First Steps

Singer Alexis Kochan was born in 1953 and raised in Winnipeg’s North End. In her early years she was surrounded by exotic east European music. Her immigrant father, Ukrainian-Canadian mother and grandmothers, also singers, regularly sang Ukrainian traditional songs to her. As she listened the seed was sown.

With these familial influences, it came as little surprise that Alexis also wanted to sing. At three she became a member of her Ukrainian church choir. At five, she debuted as a soloist. Alexis had an obvious talent and others wanted to help nurture it. She was selected to sing with Walter Klymkiw in the Olexander Koshetz Choir. She studied piano and by 13 was playing guitar and performing in folk clubs.

A brief trip to Ukraine reignited Alexis’ love of the country and its traditional music. She sensed this was the beginning of a significant journey. And then fate stepped in.

In the late seventies Alexis was offered an internship in Ukraine with the renowned Ukrainian folk music ensemble Veryovka. Surrounded and awed by the history of Kyiv, Alexis searched, explored, lived as a Ukrainian and retraced the steps of her ancestors. The visit changed her life.

Alexis felt a deep and soulful connection to the country and knew it would manifest itself somehow. Gradually she began composing her own music based on old Ukrainian songs and fragments. She reinterpreted what she found, gave it new life and brought it to fresh ears.

This exploration of ideas led to her first recording Czarivna in 1982. Produced with Arthur Polson and principal players from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the collection paired ancient ritual songs with an orchestral sound. The result was sensuous and exotic and caught the attention of those that heard it. Ukraine had touched Alexis’ soul and she strived for a way to express it, but that is another journey.

Czarivna

First Steps

Singer Alexis Kochan was born in 1953 and raised in Winnipeg’s North End. In her early years she was surrounded by exotic east European music. Her immigrant father, Ukrainian-Canadian mother and grandmothers, also singers, regularly sang Ukrainian traditional songs to her. As she listened the seed was sown.

With these familial influences, it came as little surprise that Alexis also wanted to sing. At three she became a member of her Ukrainian church choir. At five, she debuted as a soloist. Alexis had an obvious talent and others wanted to help nurture it. She was selected to sing with Walter Klymkiw in the Olexander Koshetz Choir. She studied piano and by 13 was playing guitar and performing in folk clubs.

A brief trip to Ukraine reignited Alexis’ love of the country and its traditional music. She sensed this was the beginning of a significant journey. And then fate stepped in.

In the late seventies Alexis was offered an internship in Ukraine with the renowned Ukrainian folk music ensemble Veryovka. Surrounded and awed by the history of Kyiv, Alexis searched, explored, lived as a Ukrainian and retraced the steps of her ancestors. The visit changed her life.

Alexis felt a deep and soulful connection to the country and knew it would manifest itself somehow. Gradually she began composing her own music based on old Ukrainian songs and fragments. She reinterpreted what she found, gave it new life and brought it to fresh ears.

This exploration of ideas led to her first recording Czarivna in 1982. Produced with Arthur Polson and principal players from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the collection paired ancient ritual songs with an orchestral sound. The result was sensuous and exotic and caught the attention of those that heard it. Ukraine had touched Alexis’ soul and she strived for a way to express it, but that is another journey.

Czarivna