Singer Zarina Kopyrina’s story sounds like a creation myth: A young woman with special powers travels from an ancient land bearing healing messages from Spirit. Born in Yakutia, a federal republic of northeastern Russia, she grew up surrounded by an indigenous culture which emphasized shamanic rituals and connection to nature. Zarina and drummer Andreas Jones take these teachings a step further in their band Olox (Yakutian for life). They combine old-style folk music and throat-singing with contemporary electronic tracks and Zarina’s unique ability to imitate any animal.
On the phone, the artist demonstrates the calls of ravens, polar bears, reindeer and more. “When I do animal sounds,” she says, “I transform myself into this animal in my mind, soul and heart. I can understand the different messages… We [humans] block ourselves, but everyone has animalistic power and a little shaman inside who’s sleeping.”
Yakutian culture encourages opening oneself to this inner shaman so that energy can be shared among the universe’s “three levels.” There’s a lower world for dark spirits, a middle world for Earth’s inhabitants, and an upper world for protective deities. The rituals that Zarina learned, including playing shamanic drums, maintain balance between all realms. With Olox, she and Andreas are spreading neo-shamanism, a method of accessing those energies for creative expression and universal harmony.
“We do ancestral work in our music,” she notes. “It’s necessary to find new ways of thinking by contacting our ancestors, because they knew how to communicate with nature. We take everything from nature but don’t give. Now people are becoming aware that something is wrong.”
Olox helps Zarina and Andreas right those wrongs as they perform internationally (they are now based in Los Angeles). Among their initiatives are healing workshops for throat-singing, animal sounds, and communal breathing.
“Can you imagine 20, 30 people synchronized and connected by breath?” Zarina laughs. She explains that sound is the first point of connection for all organisms, because “everything is vibration,” and that musical trances take her to life’s very center. “I go to the micro world, infinity… emptiness. I fall into this emptiness and find myself there. I activate the part of the brain which is sleeping. Yakutian shamans… know the law of the universe and easily manipulate this energy. They can show it to people, who are then open to being healed.”
But Olox will be primarily an educational tool and eco lifestyle brand. On an Arctic expedition, Zarina and Andreas turned garbage on the New Siberian Islands into instruments. They also support sustainable technologies for restoring nature, such as atmospheric generators that produce potable water.
Currently they are crowdfunding to develop a Yakutian-inspired natural clothing line, chakra jewelry, and a hybrid recording studio/stage RV. Eventually they hope to work with scientists to research the neurology behind sound healing.
Until then, we must believe in sonic synergy. “Our music works for everybody who is open to the spiritual world,” Zarina concludes. Not everybody is open, but it is our mission to spread the message. It’s Planet Earth! We are one.”
See more from Zarina, Andreas and Olox at olox.life and @zarinakopyrina on Instagram.