the nowytski sisters >> about

Natalie Nowytski and Olenka Nowytski have been performers since childhood. From singing to playing musical instruments to dancing to acting, these versatile performers have shared the stage as nearby as their home state of Minnesota and as far away as The French Pyrenees. Both accomplished musicians in their own right, their collaboration on their debut album, Winter (Zyma), brings them back to their Ukrainian roots, using both classical and folk techniques they have studied over the years.

A classically trained vocalist and award-winning composer and performer, Natalie has dedicated herself to the study and performance of traditional folk music since 1996. She has traveled to Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France and Ukraine to study culture and folk music. Natalie sings in more than 40 languages—including her native Ukrainian—and in nearly 20 distinct vocal styles. She frequently conducts vocal workshops, coaches performing ensembles, guest lectures for college-level music schools, and teaches private voice students. Natalie’s performance credits include appearances with Peter Ostroushko, Ruth MacKenzie, Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum, and Ethnic Dance Theatre. She has performed on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and at the prestigious Koprivshtitsa folk festival in Bulgaria, both with Mila Vocal Ensemble. Although she calls the voice her main instrument, she plays nearly a dozen folk and classical instruments. As a member of Orkestar Bez Ime, Natalie is a winner of the 2011-2012 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians administered by MacPhail Center for Music and is also a recipient of a Minnesota Emerging Composers Award from the American Composers Forum. She is also part of a team that won the 2011 SAGE Award for Dance for Outstanding Design (music and score for the Flying Foot Forum's production of Heaven). In addition, Natalie received a 2011 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to complete her first solo album, to be released early 2013. Please visit for more information.

Current ensembles: Orkestar Bez Ime (Balkan party music), Traki (Bulgarian folk), AM Supper Club (indie pop/rock), Die Alte Streich (Bavarian string band), Flying Foot Forum (percussive dance company) and others from time to time.

Olenka has had an extensive singing career, including being one of the youngest vocalists, as a teenager, in the adult Ukrainian chorus Dnipro. She has performed and recorded with Yevshan Zillia women's chorus and The Ethnic Dance Theatre Vocal Ensemble (now Mila Vocal Ensemble). She has traveled overseas to perform at international folk festivals and has studied with renowned folk vocalists, including Vesela Ilieva of Varna, Bulgaria.