STARY OLSA is a mediaeval Belarusian music band. It was founded in 1999 by its present leader Zmicier Sasnoŭski and now consists of six musicians. It takes its name from a brook in the west part of Mahilioŭ Region (Belarus).
The band's repertoire includes Belarusian folk balladry and martial songs, Belarusian national dances, works of Belarusian Renaissance composers, compositions from Belarusian aulic music collections (e.g. Polack Notebook, Vilnia Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th - early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and Renascence.
STARY OLSA cooperates with many knightly clubs from Belarus and Europe, museums and research centres, masters of early instruments, bands of folk, aulic, sacred and city avital music, as well as with solo performers using old instruments, as well as with fire show theartes.
The band's music makes it possible to restore sounds of many forgotten instruments. STARY OLSA uses for its performances maximal exact (in appearance, technology and materials) copies of old aged Belarusian instruments such as Belarusian bagpipe, lyre, gusli (Baltic psaltery) , svirel (reed pipe), jew's-harp, ocarina, Belarusian trumpet, birch bark trumpet, hudok (Belarusian rebec), tromba marina and drums.
The purpose is to completely reconstruct (whenever possible) musical traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania where Belarus was the main cultural and geopolitical part in the 13th – 18th centuries, and where there was a unique combination of Belarusian folk and aulic music with European musical achievements of that time. In order to revive this cultural peculiarity the band's members mix early Belarusian instruments sound with all-European mediaeval instruments such as lute, rebec, cister, flute, Arabic drum.
Besides its own theatrical concerts, the band performs at mediaeval culture festivals, spear-runnings and folklore festivals.
The STARY OLSA band has recorded eleven albums and one musical project. The band's music is included into seven collections of old melody performers.
(drums, bagpipe, flute alto)