Music is a passion that makes İrina dance, love, and dream

Irina was classically trained in music at one of the best music colleges in Moscow and spent her early years studying, performing and also teaching music to little kids. After moving to Los Angeles Irina studied nursing as a new career but music continued to be inseparable part of her life. She even took more music classes at LA College. She sang in the choir at a religious institution for about seven years. Then she fell in love with belly dancing (click here to see her videos), which also has become an outlet for her great passion for Middle Eastern music. Irina’s original dances for the stage were primarily inspired by music, which she was so in love with that it would be impossible for her to not dance to it. In other words, music was what “danced her”.

Love for Turkish music came as an all-consuming love. It touched the profound depths of her soul and helped to recognize her own roots with great sweetness and passion. Turkish language and modes of Turkish music were not a part of her musical upbringing but rather lay dormant in her genes until they suddenly blossomed as a way to express this love through the art. Irina feels blessed to have traveled to Turkey almost every year to study with her beloved sacred dance teacher Banafsheh Sayyad and to participate in sufi rituals. “You are in your element”, – her American friends would say seeing her photos taken in Turkey.

Meeting old Turkish women would bring tears to her eyes – Irina would see in them her own Turkish-speaking Crimean Tatar grandmother who couldn’t use her language to communicate with her because of oppressions of that era, which Irina can still feel on the visceral level even without experiencing them personally. The songs included in her first CD album are old Turkish songs where the past and tremendous losses are expressions of a great love in spite of all those losses.