Country of origin: Tatarstan (Russia)
Years active: 1975-1982


The story of this ensemble is divided into two periods: hobbyist and professional.

The hobbyist period began in the distant year 1965, when freshmen from the Kazan State University Volodya Petroshen, Slavya Desyatkov, Slava Gusev and their former classmate Rashid Sabitov organized the quartet. Rehersals took place at the house of R.Sabitov. Later, Vadim Usmanov joined them, and then young collective called themselves 'Аргонавты'. In the beginning, the ensemble was only instrumental, but soon the musicians became crowded in this genre, and in the fall of 1966, having changed their name to 'Орфей' (Orfei), the musicians seriously took up vocals. First to sing was V.Desyatkov. Self-composed songs appeared: of V.Usmanov, V.Petroshen, V.Desyatkov. This allowed the ensemble to make new programs, consisting almost entirely of their own songs.

The concerts of 'Орфей' gathered full halls, thanks to the support of the leadership of KSU, the collective performed tours in Moscow, Leningrad, Bulgaria, Georgia.

Like many amateur ensembles of the time, 'Орфей' at first had great difficulties with instruments. The ensemble's sound engineer Vladimir Stepanov made amplifies himself, and the musicians made the speakers. Desyatkov's famous bass speaker could hardly be lifted by four people. The first real relic was the bass guitar, bought in a pool on the left after the Bulgarian tour.

In 1968, the first personnel changes took place. Guitarist R.Sabitov left, replaced with Mikhail Lepeshinsky. The ensemble continued a rich, creative life, but the university's framework was already becoming right. But there was no 'unwinding'. There was no manager, there was no professional equipment, there were no connections to sound recording and replication. As a result, there was crisis in the ensemble, and in 1969, V.Usmanov—one of the founders of 'Орфей'—joined the Tatar State Philharmonic, where together with R.Sabitov, he organized the first professional Kazan beat-group, 'Идель'. 'Орфей' again turned into a quartet: V.Desyatkov, V.Petroshen, V.Gusev, M.Lepeshinsky, and, having worked a little in this composition, the ensemble broke up to get back together on the professional stage in five years.

In 1975, Vadim Usmanov was invited to speak with the director of the National Philharmonic, Marat Tazetdinov (poet, singer-songwriter). He proposed Usmanov to create a vocal-instrumental enseble for the philharmonic, to which Vadim immediately agreed. However, an ensemble already worked in the philharmonic—under the management of Vladimir Berezin. As a result, the two teams agreed to a 'face-to-face confrontation' at a series of concerts at the Sports Palace, after which V.Usmanov received an official offer from M.Tazetdinov to create a VIA. So a professional vocal-instrument ensemble appeared in Kazan. And since V.Usmanov was known as the leader of the university 'Орфей', it was decided to give this name to the team.

V.Usmanov started recruitment. Joining the ensemble were Gulia Akhmetshina (vocal), Sergei Rychkov (bass guitar), as well as the entire composition of the People's Artist of Russia Ilham Shakirov, who had for some time worked with V.Usmanov earlier.

After many rehersals, the presentation of the group took place as a concert in the recreation center of builders. 'Орфей' performed in an expanded, experimental composition. By this time, the ensemble already had the Italian organ 'Farfisa', bought (and played) by Vladimir Abyshev from the accompanying staff of the Yugoslav singer Radila Karaklic. Due to lack of rehearsals, the concert turned out 'raw', and after a serious conversation with M.Tazedtinov it was decided to leave the backbone of six people, who were joined by presenter Igor Salakhudtinov, singer Vadim Gavrilov (from the group 'Волжане'), dancing pair Edba and Victor Sharafutdinov, and also administrator Boris Slavutin. The new manager immediately took the unknown VIA to concerts in Baku, Moscow, Sochi, cities in the Volga region.

In 1976 in Sochi, there was a historical meeting between 'Орфей' and two already famous people at the time: Yuri Malikov and Viacheslav Dobrynin, who were going to just listen to the beginning of the concert, but stayed until the end, promising to come to the 'Орфей' perforance in Moscow. At the Moscow concert, they brought their musician friends. The performance went well, Y.Malikov and V.Dobrynin informed V.Usanov about an upcoming all-Russian copetition in autumn. Through the director of the philharmonic, 'Орфей' filed an application for participation and began persistently preparing. Before the competition, V.Usmanov decided to strengthen the vocal group of the ensemble and invited the soloists Gulnar Timerbulatov, Valery Konchurin, and Oleg Fedorov from the ensemble 'Звуки времени'. At this time, a new drummer appeared in 'Орфей': Vladislav Shcherbakov. Then there was a month of intensive rehearsals, after which was the delivery of the program in the hall of the Youth Theater. Ten songs were selected for the contest, of which three were by V.Usmanov 'Где ты, лето', 'Первый', 'Если ты любишь', a song by M.Tazetdinov 'Жувит на свете сказки', 'Колыбельная' by A.Monasypov, 'Скажите, лебеди' by N.Bogoslovsky.

The ensemble's performance at the first round in Sochi was greeted with a standing ovation, but rules were broken—there were more than ten people on the stage, which was reported to V.Usmanov by the chairman of the jury, A.Flyarkovsky. However, I.Kobzon stood up for 'Орфей', demanding they give the guys one more chance. 'Орфей' successfully passed the second and third rounds and took second place after the Moscow 'Коробейники', although they talked on the sidelines that the ensemble would receive first place. After the contest, they once again changed drummers—Rustem Galleev joined the group. After some time, V.Konchurin and O.Fedorov returned to 'Звуки времени'.

During a joint tour with the orchestra 'Современник', Anatoly Kroll inited the whole ensemble to their program. The opinions of the musicians were divided. A crisis was brewing. Administrator Boris Slavutin left 'Орфей', and a 'grey period' began in the country—ensembles were banned from performing more than three of their songs in concert programs. As a result, V.Usmanov left work in Sochi, and a new leader took the helm of the ensemble: Rafael Mazitov. New people came to the ensemble: Evgeny Egorov (keyboard, violin, arrangement), Aleksandr Lavrentiev (guitar). The firm 'Мелодия' released an LP.

The next (and final) stage in the work of 'Орфей' was the work of the accompanying group of Renat Ibragimov. Then the change of the philharmonic to the Barnaul, several changes of names ('20-й век', 'Манжерок').

In 1982, M.Tazetdinov made an attempt to revive the collective, inviting musicians from 'Звуки времени', who were also connected with 'Орфей: Valery Konchurin, Viacheslav Lopatin, Aleksandr Obukhov, Gulnar Timerbulatov, Leonid Finker, Rafael Gaynetdinov. Rehearsals began, but did not end with anything. Later, V.Konchurin gathered another one—the youth team, but this didn't bring any results.

In its short professional life, 'Орфей' left a lot of great songs in the best traditions of the VIA genre: 'Зорька алая' (A.Morozov), 'Где ты, лето' (V.Usmanov), 'Я люблю этот мир' (V.Migulya), 'Твой поезд ушел' (R.Maiorov), 'Расставание' (B.Ribchun), 'Любит, не любит' (A.Filyarkovsky).

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Орфей has many releases. Please check a website like Discogs for more information.