Iryna is an Ukrainian born singer, songwriter, acoustic guitar and hurdy-gurdy player, she has over 20 years experience in performing and writing. She works in the UK and internationally and has been featured on BBC Radio 3 World on 3 with her band MUHA. Her songs, accompanied by guitar or hurdy-gurdy tell timeless stories of love, of belonging, of living – as well as of the darker side of Eastern European Folklore with tales of abandonment, plots, fighting battles, or preparing for death. Her traditional vocal style, lyrical and at times hypnotising, captures the listener’s imagination and lets it picture mystical sceneries and natural landscapes.
‘Growing up in Ukraine my early music influences were traditional songs at family gatherings; my mother singing popular songs and often playing her favourite vinyls of Vivaldi and Bach in the house. I remember as a child my father would tune into the forbidden in the USSR Radio Svoboda and listen to the western jazz, blues and rock-n-roll. In mid 1980th during my father’s three year posting to Mongolia I first encountered traditional music of other people, what we call ‘world music’. As a teenager I was fascinated by guitar and learned to play my favourite songs by Victor Tsoj, Janna Aguzarova, Boris Grebenshikov. After moving first to the USA, and later to the UK in 2003, I felt the need to reconnect with my own authentic Slavic roots, rediscover it’s folklore and stories.
I sing traditional songs from Eastern Europe, as well as write my own compositions inspired by nature, literature and poetry.’