide handy reference points when trying to place Alina Orlova in the current musical landscape. Like Hyvönen, her infectious, spirited piano-lead songs shimmer with violins, accordion and percussion. Orlova's vocal agility is also reminiscent of Bush's windswept sound on such wonderful albums as The Sensual World (1989). And, like Spektor, she has the knack of wrapping up a heartbreaking melody in the blink of an eye,
Born in Visaginas in 1988, Alina Orlova grew up in this small town where, as she recalls “there was nothing to do. I learnt to play the piano but everything was geared towards classical music. I really wanted to find a way to express myself, so I began writing my own music.”
Her charming songs stirred up enough interest for her to record them with the help of several friends. She subsequently put some of the tracks on line to try and entrance the ears of millions of virtual friends the world over. The internet has an uncanny ability to help spread the word about unusually talented musicians and songwriters that don't fit the old music industry mould. Her songs first found an audience in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital city, and she began performing there. Without even releasing an album, Alina Orlova became the name on everybody's lips. In 2006, she was only 18 when the readers of the Lithuanian youth magazine Pravda voted her breakthrough artist of the year for her song Nesvarbu. In London, Travis front-man Fran Healy fell under the spell of her catchy melodies and added to the word of mouth when he included Vaiduokliai on a digital compilation of exotic new talents entitled Play. Stop. Rewind.
Unusually, Alina Orlova sings in Lithuanian, Russian and English.“Songs instintively come to me in one of those three languages,” she says. “Russian is my mother tongue, the one I speak at home with my parents. Lithuanian is my second language, the one I learnt at school and the one I speak in the street.”
Birth of an album
At first, Alina Orlova performed her songs alone at the piano. With more sophisticated and ambitious arrangements in mind for the album, she invited a bunch of talented musicians to add baroque touches to her songs: a violin, an accordion, some percussion, a few studio tricks. Drums, piano and violin become one on the irresistible Slepynes, an accordion and a violin infuse fan favourite Vaiduokliai with the rhythm of a Russian polka. However, her fondness for the simple combination of voice and piano remains at the heart of her music and blossoms on several moving tracks (Nesvarbu, Menulis, Vasaris).
First released in Lithuania, Laukinis Suo Dingo met with great success and set her on her way to an international career. She has already performed in Russia, London and Liverpool and appeared at the prestigious Printemps de Bourges in April this year. France has given her wonderful album a great welcome. Its title, Laukinis Suo Dingo – best translated as “Wild Dingo Dog” – was inspired by a Russian book, a little manual devised to help children understand teenage love. This lyrical, moving and sparkling album certainly lives up to its title.
Monday 7th June 2010, Théatre de l’Européen, Paris.