Nu Virgos

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VIA Gra
Солистки группы виагра.jpg
Background information
Origin Kiev, Ukraine
Genres Dance-pop
Teen pop
Adult contemporary
Urban pop
Eurodance
Europop
Years active 2000-present
Labels Sony Music (2001-2004)
CD Land (2002-2012)
Monolit Records (2006-2007)
Amusic (2008-2012)
Associated acts Ani Lorak, Verka Serduchka, Valeriy Meladze, Jolin Tsai, Sofia Rotaru, TNMK
Website www.viagraofficial.ru
Members Erika Gerceg
(2013-present)
Misha Romanova
(2013-present)
Anastasia Kozhevnikova
(2013-present)
Past members Alеna Vinnitskaya
(2000-2003)
Nadezhda Granovskaya
(2000-2002)
(2002-2006)
(2009-2011)
Tatiana Naynik
(2002)
Anna Sedokova
(2002-2004)
Vera Brezhneva
(2003-2007)
Svetlana Loboda
(2004)
Albina Dzhanabaeva
(2004-2012)
Kristina Kots-Gotlib
(2006)
Olga Romanovskaya
(2006-2007)
Meseda Bagaudinova
(2007-2009)
Tatiana Kotova
(2008-2010)
Santa Dimopulos
(2011-2012)
Eva Bushmina
(2010-2012)

Nu Virgos was the name used to promote the group VIA Gra (ВИА Гра) outside of Russia, Ukraine and other nearby countries. The name VIA Gra is both a reference to the drug Viagra and a play on words, since the first three letters stand for "vocal-instrumental ensemble" in Ukrainian, and "gra" means "game" (or "play") in Ukrainian. VIA Gra was a Ukrainian girl group that hit the charts in these countries in September 2000 with their first single "Popytka No. 5".[1] Their first success outside the Russian language area was in May 2004 with the single "Stop! Stop! Stop!",[2] an English version of their 2002 Russian song. The group is known for their frequent lineup changes, with 13 different individuals having at one time been in the group.[3] The group was co-created by Dmitriy Kostyuk and Konstantin Meladze. Kostyuk is the manager of the group and the co-producer of the group's albums. Meladze is the writer of the group's songs and the co-producer of the group's albums.

History[edit]

Early years (2000-2002)[edit]

In 2000 Alena and Nadya made "Popytka No. 5" more videos were out on the screens: "Obnimi menya" (Hold me closer), "Bomba" (Bomb), "Ya ne vernus" (I won’t be back).[4] By the end of the year VIA Gra's repertoire comprised 7 songs that were enough to embark on a tour. The group’s first live performance ever took place in Dnipropetrovsk on the stage of the city’s Ledoviy Palace in front of 4,000 spectators.[5] The group’s management decided to release the first full-length VIA Gra's effort which was entitled after their major hit Popytka No. 5.[6]

Within 2001 VIA Gra collected some of their first awards: “A Hundred Pood Hit” from HIT FM Radio, “Golden Gramophone” from “Russian Radio”, and the “Golden Firebird” prize at the Ukrainian annual festival “Tavriyski Igry”.

In 2002, Nadya suddenly found out she was pregnant and left temporarily to give birth. To take her place came the brunette Tatiana Naynik. In the producers' fear of negative repercussions upon Nadya's leave, 2002 also saw the group becoming a trio instead of a duet with the addition of Anna Sedokova, along with a change in their musical direction. In spring 2002 the group released their new single, "Сtoп! Сtoп! Сtoп!" ("Stop! Stop! Stop!") whose success enabled VIA Gra to take part in the “Ovation” Music Award Ceremony held at the Moscow’s State Central Concert Hall “Rossiya”. They released the music video for the song the following summer. In September a new song and video, “Good morning, papa!” were released, upon which time Nadya had returned, and for the first and only time, there were four girls in the group. At this time, Alena felt that her time at the group had come to an end, and left. Additionally, Tatiana realized there was not enough room for two brunettes, and left. To close that year’s end the group's members played the roles of crowned heads in a TV musical called "Zolushka" (Cinderella).

"Golden" Era (2003-2005)[edit]

By early 2003 Vera Brezhneva had been cast as the new blonde girl of the group, and thus began the "golden" era of VIA Gra was made up of what was considered the "golden" group of soloists-- Nadezhda Meiher, Vera Brezhneva, and Anna Sedokova. In the beginning of 2003 VIA Gra released "Ne ostavlyay menya, lyubimiy" (“Don’t leave me, beloved”), complete with an eponymously titled video tape containing a collection of VIA Gra's videos. They released Stop! Snyato! (Stop! That’s a wrap!) which included five new songs along with seven remixes. They attended the Russian MUZ TV awards and the “Soundtrack” award all won by VIA Gra. In May the group released the new video "Ubey moyu podrugu" (Kill my girlfriend). By the end of 2003 having completed their new album, Biologiya (Biology), they entered the international music scene. Their first English-language album Stop! Stop! Stop! saw the daylight in Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Scandinavian countries. More videos appeared on TV – melodically and lyrically strong "Okean i tri reki" (Ocean and three rivers) and “Prityazhenya bolshe net” (“No attraction anymore”) (both in duet with singer Valeriy Meladze) shortly followed by "Biologiya" (last two videos released in 2004). In the summer of 2004, VIA Gra were awarded with the Russian music award “MUZ TV 2004” and completed a world tour spanning the territories including South East Asia, Israel and America. In November group released two more videos - "Mir, o kotorom ja ne znala do tebya" and English version of this clip - "Take you back".

In 2004, Anna Sedokova learned that she was pregnant, and left the group. She was replaced shortly, for only a few months, by Svetlana Loboda, who starred in the video for "Biologiya" alongside Nadya Meiher and Vera Brezhneva. Once Loboda took off, Albina Dzhanabaeva appeared as the new redhead of the group. The year 2005 was marked by the launch of the Russian version of VIA Gra's official website as well as by the release of three new videos: "Net nichego khuzhe", "I don’t want a man" (English version of "Net nichego khuzhe") and "Brillianty" (Diamonds). Additionally the group picked up their second in a row MUZ TV’s “The Best Pop Act” award.

Final years (2006-2012)[edit]

In January 2006, VIA Gra were a participant at MIDEM 2006. Despite the heavy touring that year the group have offered four more videos: "Obmani no ostansya" (Tell me lie, but don't leave me), "L.M.L." (Russian and English), and "Tsvetok i nozh" (Flower and knife) and completed a new English album, their second after Stop! Stop! Stop!.[7]

A second English language album L.M.L. was scheduled for release in November 2006 . In early April 2007, due to unexpected pregnancy, Olga left the group, the English album project was broken so the label decided to release it digitally.

In July 2007, Vera Brezhneva, the blond girl of the group, left the group after she married Mikhail Kiperman.[8] She then went on to host a Russian version of Power of 10 a year later.

In May 2007, VIA Gra once again won Best Group at MUZ TV Awards.

On September 5 VIA Gra premiered a video for the song "Potselui" (Kisses) in Ukraine, and September 10 - in Russia. November 1, 2007, the group released a new compilation album, called Potselui (Kisses) with 19 tracks. VIA Gra appeared in "Maxim" and FHM. In December 2007, the group recorded a new song called "Ya ne boyus" (I'm not afraid). In 2008, the team is scheduled to tour with English-speaking album L.M.L. for a variety of countries such as Japan, Germany, Britain and others. The group released a new video in February 2008.

In March 2008, the Miss Russia 2006 Tatiana Kotova joined VIA Gra.[3] In June 2008, once again VIA Gra collected their 4th "Best Group" award & "Best Video" for "Potseluy" at Muz-TV Awards 2008h.[9]

In August, it was revealed that their new single was "My Emancipation" and have released a music video. In November they have just finished filming a music video for song "Amerikanskaya zhena" (American wife) which was a soundtrack for Russian film "Stilyagi".

In the beginning of 2009 Meseda left the group. In March, group released another new video - "Anti-Geisha".

Nu Virgos returned with a new song in Autumn 2009 called "Sumasshedshiy" ("Crazy"). The song's "crazy" character has dictated "crazy" video plot where one of the vocalists – Tatiana Kotova – has a very unexpected look, and plays a man who's being lusted after by the rest of the members in the group. The video was released in September.[10]

In March 2010, new soloist - Eva Bushmina joined VIA Gra. She replaced Tatiana Kotova in the group. In April, new song and music video were released - "Poshel Von" ("Get out"). In September, "Den' bez tebya" ("Day without you") was released.

In April 2011, Dmitriy Kostyuk resigned as general producer.

In November 2011, new soloist - Santa Dimopolis joined VIA Gra. She replaced Nadezhda Meiher in the group. In Febreuary 2012, the video for "Allo, mam" ("Hello, Mom") was released. In September 2012, Santa Dimopolis decided to leave the group, after singing just one single. A month later, it was announced that the group has been placed on hiatus, with no confirmation on when they will return and with which line up.

Rebirth (2013-present)[edit]

In the beginning of 2013, Konstantin Meladze announced a new casting for his show, "Hochu v VIA Gru" ("I want in VIA Gra"). The casting was formatted as a reality TV show, consisting of eight episodes, by the end of which three new soloists were chosen by popular vote: Misha Romanova, Erika Gerceg and Anastasia Kozhevnikova. In November 2013, they released their new single and music video, entitled, "Peremiriye" ("Truce").

Meanwhile, during Meladze's casting, Dmitriy Kostyuk, ex-general producer of VIA Gra, announced his own new lineup. In fall 2013, he presented his VIA Gra: Darya Rostova, Darya Medovaya and Aina Vilberg. At a show in Kiev, they performed singles from their new album "Magiya" ("Magic"). This has caused further tensions amongst Meladze and Kostuyk, who were already at odds since the dissolution of the old VIA Gra.

Members[edit]

Timeline[edit]

Anastasia Kozhevnikova Erika Gerceg Misha Romanova Tatiana Kotova Meseda Bagaudinova Kristina Kots-Gotlib Albina Dzhanabaeva Svetlana Loboda Vera Brezhneva Anna Sedokova Nadezhda Granovskaya Nadezhda Granovskaya Nadezhda Granovskaya Alena Vinnitskaya

Overview of lineup changes[edit]