WHO AM I?

Maria Burmaka is one of those musicians whose creative work and effort brought the Ukrainian pop music to life. Moreover, her songs served the background for the formation of the Ukrainian understanding of world music.

Maria Burmaka began singing Ukrainian songs while studying in a guitar class in a musical school. In 1987 she entered the faculty of philology of Kharkov University of Karazin. A year later she started composing her own songs on the Ukrainian poetry. In 1989 Maria was the winner of the Sung Poetry festival in Lutsk. Then she became "silver medallist" of the Chervona Ruta festival. The "Kobza" firm released an audiocassette with her guitar songs.

In January 1992 the Canadian record company "Yewshan" released Burmaka’s first CD album titled "Maria", which became the first compact disc in the history released by a Ukrainian artist. The album included not only guitar songs, but also compositions recorded in a new age style. The record came out in Canada and was re-released only in 1998 by "Nova Records" (Kiev). The same album was first brought to life in Ukraine in 1995 on tape due to the "Garba" company.

Maria’s new album came out in 1998, first on tape and then on CDs. It was titled "Znovu lyublyu" ("In Love Again") and was recorded by Arkadiy Vikhorev in Arcadia studio. The album was drastically different from the Ukrainian pop-music of that time, first of all, due to its sound. The amazed press called it ethnic music and Ukrainian gothic style. To record the disc Maria invited real professionals including Roman Surzha (guitar), Igor Melnichuk and Pavel Krokhmalev (ex-The Gadyukiny Brothers, bass and keyboards), Rolando Tomayo (percussion), Igor Volkov (keyboards) and Miron Bloshishyak (flute). The presentation of the record was also special: Maria invited her closest friends and the press to the 17-18th century icons hall in the National Fine Arts Museum, where an acoustic guitar concert was given. She presented her new songs accompanied by the guitar only. The guests could put together their impressions of the CD and its live acoustic version. According to those who witnessed the show, it was an unprecedented act that caused discussions. Maria was the first artist to have made such a remarkable step in the world of Ukrainian popular music. The concert made clear that Maria’s possibilities in live presentation were great and proved that both her big gigs before thousands of people and chamber acoustic concerts were emotionally equal.

Each of Maria’s albums defines some aspect of the singer’s inner state reflecting in the shades of her mood as well as in the concept of sound. Maria is the author of music and poetry. She looks for the musicians herself. Each record differs from the previous one and shows a new Maria Burmaka.

Spring 2000. Maria announces a casting. Her new band starts rehearsing going through a number of staff changes. Yuri Pilip (bass) becomes the band’s leader and sound producer. Actually, he breathes in a fresh sound into Maria’s songs.

"MIA" was released in June 2001. The record is a compilation of 12 songs – 12 dramatic stories and each of them is sincere and true. Exquisite lyrics of a special charm, beautiful music, Maria’s specific voice timber, the energy of a live show, esthetics and actuality brightly characterize Maria and her band’s new creation. Most songs were arranged by Yuri Pilip. Those who created the album were Mikhail Bankovskiy (guitar), Alexander Garkavy (drums), Rodion Ivanov (keyboards), Salman Salmanov (percussion) and Ivan Shevchuk (sound director). The recording took place at " Z ranku do nochi" studio ("From Dawn Till Dusk"). Those who also took part in the creation of the disc were the "Rodoslav" trio (authentic singing), the "Light" duo (sitar and other instruments), Roman Surzha (guitar) and Sergey Tovstolujskiy (dujiridu – an Australian aboriginal instrument), Petro Movchan (violin)… The song "Angel-okhoronets" ("The Guardian Angel") was arranged by Sergey Kovalev together with the string quartet of Taras Yaropud.

At the end 2001 Maria Burmaka released still another disc titled "Iz yangolom na plechi" ("With an Angel on my Shoulder"). She recorded the songs of her previous projects together with the Ukrainian carols uniting them by the idea of a hearty Christmas celebration. Maria loves Christmas and wants others to love it and, what is more important, understand it.

November 2nd in 2002 was the day of Maria Burmaka’s big concert in Kiev. It was held under the title of "MIA" and included the songs of the "MIA" album and the artist’s best songs of the previous years. Those were the two hours of terrific music and high-style poetry. Later the concert was released on the CD "Maria Burmaka LIVE" which was highly estimated by the critics.

In Autumn 2003 (October 15 to 26) the "MIA" tour concerts took place in 10 cities of Ukraine. Maria was welcomed and cherished by her fans. As the year 2003 was announced the year of Russia in Ukraine, in September Maria Burmaka was invited to take part in the inauguration of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in the town of Surgut (Tyumen area, Russia). "I was pleased to find - said Maria, - that my songs are known and loved in Surgut".

March 2004 was marked by the shooting of the video to the song "Don’t Be Afraid to Live", dedicated to the difficulties of those living with HIV/AIDS. The song and its video version made with the help of "The All-Ukrainian Network of People living with HIV" were the way for Maria to express her attitude to the problem and trough music, through her hearty attitude and by her personal charm help these people in trouble living in a social ghetto. The song has become an unofficial hymn of "The All-Ukrainian Network of People living with HIV".

On June 23rd, 2004 the album "Maria Burmaka. Number 9" was presented in a Kiev club "Deja vu". The singer herself calls her new work "a soundtrack to the happy moments of your life". The album includes some already well-known songs as well as an absolutely new material with an innovative sound. The issue of the album is marked with the most positive critic reviews and fans’ comments. Soon after the release, on July 8th, the representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Toronto, Canada had a chance to listen to the acoustic live version of the new programme.

On July 31st Maria presented her band to the public in a Kiev club "Store 205":
Yuri Pylyp (bass), Aleksey Barinov (guitar), Sergey Makarkin (keyboards), Aleksandr Babichev (drums), Andrey Morozov (percussion).

Maria’s sign is Gemini. She was born on June 16th in 1970.