Music, Art & the Individual

Alina Orlova began performing in Lithuania at the tender age of 16, developing a loyal following and becoming one of Lithuania’s most esteemed alternative songwriters win­ning industry awards, including the 2007 Pravda “Novice of The Year.” Now four years later, with her first solo album, Laukinis Šuo Dingo released, she is set to make a lasting impression on music fans worldwide.

Orlova was born in Lithuania in 1988. “I grew up in a small town, Visaginas, where there was nothing to do. I learnt to play the piano, but we were only concentrating on classical music. I had a desire to express something, so I began to make my own music.”

Laukinis Šuo Dingo is a striking debut album, containing beautiful melodic songs, Orlova sings and plays piano and she is joined by her five-piece band, Simas on violin, Mindaugas on percussion, Bernardas on bass and Audrius on accordion. The diverse ensemble of instruments provides a distinct sound, which is complemented by Orlova’s singing in Lithuanian, Russian and English. “Russian is my first language that I speak at home with my parents. Lithuanian is my second language that I learnt at school and speak everyday, and I find that the lyrics just come to me in one of the three languages.”

The Internet has been integral to the discovery of Orlova’s musical talents. “My friends liked my songs and offered to record them for me. I then had to put the songs somewhere and the Internet was the best place to put them. People liked the songs and began to offer me some gigs in the capital, Vilnius. I started to play more and more gigs and more people found out about my music.” By uploading her music to the Internet, Orlova has reached a global audience. One of Orlova’s songs, Vaiduokliai, was discovered by Travis front-man, Fran Healy, and subsequently featured on a digital-only EP, Play, Stop, Rewind released in May this year.

Laukinis Šuo Dingo was recorded over a period of nine months and the record sleeve features Orlova’s own designs. “In the beginning I played solo, just me singing and playing the piano. I always wanted to have people to play with me to make it more interesting. When I began to write the album I wanted to bring in different instruments to make the songs sound different — I looked for musicians who could bring something new to my songs.”

Orlova will be touring across Europe over the coming months, playing gigs in France, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK. “Playing live is one of the best things to do as a musician, you share a connection with the audience. When you play live you cannot change anything, everything happens in the moment with the audience watching you.” Laukinis Šuo Dingo is a remarkable debut album, which showcases Orlova’s vast range of talents. “In the future I want to design album covers for myself, or make videos to combine my passion for both art and music.”

Shona Fairweather