Bering Strait (band)

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Bering Strait
Also known as Siberian Heatwave
Origin Obninsk, Russia
Genres Country
Years active 1996–2006
Labels Universal South
Past members Natasha Borzilova
Ilya Toshinsky
Lydia Salnikova
Alexander “Sasha” Ostrovsky
Sergei “Spooky” Olkhovsky
Alexander Arzamastsev

Bering Strait was a country music band made up of musicians from Russia, that mixed country music with traditional Russian song making. Their style was sometimes called "redgrass" (a reference to bluegrass). The band achieved prominence in 2003, being nominated for a Grammy Award and featured in a segment on the prestigious American news program 60 Minutes, but never caught on with major sales. The group disbanded in 2006.


Bering Strait is actually the band's third name. The original name of the band was Cheerful Diligence. In 1996 they first recorded in the US under the name Siberian Heatwave and were guests on TNN's Prime Time Country. The band dissolved in late May 2006, but the official announcement was not made until June 1, 2006.

At the time of its dissolution, the band comprised five musicians:

  • Alexander Arzamastsev (drums)
  • Natasha Borzilova (lead vocals, acoustic guitar)
  • Sergei “Spooky” Olkhovsky (bass)
  • Alexander “Sasha” Ostrovsky (dobro, steel guitar, lap steel)
  • Lydia Salnikova (lead vocals, keyboards)

Former member Ilya Toshinsky played electric guitar, acoustic guitar and banjo on the band’s first album but left the band after recording the second album. Other former Bering Strait musicians are Sergei Passov (mandolin and fiddle), and Andrei Misikhin (bass).

Natasha Borzilova is the daughter of a nuclear scientist who died from the results of the Chernobyl disaster.


Bering Strait’s self-titled debut album was released in 2003 on Universal South Records. The instrumental “Bearing Straight” from the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance, but eventually lost out to the Dixie Chicks.

A full-length documentary film, "The Ballad of Bering Strait", chronicled the band's career over two and a half years, and was released to theaters and broadcast on CMT. They were featured in a segment on 60 Minutes, and several tracks from the album were used in the television shows Animal Planet and Alias. Despite the media exposure, the album sold only about 150,000 copies and received almost no radio airplay.

The band’s second album, Pages was released in 2005 and featured a more rootsy, less polished sound. The first single from the album was a country remake of Fleetwood Mac’s "You Make Lovin’ Fun".

Current projects[edit]

Sasha and Spooky are currently playing with the new group Buckledown. Lydia and Natasha are pursuing solo projects.



Title Album details Peak chart
US Country US
Bering Strait 17 98
  • Release date: June 28, 2005
  • Label: Universal South
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Album
2001 "Jagged Edge of a Broken Heart" Bering Strait
2003 "Bearing Straight"
2005 "You Make Lovin' Fun" Pages

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
2001 "Jagged Edge of a Broken Heart"[1] Deaton-Flanigen Productions
2003 "Bearing Straight"[2] Stephen Shepherd


External links[edit]