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Mandry at Maidan Nezalezhnosti,
Kiev, Ukraine August 24, 2008.
Background information
Origin Kiev, Ukraine
Genres folk-rock
Years active 1997–present
Members Serhiy "Foma" Fomenko
Leonid "Lyonya" Bieley
Serhiy "Chizh" Chehodayev
Andriy Zanko
Salman Salmanov Mamed-Ohly

Mandry (Ukrainian: Мандри) is a popular Ukrainian folk-rock, blues, ska band; the band formed in 1997 in Kiev, Ukraine. The band's vocalist and most recognizable member is Serhiy "Foma" Fomenko.


Mandry were officially formed in 1997 by the already well known singer-songwriter Serhiy "Foma" Fomenko, who had made a name for himself in the Kyiv underground music scene for his creative work with the group Den' Vmyraye Rano (Day Dies Early). At first they performed as a three-piece acoustic band, but after a few band member change-overs a new sound was created which made Mandry the spearheads of what is now known as "folk music of the cities". They performed their first concert with this unique sound on 24 December 1997.

In contemporary Ukrainian youth culture the group hold an original musical niche. Owing to the stylish diversity of their music and their unique combination of traditional Ukrainian folk music with modern rhythms, elements of city romance and French chansons with a good dose of reggae, blues, rock and punk, they manage to captivate a varied audience representing all age groups. The music of Mandry, in spite of being a combination of various genres, is well crafted and artistically unique. Their songs are full of imagery and have emotionally charged melodic patterns making poetic lyrics understandable to people from all walks of life. Mandry's repertoire is still growing, expanding not only due to new songs being written by the band members, but also by giving traditional folk songs a new interpretation.

In October 1997 accordion player Leonid Bieley appeared on the scene and his contribution to Foma's songs enriched the melodies, as did a change in percussionist. Salman joined the contingent of mandrivnyky (wanderers) with a complete set of percussion instruments. At this time Mandry possibly were the only Ukrainian band with a percussionist.

In the same month the new line-up played a concert, but it wasn't a very successful performance, and as they were dissatisfied doubts arose as to whether the band should split up. The director of Asteroid records came to the band's rescue and offered them their first contract and with his help the group continued.

The last alteration in the group's line-up occurred when Mandry invited drummer Andriy Zanko and Serhiy Chehodayev, who replaced Oleksandr Kokhanivsky on bass, to join the band. As a result, the sound of the band changed quite radically. Their music was enriched with contemporary rhythms and started to include French melodic influences.

In the months that followed the group recorded and released their first MC on the Asteroid label. It was recorded in a hurry, and thus the quality of the album suffered. Over the next year and a half, the material was being constantly reworked.

In August 1998 the band produced their first video for the song "Romansero pro nizhnu korolevu", which quickly won the audience's approval. In September 1998, during the First All-Ukrainian Music Video Contest Mandry's video was in the top three, and director Anton Trofimov was also nominated for an award.

The first EP of the group, which, apart from seven songs also contained the video clip "Romansero pro nizhnu korolevu", the MC in MP3 format, text information in html and a photo gallery, was released in December 1998.

The same year Mandry played in Lviv, Dnipropetrivsk, Kherson, Donetsk, Minsk and their hometown Kyiv.

In January 1999 they filmed their second video to their song "Kartata Sorochka" in Lviv, which was broadcast on the national TV channel 1+1.

All in all 1999 was a very busy year for them with many concerts. In springtime they visited Budapest, the capital of Hungary, to take part in a festival commemorating the 50th anniversary of the EU. In summer they performed at "Rock-Kyiv", "PEPSI-SZIGET" (Budapest) and "Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk" (Vitebsk) festivals. At the end of summer they started working on their video to the song "Rusalky" (Mermaids).

In April 2000 they released their first full-length album Romansero pro nizhnu korolevu on Karavan Records and their video to the song "Rusalky".

In June 2000 Mandry took part in the International Festival of Ukrainian Culture which takes place in Sopot, Poland. In September they participated at Rock-Existence festival in Kyiv. In November they released their EP Rusalky on Karavan Records.

From 14 to 26 May 2001 Mandry had a tour across Poland. In two weeks' time they played 11 concerts in Wrocław, Warsaw, Kraków, Szczecin, Gliwice, Białystok, Olsztyn, Sopot and Lublin. At the beginning of November 2001 Creon Music, a French record label, released a compilation called Ukrainian Rock, which included a few songs by Mandry.[1] In March 2002 the video to "Dochka melnyka" (Miller's daughter) was shown on Ukrainian television.

On 19 May 2002 Mandry, together with other Ukrainian groups and artists, played a concert at the Hippodrome, in London. The show was part of the Festival of Ukrainian Culture in Great Britain.

At the end of September 2002 their first animated video to the song "Orysya" was shown on Ukrainian television.

On 17 October 2002, their second album, Legenda pro Ivanka ta Odarku, was released in Ukraine on the Lavina Music record label.

On 17 May 2003, the band took part in the International festival "The Day of United Europe" in Kyiv. At the end of August 2003 Mandry started shooting the video for "Vitre Tsyhane" (Gypsy Wind), which was the first one to be shown on the all-Ukrainian M1 music channel that October.

2004 saw Mandry tour extensively in Ukraine to support Viktor Yushchenko's campaign to become the next president of Ukraine. They played to a varied audience and in parts of Ukraine where they were completely unknown to their audience.

During the protests that followed after the disputed election results at the end of 2004, Mandry were one of many bands who appeared on stage in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv to keep the Orange Revolution protesters entertained.

In 2005 the band recorded their latest album Doroha, which was released in February 2006. At that time they often took part in folk festivals and concerts in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.[2]

In March 2006 they filmed a new video to their song "Ne spy moya ridna zemlya" (Don't sleep my native land), a clip with imagery depicting Ukraine's history and its heroes, bringing it right up to date with the Orange Revolution.

Current members[edit]



  • 1998 - «Mandry» (Мандри)
  • 2000 - «Rusalky» (Русалки)


Live albums[edit]


  1. ^ Eastern Folk, Poland Folk Encyclopedia, in Polish
  2. ^ Kulturalna Warszawa (Cultural Warsaw), 2005, in Polish

External links[edit]