Stas Namin is a musician and composer, a producer, an artist and photographer; one of the founders of Russian rock music and show business. He directs and produces theatre and cinema, and is involved with and behind numerous social and innovative projects.
In late 1969, Namin formed a new band, The Flowers, which later became the first national supergroup, which “provoked the country’s curiosity” according to Itogi magazine (issue no. 10/ July 17th, 2010). Stas Namin becomes a household name in the beginning of the 70s, when record label Melodiya released The Flowers’ first vinyl record. During the last 50 years, the group has sold more than 60 million records, despite being originally banned by state media and unrecognized by authorities right up until Perestroika. Several generations grew up on songs by Namin and his group The Flowers (“Starlet”, “Frankly speaking”, “Early to Farewell”, “After the rain”, “Summer Night”, “Yurmala”, “Nostalgia” etc.), including his hit song, “We Wish You Happiness”, which has remained the Russia’s favourite for over 40 years.
1980s to 90s
In 1981, Namin became the organizer of a music festival on the cycle track in Yerevan, Armenia (70 thousand spectators). Pop, rock and jazz performers from all over the country took part in it: from Moscow and Leningrad, the Baltics, Transcaucasia, Asia and other regions. Meanwhile western groups invited by Namin to the festival were denied entry by the USSR authorities on various pretexts. Nevertheless, even in the truncated form in which it was eventually held, it became the country’s first global festival of contemporary music. Time magazine (USA) and Stern (Germany) dedicated enthusiastic articles to it, calling it “the Soviet Woodstock”. As a result, the KGB and prosecutor’s office tightened their persecution of Namin and his band, even closing down Melody, the record company that made millions selling their records without paying the musicians for their huge print runs.
With Mikhail Gorbachov’s rise to power and the beginning of Perestroika in 1986, Namin and David Woollcombe (Great Britain) initiated and held — without state authorities involved — the first Russian American project — a musical Peace Child, as well as the first ever live TV linkup between Russia and the US, and a 45 day tour of the musical and group The Flowers throughout the United States and Canada. The Flowers performed in the most prestigious venues of Northern America in September and October 1986. In December, the band participated in the Japan Aid charity festival in Tokyo, organized by Peter Gabriel. Since then, the Stas Namin band has made a world tour in three years, performing in more than fifty countries on all continents.
In 1987, Namin founded the country’s first private production company — the Stas Namin Centre (SNC) with location in the Green Theatre of Gorky Park. On its territory — an open-air stage and amphitheater for eight thousand seats, where concerts of Russian and foreign stars have been held for over thirty years, a theatre hall for two hundred seats, photo and video studios, a recording studio and much more.
The Centre was responsible for launching such national stars as Garik Sukachev and Sergey Galanin (Brigada S), Dmitry Revyakin (Kalinov Most), Sergey Mazaev (Moral Code), Alexander Vasilyev (Splin), Anatoly Krupnov (The Black Obelisk), Alexander Ivanov (Rondo), Alexey Borisov (Night Prospect), Oleg Nesterov (Megapolis) and many others. Pyotr Mamonov and Alexander Lipnitsky (Sounds of Mu), Vasily Shumov (Center), German Vinogradov, and other representatives of alternative music worked with the Namin Center. SNC Records, the record company created by Namin, released albums of the banned bands of the Leningrad Rock Club: DDT, Aquarium, Kino, Alisa, and others. Here, in 1987, Namin created the Gorky Park band and in the late eighties made it popular around the world.In the late eighties, Namin created a sports agency that, breaking the state monopoly and prohibitions of Goskomsposport, opened a window to the world to the Soviet athletes. Thanks to it Vyacheslav Fetisov and Valery Kasatonov signed direct contracts with the NHL. Andrey Chesnokov and other Soviet tennis players were among those, who also worked through this agency.
The Stas Namin Centre was the organizer of the country’s first non-state tours of Soviet performers abroad and of foreign performers in the USSR, the first rock ‘n’ pop festivals, including, rock-festival Musicians for Peace (1988), Moscow Peace Festival at the Luzhniki stadium (1989); One World Festival (1990, 1995 and 1997), and Rock from the Kremlin (1992) and others.
The first international rock festival in the USSR, the Moscow Peace Festival at the Lenin Stadium in Luzhniki (200,000 spectators), organized by Namin, took place in August 1989. World superstars Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, Cinderella, and three SNC Center bands — Brigada S, Nuance, and Namin’s new band, Gorky Park. In the press, the festival was dubbed the “Russian Woodstock,” heralding a new era of free Russia. It was broadcast in 59 countries and was nominated as the No. 1 musical event in the world in New York. the Stas Namin Center has donated the entire proceeds from the festival (over $1 million) to the Russian Foundation for Combating Drug Addiction.
The Stas Namin Centre created some of the first private enterprises inside the USSR including: a recording studio (1986), a record label (1990), a concert and talent agency (1987), a design studio (1987), a model agency, and a fashion theatre (1988), a radio station (1991), a TV company (1992), and a cultural magazine (1995) and more, thus breaking the state monopoly and setting the scene for the start of uncensored Russian show business. The SNC also created the first non-state Moscow Symphony Orchestra (MSO) (1989), produced the first ice show Moscow-On-Ice (1991), and created the first in Russia repertoire theatre for musicals (1999).
In 1997, Stas Namin, together with Sergey Solovyov and Alexander Abdulov, became the organizers of the XX Moscow International Film Festival. On Namin’s initiative, the venue changed from the State Concert Hall “Russia” on Vasilievsky Spusk to the cinema “Russia” on Pushkin Square, and the tradition of world film festivals was brought to Russia: the stairs of the cinema turned into a “red carpet” for movie stars and VIP-guests. Namin invites Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Alberto Sordi, Ornella Muti, Catherine Deneuve, Michele Placido, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Brigitte Nielsen, Jeffrey Rush, Robert De Niro and other world cinema stars to attend the festival. Namin invites his friends Michel Legrand and Chuck Berry to participate in the cultural program and organizes their festival concerts in Moscow.
2000s to 2020s-е
The International Russian Film Festival (RIFF), initiated and organized by Namin in 2003, broadened its scope to become the Festival of Russian Culture Russian Nights — known as The Russian Nights Festival. In April 2004, it was held at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and in October at major venues in Manhattan. For three years, Namin has been running a series of Russian Nights festivals in the USA, Germany, China and South Korea. The Tower Award goes to writers Ray Bradbury and Gore Vidal, artist Peter Max, and directors Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin, producers Peter Hoffman and Roger Corman, actors Shirley MacLaine, Sharon Stone, Nastassja Kinski, Dustin Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and others.
At the beginning of the 2000s, Namin shifted his attention mostly to personal creative activities that included music, theatre, cinema, painting, photography and more.
Namin is the artistic director, stage director and producer for the Moscow Music and Drama Theatre, which he founded in 1999.
Within the first fifteen years, the theatre formed a repertoire with plays of nearly every genre. Each member of this uniquely versatile troupe is a professional actor, singer and dancer. The versatility has allowed the theatre to find not only its style, which became evident starting from the earliest performances, but also its own language of expression.
The Stas Namin theatre debuted with a Russian version of Hair, a legendary American anti-war hippie musical. The first performances at the Estrada Theatre coincided with the beginning of the Second Chechen War. At the press conference, the producers were accused of pacifism and lack of patriotism. Similar charges had been made against the original American version in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War.
In 2008, the Namin theatre took part in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the first Broadway performance of Hair in New York City. It also appeared among the world’s top five troupes in a documentary on this play. Today, the Moscow Hair is the world’s ‘longest’: it has been performed for twenty years.
The theatre’s second show was a production of the iconic version of Jesus Christ Superstar, the only rock opera allowed to be performed in the holy city of Jerusalem, the site of biblical events. It is also the only one played both in Russian and English in Russia.
Along with classical drama shows, such as Cosmos, based on Vasily Shushkin’s short stores, and NYC. The ‘80s. Us!, based on memoirs of an artist Mihail Chemiakin, the theatre has presented plays that, instead of conventional storylines, feature images combining poetry, music and choreography. The most prominent example is a reconstruction of Victory over the Sun, an avant-garde Russian opera that premiered in 1913. The show, dedicated to the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, toured Europe’s best venues: Basel (Switzerland), Paris (France), Ravenna (Italy), Thessaloniki (Greece), etc. It was praised by critics and the media.
That show was followed by two song-and-dance pieces: The Dweller of the Heights with lyrics by Velimir Khlebnikov and a jazz rock score by Alexei Khvostenko and Auktyon; and S-Quark based on a symphony of the same title by Namin. The scenic design of the latter faithfully reproduces Fragile, a painting by an avant-garde artist Vasily Kandinsky. In the autumn of 2018, the show caused a sensation at the festival of contemporary experimental theatre in Egypt.
Contemporary Russian drama is represented in the theater by The Unbearably Long Embrace, based on a play by Ivan Vyrypaev; Breath of Time and Killed by Domesticity by the poet-rapper Oleg Gruz.
Nowadays, the main concept of the theatre is expressivity based on a synergy of genres. It can be achieved thanks to the actors’ advanced acting, dancing and singing skills as well as due to such state-of-the art technology as virtual scenic design, panoramic video projection and 3D audio.
Namin’s musicals The Snow Queen and The Little Prince have been popular with young audiences for years. The shows were reinvented using new projection technologies. The actors are performing live within a 360° video projection.
Another musical for children, played to a full house in Moscow and often performed in other cities, is Town Musicians of Bremen. This original version was produced under a guidance of the composer, Gennady Gladkov.
In 2021, the Stas Namin Theatre has created a production Strike and is working on a production Flower Power. Strike is about the search for solutions to the situation in which the world finds itself in the 21st century. Ecological, man-made, military, geopolitical and other problems have been revealed and exacerbated, while mankind is not prepared for them… The other premiere of the 2021/2022 season is the first part of a four-part theatre biopic Flower Power. As the title makes clear, it is about The Flowers group, which recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The band survived the Soviet regime, the Olympic thaw, Gorbachev’s Perestroika, and the turbulent nineties — all the peripetias of Russian history are reflected in its life.
Since 2011, the theatre has offered drama classes for children. Kids aged three to seventeen study acting skills, artistic diction and movement, singing and choreography.
The studio’s teachers see their primary task as bringing up intelligent, well-read and talented children, regardless of what profession they choose in the future. Classes are very beneficial for the children: they develop imagination, memory, communication skills, ability to work in a group, leadership qualities, stress-resistance, etc., in a word, everything that is called soft skills. In spring 2019, the studio’s students won the Sochi festival “Young People’s Space” in the category “Best Artistic and Musical Design of a Performance”. Over the years the studio has seen more than 1,500 children go through it.
Stas Namin has long been recognized as a world class photographer in Russia and abroad. His works have been exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world. Between the end of the 90s and beginning of the 2000s, his photographic works have been featured in shows at the Bolshoi Manezh and the Central House of Artists in Moscow and at other prestigious galleries and museums around the world. In 2001, the State Russian Museum (St Petersburg) held Namin’s personal photo exhibition and published his photo album. Also in the State Russian Museum, he participated in exhibitions Born to Crawl and No Glamour. More recently he completed a 15-year photo project The Magic of Venus, a tribute to the phenomenon of childbirth and curated by art experts at the State Russian Museum.
While Namin’s first photographs were shot exclusively on film, and the lack of computer processing and retouching was conceptual for him, from the 2010s onwards he began to work extensively with a digital camera. He is engaged in landscape, studio, and panoramic shooting, experimenting in color and black and white photography. What concerns his projects «Computer Games» and «Matriarchy», they are already fully built on creativity in digital technologies.
On 2 October 2021 an online photo-vernissage, The World Through the Eyes of Stas Namin and Mark Sennett, was held. Sennett’s “models” include presidents, heirs to royal houses, and stars of world cinema, sport and music. Namin’s works are landscape, studio and panoramic photography, experiments in colour and black and white photography. The proceeds from the auction have been donated to the Steven Spielberg Charity Foundation’s Shoah Program, which specializes in collecting and preserving genocide testimonies from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Namin’s jubilee program of author’s events throughout 2021 culminates in a major solo photographic exhibition at one of Moscow’s most prestigious venues, the Gallery of Classical Photography on Savvinskaya Naberezhnaya (18 November 2021 — 15 January 2022). The Unity of Counterpoint was the most comprehensive over the last twenty years of Namin’s photographic retrospective, displaying over one hundred works, covering all the periods, themes and trends in his oeuvre. A news item on the Kultura TV channel.
Paintings & Graphics
In the 2000s Namin began to seriously pursue different techniques of visual art. His first exhibition was held in 2006 at the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, featuring graphic works, classic oil paintings and experiments with new techniques.In 2014, Namin was awarded honorary membership of the Russian Academy of Arts.
In November 2016, the Academy presented his solo exhibition Inside Out; it was opened by artists and sculptors Mikhail Chemiakin, Georgy Frangulyan and Alexander Rukavishnikov, film director Sergey Solovyov, and Zurab Tsereteli, president of the Russian Academy of Arts.
After a lengthy tour of Armenia in 2013, Namin creates a big painting series dedicated to this country. In 2017 his solo art exhibition, featuring more than 80 paintings, takes place in Yerevan, in the halls of the Union of Armenian Artists. Namin becomes an honorary member of the Union of Artists of Armenia, and his works are included in the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery of Armenia.
In 2018, five Namin’s works were included in the exhibition Red Gates / Against the Flow — a gigantic project by the Russian Academy of Arts. Among more than 350 participants — Konstantin Khudyakov, Zurab Tsereteli, Tatiana Nazarenko, Natalia Nesterova and others. The show was launched in Saratov, home to one of the oldest art museums in Russia, and continued through several towns along the Volga river and culminated in Moscow. Namin’s works were included in yet another annual catalogue volume.
In November-December 2018, the Tapan Museum (in the Armenian Temple Complex) in Moscow is hosting an exhibition of Namin’s paintings and drawings entitled Armenian Metamorphoses.
In 2019, Namin became a member of the Creative Union of Russian Artists and brought together Andrei Bartenev, Anton Adasinsky, Petlyura, Dmitry Krymov, Vladimir Klavikho, Hermes Zaigott and German Vinogradov in an art group The Dark Side of the Moon.
In October 2019, the Wentworth Gallery (USA) starts presenting Namin as a painter and graphic artist, exhibiting his Roots series, executed in oil painting technique.
Two major solo exhibitions of Namin took place in 2021:
In the spring of 2021 (4 March to 18 April), Russia’s oldest art museum named after Alexander Radishchev in Saratov opened Namin’s personal exhibition ‘Winged Century Flies…’.
In July and August — the exhibition Confrontation at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work in twenty years, showcasing all the areas of visual art and techniques in which he works. The exhibition includes a travel series inspired by Namin’s numerous journeys around the world; a series of portraits, Roots of Rock’n’Roll, which, in the artist’s words, is a tribute to the musicians who allowed him to experience music and maybe even to see life and the freedom that his own country never had; and audiovisual installations, video mapping and other experiments with modern digital technology. Catalogue of the exhibition Confrontation.
На ТВ «Культура». Выставка Стаса Намина «Противостояние»
ROOTS OF ROCK’N’ROLL
I’ve been into rock’n’roll since my early youth. Although a lot has changed since then, several musical generations have passed through, the rock’n’roll classics who inspired my musical career are still my cult heroes. Many of them became my friends but some I didn’t manage to meet as they were no longer alive by the time I was allowed to go abroad. It was through them that I saw a life and experienced a sense of freedom that didn’t exist in the country where I lived. I identify with each of these musicians, even the ones I don’t know personally, they mean a lot to me. This is why I decided to dedicate a large part of my paintings to these legends. Painting their portraits as I see and feel them.
LEGENDS OF POP AND JAZZ CULTURES
Copyright © Stas Namin Centre, LLC 2022
Stas Namin is an unusual talent. I have known him and his work for many years. I met him in a creative environment and was amazed at his knowledge and love of Rock n Roll. He is a music impresario and a master photographer. His compositions and subject matter are very unique and Stas is a superb artist. I have some of his photographs in my collection and am happy to know that Stas Namin’s name and work are quite popular in New York. He is a very accomplished and serious artist.
In 1982, Namin enrolled in the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors (VKSR). His teachers were the historian and ethnologist Lev Gumilev, art historian Paola Volkova, theatre director and teacher Anatoly Vasilyev, film director and screenwriter Alexander Mitta and other prominent figures. Long after graduating from the course, they remain friends.
During his studies at the VKSR he produces his first stage work as a course work, which is not accepted by the commission for ideological reasons.
In 1993, Stas Namin (general producer) and Viktor Ginzburg (director) created Neskuchny Garden, a film about the sexual revolution in the USSR. It is based on performances and stories by residents of the Stas Namin Centre, set in the Neskuchny Garden in Gorky Park. The film won 12 international film awards.
On April 5, 2021 the film was presented at the Artdocfest — International Documentary Film Festival in Moscow.
Also, in the early nineties Stas Namin as a general producer and Boris Yukhananov as a director made a documentary Moscow Underground. The film explored the alternative art scene in Moscow of that time.
In 2006, while travelling in Africa, Namin made a documentary about the continent with the same name, which became part of the International Geographic series.
In 2007 Namin becomes the producer of the documentary film ‘Ogan Duryan. The Profession of High Senses’, created by an international team of the maestro’s fans. In 2010 he produces a film ‘Grigoriy Arutyunov. First Secretary of the Second Republic’, about the leader of Armenia from 1937 to 1953, who actually created the current architectural look of Yerevan and built many important buildings in Armenia — he was popularly known as Grigor the Builder.
In March 2012, Namin travels to northern India, the places of pilgrimage of The Beatles, visits ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries, meditates in the Himalayas and gives a sitar concert at the Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrindavan. Throughout the trip, Namin never parted with his camcorder. Upon his return to Moscow, he used the footage he had shot to create the travel-movie ‘Magic India’.
A few documentaries that Namin made while travelling in Africa at the end of the 1990s also belong to the travel-movie genre: they depict a world of wild nature, life of indigenous tribes and the endless expanses of the continent.
The documentary film Free to Rock (US, 2015), explored the role that rock music in the Cold War and was co-produced by Namin and along with director Jim Brown. Free to Rock premiered at Georgetown University and at the Council for Foreign Relations at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. In addition, it was presented at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, OH, the legendary GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, at the Moscow International Film Festival, in Berlin, Paris and other European and American cities. In 2017, the film had its world TV premiere on the PBS Television network (US) and was distributed on DVD in 2017.
Namin and Jim Brown also collaborated on a documentary film Real Cuba (2017) that examines happiness and longevity amongst the Cuban people. It received rave reviews at a number of cinema festivals (Cuba, USA, Armenia and others).
A number of documentaries, namely Ancient Temples of Armenia (2016) featuring Catholicos Garegin II; and In Conversation with Neizvestny (2016) — Namin shot with his son Artiom, a director and cameraman.
In 2019, Stas co-produced the film Anastas Mikoyan from the cycle Country of Unions. Forgotten Grandees, created by Star Media for the First TV Channel Russia. The film tells about the role this outstanding politician played in giving the Soviet Union the upper hand in military operations, unbelievable industrial achievements, and in political battles.
Namin’s documentaries are screened and win awards at festivals and special screenings.
In July 2018, Stas Namin’s documentaries Real Cuba and Ancient Temples of Armenia take part in the Golden Apricot international film festival in Yerevan and Gyumri, Armenia. In Gyumri, Namin’s films open the festival programme.
In October 2018, Real Cuba is recognised as Best Documentary at the Open Window International Film Festival (India).
In 2020 Namin becomes the winner of the Petropol Art Prize (St. Petersburg) for his documentaries Ancient Temples of Armenia and Conversation with Ernst Neizvestny.
A multiseries feature film about the Gorbachev and Reagan years
In 2018, work began on a feature film for TBN (USA) about the time of Gorbachev and Reagan and how two men were able to change the world for the better. The script is finished in 2022 and the pre-production period begins in 2023. The general producers of the film are Tom Newman and Stas Namin.
In 1989, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra was established at the Stas Namin Centre.
The orchestra was working in two directions. The first is Symphony Classics, a classical symphonic repertoire (Ravel ‘Bolero’; Mozart ‘Requiem’; Berlioz ‘Fantastique Symphony’) performed at traditional academic venues — conservatoire halls, philharmonic societies and so on. The second is a rock direction, in which the orchestra performed under the name Moscow Symphony Rocks with both classical symphonic works and works from the repertoire of world rock stars — Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, etc. It performed solo or together with soloists and bands using all the effects inherent to rock music: lasers, video installations, sound reinforcement, pyrotechnics, etc. Moscow Symphony Rocks gave open air concerts, performed at stadiums, toured the UK with Electric Light Orchestra II, participated in festivals in China, South Korea.
In 2001, Ogan Duryan’narc was invited to become the Principal conductor of MSO. Maestro Durjan was a French conductor who cooperated in his youth with Herbert von Karajan, had an inspiring experience of working with more than one hundred orchestras around the world and was awarded the title of Knight Emeritus of Arts and Literature by the French Government. During his European tour, critics rated Maestro as Toscanini of Eastern Europe.
In 2011, Namin completed his eight-part symphonic suite Fall in St Petersburg, which he began way back in the 90s. In 2012, a DVD and CD were released, from the first rendition in Moscow International Performing Arts Center. In 2016, German composer and pianist Ratko Delorko created and recorded a piano version, and in 2018, famous Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky did a piano arrangement for two of the parts and included them in his own concert program.
In 2016, Namin finished his first symphony Centuria S Quark. In the same year it was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and released on CD by British-US company Parma Recordings (Navona record label). In 2017, the Russian National Orchestra performed a signature edit by a prominent conductor, composer and piano player Mikhail Pletnev, in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Together with Aram Khachaturian’s Symphony no. 3 it was shown on Russia’s Culture channel on the Armenia’s genocide Remembrance Day.
In December 2016, as a part of the Stas Namin Days in Armenia, the Centuria S-Quark Symphony premiered at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall in Yerevan. It was performed by the State Symphony Orchestra of Armenia, with Sergey Smbatyan as conductor and artistic director.
Two concerts took place in autumn 2021 with a program of Namin’s large-scale works: the symphonic suite Autumn in St. Petersburg, the Centuria S-Quark symphony and excerpts from the new ballet Vices and Love.
On 15 September in St. Petersburg these works were performed by the Leningrad Region State Symphony Orchestra, conductor Mikhail Golikov. The symphony was accompanied by an original plastic composition staged by the Stas Namin Theatre.
In Yerevan, Republic of Armenia, the concert took place on November 30 at the city’s main academic venue, the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall. Namin’s works were performed by the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia, conducted by Eduard Topchyan.
In 2002, The Flowers with Sergei Starostin recorded the album Russian Village Songs, which combines authentic Russian village songs with modern rock versions, while retaining their authentic spirit and image.
In 2011, Namin recorded a double album of ethnic music One World Music Freedom. Among its participants are musicians from all over the world: the Indian-British project Sailender-Pardesi, Yair Dalal from Israel with his band Al Ol, the folklore group from Tuva Huun-Khuur-Tu, the synthetic international project Vershki da Koreshki, the Belarusian Troitsa, the female choir from Bulgaria Angelite, the legendary Moscow Art Trio and others. Ritual chants of African Maasai (Tanzania) and Ndebele (Zimbabwe), accompanied by drums, Namin mixed with psychedelic guitar improvisation. Another composition on this album is a unique duet of Stas Namin (Indian sitar) and Jivan Gasparyan (Armenian duduk).
Also in 2011, the Moscow International House of Music presented Namin’s ‘Fusion Raga’ — a tribute to George Harrison, on sitar and accompanied by Indian and Russian musicians and a symphony orchestra.
In March 2012, Namin played the sitar at a concert in Vrindavan (India), and upon return recorded a triple album Meditation. Guest musicians who contributed to this album include Jivan Gasparyan (duduk, Armenia), Krishna Prema das (vino-tricantha, Italy), Bittu Mallik (harmonium, vocals, India), Vishwambhar Ram das (surbahar, rubab, Russia) and others.
In 2018, to mark 150 years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, by the invitation of the Embassy of India, Namin recorded Gandhi’s favorite song ‘Saints Are Not Born’ on the sitar and made a video clip that became hugely popular after being shown on Indian national TV.
On 26 October 2021 as a guest of honour Stas Namin took part in the XIV International Festival Sitar in St. Petersburg in the Coliseum-Arena concert hall (St. Petersburg). Namin performed fusion compositions on sitar, accompanied by the Tamarind Trio.
In the mid-1990s, Namin and guest musicians recorded Kamasutra, his solo album of eight art-rock guitar improvisations. Namin dedicated this work to his friend, Frank Zappa, a famous composer and multi-instrumentalist who passed away in 1993. The album was recorded in a single take, without overdubbing; the playing time of the disc equals the length of the recording session.
In the same period, Namin and stars of the 1960-70s brought out a blues and rock ‘n roll double album called Dinosaurs. One disc was produced in a studio, featuring Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience), Eric Bell (Thin Lizzy), Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake), Herman Rarebell (Scorpions) as well as Russian rock musicians. The second disc was recorded live at the Dinosaurs Festival, with pioneering bands of Russian rock such as Sokol (The Tercel), Skify (The Scythians), Tsvety (The Flowers), Mashina Vremeni (The Time Machine), Skomorokhi (The Saltimbancos), Vtoroye Dykhaniye (The Runner’s High).
From 2019, Namin has been a producer for the Hermes Brothers, a Moscow band. He played the guitar as a special guest on some of their tracks. Their three music videos, recorded live at a concert, have just been released.
Founded by Namin in 1969, after a half-banned twenty-year existence under the Soviet regime, The Flowers were set free when Gorbachev came in and stopped their activities after a world tour (1986–1988).
In 1999, after a ten-year break, Namin assembled The Flowers band again. After a big concert The Flowers–30 celebrating their anniversary, the band started their creative activity: the musicians participated in staging of the musical Hair and rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, recorded the ethnic album «Russian Village Songs», took part in international tours and festivals.
In the year of band’s 40th anniversary Namin with The Flowers recorded two albums at the Abbey Road Studio: Back to the USSR (recording 2009, release 2010) with his 70s hits and Window to Freedom (recording 2010, release 2011) with songs that were forbidden by the Soviet government in the 80s. Society of Sound, a monthly place to listen to, discover and discuss music and sound, included this album in its collection.
In 2011–2012, three concert DVDs were released:
— The Flowers. 40(jubilee concert) (2010) that summed up the groups 40 years of creativity, flawlessly presenting all its best-known songs. Musicians from various lineups participated along with friends and guests;
— Homo Sapiens(2012) a concert that included an instrumental intro along with 12 new songs;
— Flower Power(2012) a concert that showcased contemporary remakes of old hits and new songs, which The Flowers played with friends, guests and Russia’s best musicians.
Some of The Flowers’ most socially relevant songs include:
— Joy & Shining that was part of Namin’s project One World Freedom, and was performed at a special plenary meeting of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris honouring the Declaration on Cultural Diversity’s 10th anniversary. The composition Joy & Shining graphically embodies the idea of One World. Along with rock and pop stars and ethnic musicians, adepts of the world’s five major religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — chant prayers in the song. Shining, Joy and Love unites everyone in this hymn of unity among the earth’s diverse peoples.
— Feast during the Plague, dedicated to the war in Ukraine.
— The Flowers’ remake of Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd and “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon, which received international acclaim.
— Namin’s song Window to Freedom performed by The Flowers in 2010 with Russian rock stars, was included in the Free To Rock film, and The Flowers performed it at the film’s presentation at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.
Autumn 2019 marked the beginning of a jubilee year for The Flowers, which kicked off with a concert Flowers Concert – 50 in the Kremlin Palace on 19 November.
At the The Flowers–50 concert in The Kremlin Palace independent shooting team made a film showing what was going before the gig as well as backstage. The film is called simply The Flowers 50 — Backstage.
Flowers-50 anniversary concert at the Kremlin
People Can Fly — the new album by Stas Namin and The Flowers
People can fly (2021) is Stas Namin’s first truly authorial album, i.e. both music and lyrics are written by himself. Namin wrote all the songs in just two or three months in the spring of 2020, during a period of the so called self-isolation. He lived with his family in the country, watched the butterflies and birds fluttering, the grass grow and the water gurgling in the brook — this formed the songs, unexpectedly for him.
In People Can Fly, Stas Namin not only wrote the lyrics but also sang the final song, which was the album’s title, as the leader-vocalist.
According to the band’s concert tradition, not only The Flowers’ musicians, but also actors from Stas Namin’s theatre took part in the recording of the album as soloists and backing singers.
The album contains nine compositions, differing in style and mood: serious, lyrical, and cheerful, but always reflecting the trademark musical style of Stas Namin and The Flowers.
Other projects and interests
For Stas Namin, his first travels probably began in his youth, with a trip to Armenia with his mother. This trip was not only a new visual experience for him — the vast mountain landscapes, the snow-capped peaks — and an introduction to new, unusually hospitable and friendly people, but also a source of inspiration for the future. In 2014, he took his son to Armenia himself, and the result of their 2000-kilometer journey through the country of his ancestors was the documentary The Ancient Temples of Armenia. He also dedicated his painting series to it, which was presented at the Russian Academy of Arts and part of which was included in the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery of Armenia.
A round-the-world voyage via Easter Island
In 1997, as an established musician, producer, and public figure, Namin completed his first round-the-world voyage together with a friend, the medical scientist and television presenter Yuri Senkevich, the legendary traveler Thor Heyerdahl and some other friends. Starting in Moscow, they circled all continents — Europe, Africa, South America, Easter Island, the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and returned to Russia from the other side of the earth. This journey was the start of Namin’s International Geographic’s travel-movie series and several photographic series.
Namin also brought his interest in different cultures to life in the One World International Ethnic Festival he founded in 1990 in Moscow and in Paris by taking part in joint cultural events with the French SOS-Rasisme movement. Later One World evolved into a social movement, and in 2019 the One World Freedom Foundation was established, which supports humanitarian ideas and initiatives aimed at the survival and recovery of humanity.
In the beginning of the 2010-s Namin, who had become interested in Indian music and philosophy in the sixties under the influence of his idols, The Beatles, learned to play the ancient Indian musical instrument sitar and in the spring of 2012 made a trip to North India, the pilgrimage grounds of the Fab Four. He meditates in the Himalayas, visits Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries, and performs sitar concerts in Vrindavan and Varanasi.
In the late eighties, during his first world tour with The Flowers band, Namin visited Zimbabwe and was captivated by the fascinating African culture. In the early 2000s, travelling with friends, Namin toured most of the countries of the continent over several years. On these trips, he created a series of photographs and videos that became part of his International Geographic series.
Hot air balloons
Having first attended the World Balloon Festival in Albuquerque (USA, New Mexico) in 1991, Stas decided to organize something similar in Russia.
In 1992, SNC Corporation created its own branded balloon and became the organizer of the first Russian balloon festival Peace March held on the Red Square. For the first and only time, dozens of balloons soared into the air in the heart of Moscow and flew over the Kremlin and the entire city.
Later, in 1992, Namin sketched the first Russian balloon with an unusual shape — the Yellow Submarine. It was, of course, inspired by the famous The Beatles’ song Yellow Submarine, but had an original design and did not copy the image from the cartoon of the same name. Namin’s copyright on the design and the name of the balloon was registered in the USA. He repeatedly participated in the Russian Balloon Fiestas and the World Balloon Festival in Albuquerque; the world’s largest media wrote about him. The Namin’s balloon Yellow Submarine was recognized there as one of the most popular and entered the encyclopedia of the best balloons in the world.
Namin’s interest in the cosmos, in the ideas of the wholeness of the universe, in the connection of the earthly consciousness with the cosmic began in his childhood, from the stories of his father, a military pilot, about his observations of incomprehensible objects during flights, from a meeting at the age of nine with the legendary Gagarin immediately after his return to Earth. In youth developed a fascination for Blavatsky’s cosmology, the spiritual practices of Alice Bailey, cosmology by Nikolai Fedorov and the noosphere doctrine of Vladimir Vernadsky. In student years added reading Daniel Andreev’s self-published Rose of the World, Velimir Khlebnikov’s Tablets and an interest in Indian philosophy. Later there was the acquaintance and longstanding friendship with the cosmonaut and artist Alexei Leonov, and during his studies at the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors, lectures by the historian and philosopher Lev Gumilev, his theory of ethnogenesis, passionarity and the connection between all the processes in the biosphere and the influence of cosmic energy.
In 2014, Namin attends an Astro forum in Spain, meeting many of the world’s leading physics scientists, including Stephen Hawking. They spend a week talking, discussing the issues to which Hawking devoted his lectures and seminars. The scientist then recommended that Namin contact the unique British designer Mark Turner — one of only three in Britain who handcrafts custom-made telescopes — which Namin did on his return to Moscow. A few months later, the telescope was ready, delivered to Russia and Namin was able to observe stars, planets, and galaxies from the window of his Moscow flat.
Then, in 2014, during meetings with Hawking, he had the idea for a future symphony, which he wrote in 2016 — Centuria S-Quark. “Centuria is a prediction, along the lines of Nostradamus’ Centuria. The S-quark is a ‘strange quark’ — a type of tiny material particle found by humanity. I see my symphony as a kind of prediction, a prediction of the strange future of the material world” (Stas Namin).