Nochniye Snaiperi

Nochniye Snaiperi
Nochniye Snaiperi
(Ночные Снайперы)
Origin Russia
Genres Rock
Years active 1993 - present
Labels Real Records
Diana Arbenina (Диана Арбенина)
Ivan Ivolga (Иван Иволга)
Dmitry Maksimov (Дмитрий Максимов)
Dmitry Gorelov (Дмитрий Горелов)
Andrei Titkov (Андрей Титков)

Nochnyie Snaipery (Russian: Ночные Снайперы, literally "Night Snipers") is a Russian rock group. It was founded in 1993 as an acoustic female duo of Diana Arbenina (Russian: Диана Сергеевна Арбенина) and Svetlana Surganova (Russian: Светлана Яковлевна Сурганова). The ladies played guitar and violin respectively, sharing the vocal and songwriting duties evenly, eventually adding amplification to the band. Since its inception the band has participated in a variety of Russian musical festivals — from the underground (such as Babye Leto and Moguchaya Kuchka) to the major events (Nashestvie, Maxidrom, Krylya), as well as touring extensively domestically and abroad.

Night Snipers best known singles are Tridtsatpervaya Vesna ("31st Spring"), Rubezh ("Frontier"), Stolitsa ("Capital"), Asfalt ("Asphalt"), and Aktrisa ("Actress"). The majority of the songs in the band's repertoire is written by Arbenina and Surganova, but some use the poetry of such famous authors as Joseph Brodsky, Anna Akhmatova, and Federico Garcia Lorca.

In 2002 Svetlana Surganova left the band to create her own group Surganova i Orkestr ("Surganova and Orchestra"), and Diana remained the headliner of Night Snipers.

Diana Arbenina and Svetlana Surganova have been considered Russian lesbian icons for a long time. Several songs, performed by them with Night Snipers or solo, hint of intimacy between women and are considered lesbian and feminist anthems of Russophone world. However, these days Diana Arbenina is moving away from the lesbian theme to more philosophical lyrics, and it is harder to tell if her love songs are about a same-sex relationship. In 2010, Diana gave birth to two children, and at the present moment it is not known if she is in a relationship with a woman.


Early history

The official date of Night Snipers creation can be considered August 19, 1993 when Diana Arbenina and Svetlana Surganova met in Saint Petersburg. Soon afterwards they performed as an acoustic duo at the Second All-Russian Bard Song Festival, after which Diana returned to her home city of Magadan, and the creative project was placed on hiatus.

In November 1993 Surganova moved to Magadan, and for the remainder of the academic year the duo gave concerts at a local casino "Imperial" and at the Magadan University where Diana was a student at the time. They also recorded a series of home concerts, given for the benefit of friends and relatives. These early recordings are quite sought out by the fans of the band. It is anecdotally accepted that the name Night Snipers was chosen after Diana and Svetlana were walking to public transportation after a gig, carrying a guitar and a violin in their cases, and were accosted by a man wanting to know if they were walking "to hunt or from a hunt," thinking their instruments were shotguns.

In May 1994 Snipers had won a regional round of the All-Russian Musical Competition "Student Spring" and tripped west to Samara for the finals, eventually moving back to St. Petersburg. While based there, the duo continued an active life of gigs, songwriting, underground performances etc., building a loyal following. 1996 sees Snipers in their first trip outside of Russia to attend a student festival in Denmark. Two books of their texts are published in the same year - Цель ("Goal") and Дрянь (Rotter) (called "anti-songs" by the authors.)

In February 1997 Diana and Svetlana added amplification to the acoustic guitar and violin, and collaborated with the drummers from the St. Petersburg band Soyuz Kommertcheskogo Avangarda ("The Union of Commercial Avant-Guard") Yura Degtyaryov and Alexei Ivanov, as well as with the guitar soloist Denis Doulitsky from the Vacuum' band.

In June 1997 "Night Snipers" debuted on the Internet. Getting more notoriety, Diana and Svetlana sought help from the bands Ulme and Kuzya-band in recording some of their songs, which later would make up the album Detskiy Lepet ("Child's Babble"), published in 1999.

After graduating from university, Diana and Svetlana devote all of their attention to professional music. In the summer of 1998 the women use an auditorium at the St Petersburg Zoo to record their first official album Kaplya Diogtia/V Botchke Meda ("Drop of tar/In a barrel of honey"), which is sold on audio tapes. They also acquire a manager (Svetlana Loseva) who organized the band's participation at the "Sirin" festival of female vocalists held in Tyumen. Loseva also introduces the Snipers to the former musicians from an iconic Russian rock group Nautilus Pompilius - bassist Igor Kopylov and drummer Albert Potapkin, who begin to perform with the band. By early 1999, Snipers are in rotation on radio and television in St Petersburg, and in May 1999 they have their first performance in Moscow. Their first official website makes debut that spring as well.

The sound of the early Snipers is quite unusual in its choice of violin (and sometimes flute) layered on the guitar riffs and rhythms, growing out of the acoustic traditions of Russian bards, and evoking some traditions of gypsy music, as well as some parallels with country music. The song content concerns mostly love and loss, and could be compared to early Ani DiFranco without the political overtones.


In 2000 Albert Potapkin leaves the group, to be replaced by Ivan Ivolga and Sergei Sandovsky. Night Snipers give their first real international concerts in Germany and United States, where the group's popularity is assured by the large numbers of immigrant youth. After recording the album Rubezh ("Frontier"), their single Tridtsatpervaya Vesna ("31st Spring") enters rotation at one of the best known Russian radio stations "Nashe Radio", and by the fall of 2000, everyone in Russia has heard of the Night Snipers[citation needed]. By December 2000 the ladies are signed by Real Records.

2001 is spent in touring around Russia and the Former Soviet Union. Dmitry Gorelov joins the band as the new drummer, and the Zhyvoi ("Alive") album is recorded during a Christmas concert at "Barmalei" Club.

The recording for Tsunami begins in Kiev in 2002, and proves to be fatal to the duo. A couple of days after the official release of the album in December 2002 Svetlana Surganova leaves the group, to later start a solo career with Surganova i Orkestr. Other events of note in 2002 include two tours of Israel and two large acoustic concerts - in Moscow Art Theatre and St. Petersburg's Lensovet Palace of Culture. Dmitry Chestnykh joins the group as the new bassist, and another book of Surganova/Arbenina poetry is published - Patrontash.

The Frontier/Tsunami period is much more grown up in its sound and structure. Political themes and questions about meaning of life make appearances in the lyrics; "Tridtsatpervaya Vesna" is to day possibly being the best known single of the group. The vocal structure is more dominated by Diana Arbenina, while in the early years the women sang about 50 percent of the repertoire in turn. The sound becomes harsher, more rock-oriented, with hard-driving drum lines and stylistic experiments.

New Millennium

The departure of Svetlana called for a radical change in the musical style of the band - instead of replacing the string instruments with another musician, Snipers acquired a keyboardist (first Alexei Samarin, then Airat Sadykov). February 2003 saw the band give their largest yet concert at the famous Moscow sports arena Luzhniki. A new acoustic album Trigonometriya ("Trigonometry") is recorded during a concert at Moscow Art Theatre in May 2003. The band's 10th anniversary is celebrated with a large concert and a party at the B2 club.

In the summer of 2004 Snaipery perform at the "Russian Rock Night" festival in Berlin, and soon thereafter release a new electric album SMS. However, they carry on the acoustic tradition during concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg titled Superakustika ("Superacoustics").

In 2005 Diana Arbenina received a prestigious independent Russian award Triumph "for achievements in literature and the arts". In that same year Night Snipers collaborated with two very different musicians - Japanese pop musician Kazufumi Miyazawa and Russian rock group B-2. The collaboration with Miyazawa was titled Simauta and let to the band's participation in Fuji Rock Festival, the first Russian group to do so.

Another acoustic album Trigonometriya 2 is released in 2005 after a recording of a May 2005 concert at the Moscow Art Theatre, and the Japanese version of Koshika album is published. In the fall of 2005 Night Snipers travel to Switzerland, kicking off a tradition of yearly tours outside of Russia. Diana also published another book of lyrics and anti-songs Katastroficheski.

In early 2006 Koshika album is released in Russia, and the band tours United States and Israel. Diana Arbenina performed in multiple memorial concerts as an acoustic solo musician, including Svoya Koleya ("Own Track"), commemorating Vladimir Vysotsky and In Memoriam Bulat Okudjava in Peredelkino. In early 2007 Nochnye Snaipery released their newest album Bonni i Klaid ("Bonnie & Clyde"), which includes some collaborative tracks with B-2 and draws inspiration from Western themes.


  • 1993 Pervaya Pulia, Первая пуля ("First Bullet") (not published)
  • 1995 Vtoraya Pulia, Вторая пуля ("Second bullet") (unofficial)
  • 1998 Kaplya Diogtia/V Botchke Meda, Капля дегтя/В бочке меда ("Drop of tar/In a barrel of honey") (Сaravan Records)
  • 1999
    • Britanets, Британец ("Briton")
    • Detskiy Lepet, Детский лепет ("Child's Babble") (Manchester Files)
    • Kanarskiy, Канарский ("Canarian") (not published)
  • 2001 Rubezh, Рубеж ("Frontier") (Real Records)
  • 2002
    • Zhivoi, Живой ("Alive") (Real Records)
    • Kaplya Diogtia/V Botchke Meda, Капля дегтя/В бочке меда ("Drop of tar/In a barrel of honey") (Real Records)
    • Tsunami, Цунами (Real Records)
  • 2003 Trigonometriya, Тригонометрия ("Trigonometry") (Real Records)
  • 2004 SMS, (Real Records)
  • 2005
    • Simauta (together with Kazufumi Miyazawa)
    • Koshika (Japanese release, together with Kazufumi Miyazawa)
    • Trigonometriya 2, Тригонометрия 2 ("Trigonometry 2") (Real Records)
  • 2006 Koshika (together with Kazufumi Miyazawa) (Russian release)
  • 2007 Bonni i Klaid, Бонни & Клайд ("Bonnie & Clyde")


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