Mirage (Russian band)
|Genres||Euro Disco, Eurodance, Italo disco, Eurobeat, Hi-NRG|
|Years active||1986 – present|
|Labels||Звук / Джем / Квадро-диск|
Mirage (Мираж, Mirazh) were a 1980s Russian pop group founded in Moscow in 1986 by Russian composer-keyboard player Andrey Litjagin. The original lineup of Mirage included Litjagin, guitarist Sergey Proklov, lyricist Valery Sokolov, vocalist Natalia Gulkina and classically trained vocalist Margarita Suhankina. Their music came at a time when perestroika was radically changing the Soviet Union and their energetic disco sound captured the mood and feeling of their generation.
Gulkina and Suhankina shared vocals on the debut album The Stars Await Us. However, Suhankina was trying to become a professional opera singer and was reluctant to tour with the group. The group toured without her and sang to a pre-recorded tape featuring her vocals.
Following the success of the first album, the demand for live appearances was high. Litjagin decided to create several "doubles" of Mirage which would tour different cities in Russia simultaneously and perform using pre-recorded tapes of the original studio vocals by Gulkina and Suhankina. Among the new performers on stage were guitarist Igor Ponomarev, keyboardist Roman Zhukov, drummer Sergei Solopov, dancer Svetlana Razina (also the girlfriend of Litjagin), and "vocalists" Tatiana Ovsiyenko and Irina Saltykov .
Financial and creative disagreements led to Gulkina quitting the group in 1988. Gulkina rightly felt that she should be allowed to perform under the name Mirage as she provided most of the vocals. However, Litjagin and Sokolov disagreed and they retained the right to use the name Mirage. Gulkina went on to form a new group called "Stars".
The second album Together Again was released in 1988 and featured only Suhankina on lead vocals. The album was a greater success than the first and was greatly received. The additional of a talented guitarist, Alexey Gorbashov, in the project helped the band project an image of being a professional group. The combination of Mirage's trademark Eurodisco sound with the guitar rock style of Gorbashov resulted in a relatively new style of the music at time in Soviet Russia. The album featured some of the group's best known songs including "Music has connected us" and "Together again" Once again, the group toured with dancers performing with pre-recorded tapes, a fact that was evenually discovered by the media.
In 1991, Ekaterina Boldysheva joined the group. She was the first professional vocalist to actually perform live with the group. Mirage's first two albums were reissued in 1994 with Boldysheva's vocals mixed into the tracks and she sang on the group's third studio album, Not for the first time, which was completed in 2004 but only released in 2008 due to the difficult economic climate of the time.
Litjagin revived Mirage in 2003 with three new girls performing to remixed versions of old Mirage songs. The new project enjoyed limited success despite the release of several remix albums.
In 2005, a show took place at the "Olympic" arena in Moscow. All the ex-members of Mirage participated in the show and Gulkina and Suhankina, previously unknown to each other, performed live together for the first time. The pair planned to perform as Mirage again but the comeback caused Litjagin to take legal action, preventing them from using the group name as he felt it would harm his version of the project featuring younger vocalists. Relations improved enough for the pair to collaborate with Litjagin and a poorly received fourth album, A Thousand Stars, was released in 2009. The younger version of the group was later renamed by Litjagin as Mirage Junior. In 2011 Litjagin ended his working relationship with Gulkina and she was briefly replaced by former Mirage vocalist Svetlana Razina.
A fifth Mirage album, Let Me Go!, featuring Suhankina on vocals, was released in 2013.
In 2007, the members of Mirage, Andrey Litjagin, Boldysheva, Gorbashov were awarded medals and diplomas «Professional of Russia» for the contribution into the culture and art in Russia.
Many of the former members of Mirage have gone on to have successful solo careers in Russia. Suhankina now performs as a classical singer.
- 1987: Звёзды нас ждут (The Stars Await Us)
- 1988: Снова вместе (Together Again)
- 2008: Не в первый раз (Not For The First Time)
- 2009: Тысяча звёзд (A Thousand Stars)
- 2013: Отпусти меня! (Let Me Go!)