Arkadiy Kots Band
- Who we are
AK is a folk-punk, combat folk music group formed in 2010 by poet, translator and activist Kirill Medvedev (guitar, vocal), sociologist and activist Oleg Zhuravlev (violin, keyboards, vocal), artist and activist Nikolay Oleynikov (harmonica, percussion, vocal), and later on - an activist and sound engineer Anna Petrovic (accordion, keyboards, vocal). The band has transformed and mutated many times and now it is a ten-piece ensemble that includes Maria Bogomolova - lead vocal, Elena Bataeva - cello, Rita Bondar - violin, and Ivan Nemykin - bass, and Ilya Bit Garmus (drums).
The band is named after the 19th-century Russian poet of Jewish descent Arkadiy Kots - famous also for translating The Internationale into Russian. In his version, the song became the first official anthem of the Soviet Union in the early XX century.
In 2011-12, Arkadiy Kots’ version of Luis Llach’s L’Estaca (in Russian “Стены”) became viral during the anti-Putin protests in Russia. 8 years later, this song was adopted by the social and eco-justice movement in the town of Schies (North-West of Russia) - where a movement that could be compared with Standing Rock in Dakota was formed to protect the land.
In 2015, Arkadiy Kots released their second long-play - Music for the Working Class - a collection of workers’ movement songs.
In 2017 - My Bitter and Beloved Land - a double LP as a result of a long-term collaboration with the worker-migrants musicians from Pamir mountain region who live and work in Moscow, was released. The album includes migration songs from Italian, English, Polish\Jewish, American, and Tajik\Shugnan traditions.
Their single Boss Wants Me Workin’ Till I Die became the soundtrack to the massive rallies against the infamous pension reforms in Russia, in 2018.
Arkadiy Kots’s Belarusian version of Chilean Venceremos was chosen as an anthem of the United Socialist Workers Coalition in Belarus in 2019.
For 2020, Arkadiy Kots is working on a selection of prison songs, and together with Free Home is cooking a Trans-European Partisan Jam.