Kochan, Alexis [Koxan, Oleksandra], b 6 March 1953 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo: Alexis Kochan.) After growing up in Winnipeg’s North End, Kochan obtained an M.A. in psychology from the University of Manitoba (1977) while simultaneously studying music. She then devoted herself primarily to music, studying in Ukraine in 1978–9 under Anatolii Avdiievsky and members of the Verovka State Chorus. She released her first record, Czarivna, in 1982, which was a unique attempt to blend traditional Ukrainian music with contemporary sounds. Kochan gradually developed a circle of musical collaborators, including bandurist Julian Kytasty and Richard Moody, which formed the backbone of the ‘Paris to Kyiv’ ensemble that she heads. The group has developed a specific approach to its material, employing traditional Ukrainian sources as a springboard for musical explorations. It has released four albums—Paris to Kiev (1994), Variances (1996), Prairie Nights and Peacock Feathers (2000), and Fragmenti (2005).
[This article was written in 2009.]