Blestyashchiye (Russian: Блестя́щие; IPA: [blʲɪˈsʲtʲæɕːɪɪ], lit. the shining ones) is one of the first and most enduring all-girl singing groups in Russia.
Originally Blestyashchiye consisted of three girls: Olga Orlova, Polina Iodis and Varvara Koroleva. In 1996 Irina Lukjanova and Janna Friske joined the group when Varvara Koroleva left the group right after the release of their first album Tam, Tol’ko Tam (Russian: Там, только там, English: There, Only There). Featuring original arrangements, lovely lyrics, and artistic music videos, Blestyashchiye became quite popular. They went on tour across the country, and they were highly praised. There, Janna became an instant success with her excellent vocal abilities and superb dancing skills. In 1997 they released the album Tam, Tol’ko Tam (Remixes). In 1998, Polina Iodis left the group and the three remaining girls continued to work together. In August 1999, X Ksenia Novikova joined Blestyashchiye. With the new lineup, Blestyashchiye released their second album Prosto Mechty (Russian: Просто мечты, English: Only Dreams). This album included such musical best sellers, „Gde Zhe Ti Gde?“, „Oblaka“, and „Cha, Cha, Cha“.
They released a new album in 2000, titled O Lyubvi… (Russian: О любви…, English: About Love…). The album featured ten new songs, one of which, „Ciao Bambino“, was named the most „provocative“ clip of year. The hit „Za Osen’yu Pridet Zima“ was another single from O Lyubvi…. The group won many awards that year, and went on tour in cities of Russia, the countries of the Near abroad, and abroad. Soon Olga Orlova (the front member and the songwriter of the songs that made Blestyashchiye famous) became pregnant and left the group. The success of the group was later proven by Belym Snegom (By White Snow), a greatest hits collection, including „Belym Snegom“ and „Dolgo Tebya Zdala“. The video clips for the songs at the time were in „Russian Top Ten“ and „Top-20“ on MTV. In June 2001, Yulia Kovalchuk was finishing up her 10th and 11th years of schooling, after which she planned to leave Moscow and return to her hometown, Volgagrad, to take a year’s vacation. Her friends had told her that Blestyashchiyes‘ producers were going to be in attendance at the school’s year-end recital. The rumor was that „Blest“ was hoping to include more dance in their shows, and thus they were looking for new talent. And the story goes, Julia was waiting to go onstage for her performance, when a Blest producer happened to pass by. The producer took an instant liking to Yulia, and asked if she could sing. Eventually they went to a studio, where she sang for them, and left her contact information. She went home as planned, for her much needed rest. On July 31, she received a call that she would need to be in Moscow on August 1(the next day), to start her new career as a member of the group Blestyashchiye. Yulia did not receive a very warm reception in Moscow. She was 18, and she was taking her first step into a pop group, whose members were struggling with finding an identity for the group, as well as their own survival. Yulia’s first performance in Blestyashchiye came at the recording of „Pesna Goda“ on September 5, 2001. Yulia described the occasion as „I was in the right place at the right time.“ Janna Friske is considered the leader of the group, publicity director, and oversees that girls communicate „daily“. In their ‚free time‘ the four members wrote songs for their next album, Za Chetyre Morya (Russian: За четыре моря, English: Beyond Four Seas) (2002). The first hit from the album was the memorable „A Ya Vse Letala“, the video played continuously on all music channels. In 2003 Irina Lukyanova became pregnant and left the group. Later on Blestyashchiye was joined by the former figure skater Anna Semenovich.
Their fifth studio album Apel’sinoviy ray (Russian: Апельсиновый рай, English: Orange Paradise) (2003) was an extraordinary success and left its mark on the year. The last hit song off the album, „Novogodnaya Pesnya“, became a true anthem that goes to the heart of winter holidays at the year’s end, and the earlier hit song „Apelcinovie Rai“ the summer anthem. Blestyashchiye was one of the first girl-groups in Russia, yet they still have a firm hold on the leading position among other female groups. In 2003, after the release of Apelcinovie Rai, Janna Friske left the group to embark on her solo career. On April 1, 2004 Friske was replaced by Nadia Ruchka. When asked the question how she joined group Blestyashchiye, Nadia answered so: „It is very simple. My friend called and told that Blestyashchiye wanted me to audition. My previous band just had just broken up. And ‚Blest‘ was searching for new members. But was on first of April (April Fools‘ Day), and I mistook the offer as a joke. Therefore I said: ‚Please, you will not joke. I do not wish to listen to such silly jokes. You will come home, and we shall talk.‘ At first I joined in group on a trial period. I have started to go a little with girls by tour. Stepped onstage in two-three numbers. Then I began to participate in recording songs.“ In the group, Nadia was well accepted. „If there are any questions, we find it easy to communicate,“ the singer tells. „Everyone understands, the work is complex. Now the trial my period has ended, therefore I work on full power.“ In 2005 the group released their 8th album, Vostochniye skazki (Russian: Восточные сказки, English: Oriental Fairytales) featuring a duet with the famous Iranian singer Arash. They also released the singles „Palmy Parami“, „Kak Zvezda“, „Agent 007“, and the earlier mentioned „Novogodnyaya Pesna“.
In March 2007, Anna Semenovich left the group to pursue a solo career, and was soon replaced by Anastasia Osipova. In summer 2007, amid rumors of pregnancy and a solo career, Kseniya left the group. At the 2007 Russian Music Awards, it was announced that Natalia Friske was the newest member of Blestyashchiye. The announcement was made by her sister, Janna Friske, during a performance by Blestyashchiye, including present and former members, while they performed a medley of Blest hit songs, live. Yulia Kovalchuk, whose contract with Blestyashchiye expired on December 31, 2007 has left the group to start her solo career. Under contract with Martin Music, she is expected to release her first single in February, 2008. There may be a music video for it in the spring, and her debut album is supposed to be released in fall 2008. On February 5, 2008, the group announced their newest member, Anna Dubovitskaja.
second time: Krisina
From „Tam, tol’ko tam“
From „Prosto mechty“
From „O ljubvi…“
From „Belym snegom“
From „Za chetyre morya“
From „Apel’sinoviy ray“
From „Vostochniye skazki“