Juliana & PAVA is a vocal ensemble performing ancient Russian folk songs.
Beautifully harmonized, these songs have been integrated into the fabric of rural life for centuries, carried on from generation to generation only by the oral tradition. Some of the songs are performed a cappella, while others are accompanied by authentic folk instruments, such as the Russian hurdy-gurdy, balalaika, various flutes or percussion instruments.
Performance by Juliana & PAVA is much more than just a concert – it’s a journey many years back into the life of a typical Russian village. Some of the songs refer to celebrations like Easter, weddings or funerals, while others relate to the cyclical rituals of the year, like harvest or midsummer.
The name of the group, PAVA, means a peacock, a beautiful bird in Russian and refers to a favorite song where it carries a symbolic significance.
The singers wear eye-catching, colorful, authentic costumes that were actually worn in the villages. These costumes, some of which are over 200 years old, contribute to evoking an atmosphere and an image of a culture that all at once seems very exotic and yet not all that foreign to the Western world.
PAVA was founded by Juliana Svetlitchnaia, Russian singer and ethnomusicologist, in 2000 in Denmark. The ensemble became well respected for their unique authentic style and wide educational activity. Danish national TV filmed a program about PAVA. Juliana & PAVA have received grants from the Danish Ministry of Culture (2001), the National Music Council of Denmark (2001) and World Music Denmark (2004). PAVA’s CD was nominated for “The World Album of the Year” at the Danish World Awards (2005) and was used as a learning material in a number of schools of music in Moscow, Astrakhan and Altai.
After moving to the United States in 2005, Juliana gathered together the second lineup of PAVA. The ensemble frequently performs at various Russian and multicultural events, as well as at schools and libraries. The list of past performances includes such events and venues as the Northwest Folklife Festival, Cultural Crossroads, Winter Worldfest, Bellevue Arts Museum ArtsFair, Benaroya Hall, Kirkland Performance Center, University of Washington, Russian Cultural Center, Seattle Center, Seattle Public Library, Sister Cities International Film Festival, Slavic festivals across Northwest, and many others.
Notable performances abroad include Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, where the ensemble represented the Russian community of the United States, and participation in Zeriab, the first postwar international music festival in Baghdad, Iraq, by invitation from the Iraqi Ministry of Culture.
Juliana Svetlitchnaia, the leader of PAVA, received "The Person of the Year" award by the Russian Cultural Center and the Russian Consulate General in Seattle (2008) and the Russel Jaqua Award for Artistic Excellence (2009). The ensemble received grants from Artist Trust (2009) and 4Culture (2010).