Stary Olsa's Medieval Cover of Metallica's One

I'm a huge fan of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music.  I love classic folk and all that, probably related to my love of fantasy movies, books, and role playing games.  It strangely gives me a sense of belonging and being at home in myself and with others.

stary olsa logo

So I was thrilled when I was tinkering around on Youtube when the sidebar suggested me this Stary Olsa video.  Especially after I posting those two other Metallica posts last week.  Honestly that's probably what caused the recommendation in the first place.  But check it, you're about to be transported to an audio world where dwarves and elves are despondent because they know the war against the orcs is upon them (that's what it sounds like to me!):

Medieval Metallica!

You can't beat that.  I hadn't heard of Stary Olsa before but I see they are grinding it out, getting lots of attention to their various covers online.  They deserve it, not only for their talent and unique approach, but for their skillful mastery over some uncommon instruments.

Their site isn't in English but I found an English biography, so I'll give you the scoop:

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 NotebookVilnia Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th - early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and Renascence.

The coolest part is they've restored legit old aged Belarusian instruments or have had new versions made, including:

  • Bagpipe
  • Lyre
  • Gusli
  • Svirel
  • Jew's Harp
  • Ocarina
  • Birch Bark Trumpet
  • Hudok
  • Tromba Marina

Flat out, I don't even know what some of those are, but I know I like how they sound.  Except for the bagpipe, which is like a softer, fluffier, more annoying version of the accordion.  It's like having several harmonicas taped to the side of your head that never stop shrieking directly into your brain.  The rest of the instruments are cool, though.

These guys and gals are dope.  What takes it to the next level are their outfits.  It's not unusual for a band with a gimmick to have costumes, but this feels very natural and genuine.  I think it'd be cool if they had some set pieces and backdrops too, but I know that's not always possible, depending on the venue you're at.

They make me think of the time I saw Loreena McKennitt live and her band was playing all of these old instruments I'd never seen, but then she had a normal rock drummer and drum set with her.  That was amazing, including the guy playing some box that he had to hand crank constantly.  I kept waiting for a clown to pop out and scare me but it didn't happen.

Listening to Stary Olsa makes me feel like I'm sitting in a dimly lit tavern in Stormwind getting ready to go raid Naxxramus... yeah... WoW reference.  Get at me, bruh (unless you're in the Horde).