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Varvara or "Barbara" in Russian Cyrillic, is a Russian pop singer and dancer who uses influences from around the world in her music. The word “Barbaros” in Greek means meaningless and untranslatable set of sounds. Ancient Greeks call them barbarians, who didn't know their language. Initially there was no negative sense in the “barbarian” definition. Only later, in V b.c., during wars between Persians and Greeks, the last put forward a theory about mental inferiority of barbarians, and the term gained another definition.
Romans considered barbarians those who didn't observe the law. Under Roman Empire collapse many barbarians adopted Christianity, and in christening got Varvar or Barbar names by mistake, in feminine – Varvara or Barbara. The one of those Varvaras (Barbaras) died for faith, and later on she was canonized for her acts. Nowadays many girls are named after Holy Varvara.
The appearance of Varvara on Russian scene signifies a new era in the development of Russian pop music industry. Her songs exist beyond traditional formats of “rock” and “pop”, as her music is a delicate combination of almost all world music traditions. Alternative and symphonic music, ethnics of northern Europe and East, electronics and new age, “flavored” with actual sound – the modern music should consist of those elements in Varvara's opinion. In an attempt to find an ideal form of pop music, which would organically sound in any language in any country, Varvara is really close to changing styles like Madonna does. In that sense Varvara is a stranger amongst her colleagues on the pop scene.
Varvara began her career in musical theatre, studying in Odessa, Ukraine at Gnesinskoe Academy under director Matvei Osherovskiy where she was repeatedly rejected for record contracts. While working at a theatre under Lev Leshchenko, she graduated from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts GITIS. Having wanted freedom from directors her whole theatre career, Varvara began a solo career that she could control.
In 2000, NOX Music signed Varvara, and in 2001 released her debut album, entitled "Varvara". The majority of the songs on the album were written by authors who were virtually unknown in the Russian music scene. Varvara's backup musicians were also unknowns, but later became known as "The Varvaras" as Varvara was their only gig.
At the time of Varvara's debut, radio stations were hesitant to play the music, considering the sounds and influences in Varvara's music ranged from Russian to Arab. Despite the hesitation from radios and little airplay, Varvara enjoyed success with songs like "Varvara", "Butterfly", and "Fly to the Light".
In the summer of 2002, Varvara received a rather unexpected proprosal from Norm Bjorn, founder of Swedish Cosmo Studio, to record some songs with the Swedish Symphonic Orchestra. Recording with the Swedes resulted in the song "Eto Pozadi". The remaining songs that needed to be recorded for Varvara's next album, however, were recorded in Russia.
Varvara takes her listeners on travels when they listen to her music, but the artist herself also travels to gather influences from around the globe. Varvara travels to the United Arab Emirates frequently with her family, and is supposedly going to record an all-Arabic album. Besides the East, Varvara has traveled to northern and western Europe, as well. The Celtic influence on Varvara during her travels to Ireland resulted in the song "Two Sides of the Moon" for her second album, "Blizhe", which was released in February 2003. Most of the songs for "Blizhe" were recorded at "Bratia Grimm" studio in Russia, and were released by ARS-Records.
Varvara released another album, called Dreams (English name)in 2005 which enjoyed much success in Russian. Varvara will continue to travel and hopefully record more music in the future.
In 2005, Varvara took part in the Russian national selection for Eurovision, with the song "Letala Da Pela". She came 4th in the final.
In 2006, Varvara again sent a song to the Russian final, which was this time selected interally. The song she sent in 2006 was "We'll Be There", the English version of the song "Otpusti Menya Reka". However, she wasn't selected.