“Breathtaking vocals” Musician Magazine
Born in Siberia, Polina Shepherd (Skovoroda) learned music as a child around the family table. Now an internationally renowned singer of Russian and Yiddish song, she performs with an explosive mixture of powerful rhythm and profound melodies. Traditional yet modern, she brings the songs of the Steppes and the Shtetl up to date with passion and haunting soul.
Singing in Russian and Yiddish she has worked and recorded in Max Pashm′s “Never Mind the Balkans” and performs with many bands, orchestras and choirs as well as continuing her highly successful solo career.
Polina learned music as a child from her grandfather, a button accordionist, and her mother, a singer. She soon became her mother’s accompanist playing the dark theatres of Tatarstan to wildly responsive audiences. Following her training at Kazan State Conservatory she specialised in vocal techniques based on instrumental ornamentation and Russian folk songs. She joined Russia′s first klezmer band after Perestroika, Simcha (1990-2000) and soon became the principal Yiddish choir leader of the former Soviet Union, composing original material for large groups of voices and touring internationally with her Quartet Ashkenazim (1991-2007).
Now in the UK Polina composes and performs with Brighton based brass band Fanfara. As a pianist she works with the Sound & Light Cinematic Duo (UK), who play live accompaniment to rare black and white films. She is a member of the Merlin Shepherd Quartet who bring together the music of Jewish Eastern Europe, Greece and Turkey. She is choir leader of Chutzpah choir, the Russian choir of Brighton & the UCL East European choir. As a Russian and Yiddish singer she worked and recorded with a remix artist Max Pashm in his project Never Mind the Balkans.
Polina has also worked as programme director for various festivals and booked as Jewish song and choir teacher at many International Jewish events. She has written more than 100 compositions including music for theatre shows, large scale choir compositions, settings for Yiddish poems, piano work, and niggunim performed by soloists and choirs all over the world and has many recordings to her name.
As a representative artist of The Brighton Festival of World Sacred Music, Polina says, “Music is the Voice of the Universe where every note has a reason.”
“Shepherd′s compositions are highly original and sensitive… Polina′s piano playing enhances her distinctly beautiful compositions. The music expresses contemplation, exuberance, humour and pathos” Songlines
"Gib a Kush"
"More – the Sea"