VGMates - Started All Anew

July 12, 2021

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The band VGMates from Sydney, Australia does not fit into a traditional frame. And much like many of the creatures from the land down under, they don’t quite sound like the rest! Their musical instruments, melodies, and themes are diverse. A tin whistle, duclar, jaw harp, futujara, kalimba, kalyuka and ocarina are just a few of the instruments in their arsenal.  

Some of their songs are in English, others in Russian, and some are instrumentals. Vlad describes the album’s transition, “The genre changes from medieval ballad to ethno-punk, the songs are in different languages, some compositions are upbeat and the others are slow, gentle and meditative. The idea behind the album was to take the listener through various emotions, similar to the ones we all experience in our lives. From joy to sadness or even despair, from thoughtfulness to calmness, from pure fun to love.”

“Started All Anew”, from the album “All Anew” is the first song on the album and thus starts the with a medieval folk tone. It is inspired by the fact that two members of the band had to start their lives completely over from scratch. The leading song begins with a jaw harp, throat singing and a host of wind, percussive and strummed instruments. Vocalist Anna Bourova sings the opening verse from American poet Yana Djin’s Started All Anew, “If I could change the day into the night, If I could turn the water into wine, And wake the still dead people, make them dance. And plunge this whole big planet into trance. Wouldn't you say she started all anew?”.

In discussing the genre blending and mixing of various instruments in their album, Vlad discussed the instrumentation in “Starting All Anew”: “In this song we used Siberian jew's harp, Irish tin whistle and bodhran, Russian balalaika, Balkan fujara, Tuvan style throat singing, various percussion instruments together with synthesizers and electronic fiddle. This diversity of instruments works together to create a sound we wanted to achieve. Maybe there is something Australian in it (not sure if other Australians will share the same opinion (said with a smile).

Australia being an immigrant country brings multiple cultures, where they blend together and create something unique and special, which I personally really like.” The tune strikes a contrast with the following two songs, “The Star”and “Matushka” (both in Russian), and song 5’s (instrumental of course), “Song With No Words”.

The album was recorded over more than a two year period in the band’s private studio in Sydney and Vladimir Gizatulin, a sound engineer as well as the bands leader and, (did I tell you he plays the ocarina?) accomplished musician - did most of the mixing and mastering for the album. Anna Bourova (vocals, guitar) Vladimir Perepelitsa (lead guitar) Taras Ablamsky (bass, balalaika, throat singing) and Viktor Kamolov (drums) Alex Vaghin (percussion) make up the entire band. VGmates regularly performs in Sydney and also at various cultural festivals in Australia, such as Illawarra Folk Festival, Balkan Martenitsa Festival, and they were also featured on SBS Radio in Australia. The entire album is quite enjoyable, but you must keep an open mind — this is not the music you hear on the radio everyday. It is truly Indie by every sense of the word. It will broaden your mind, and the quality is frankly out of this world. In fact as said by the band themselves — “We play folk music of folks that never existed”. 

You must check them out! Give them a listen on Spotify and follow their socials. You’ll be delighted you did!

Added to our Main Spotify Playlist, and to our "Artist Pick" playlist.

Written by Joe.



If I could change the day into the night,

If I could turn the water into wine,

And wake the still dead people, make them dance

And plunge this whole big planet into trance

Wouldn't you say she started all anew?

If I could make a man for every woman,

If I deliver joy for every evil omen,

If I could make all people different, but true

Wouldn't you say she started all anew?

If I could answer everyone's desire

And fill with fuel life's burning fire

If I should brush away the boredom from you

Would you say she started all anew?

You would say she started all anew.


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