Paradise Lost

Environmental disaster in eastern Russia has pushed the band, Oxyken, into new artistic territory.

2/4/20242 min read

For the last three summers, wildfires have raged in Siberia
For the last three summers, wildfires have raged in Siberia

For the past three summers (21, 22, 23) wildfires have raged in the forests of Siberia

From Beekeeping to Planetary Awareness

The band, Otyken, began performing around 2015. At first, their main goal was to promote Chilyum bee products, which were already becoming popular in Japan. The Native music ensemble was an outgrowth from a variety of Native cultural activities, all centered around the Krasnoyarsk Ethnographic Museum of Honey.

Krasnoyarsk is a Siberian city with a population of over a million people, located not too far from the traditional lands of the Chulym, Tatarlar, Ket, Khakass, and Selkup peoples. Not only did these people participate in local beekeeping as a livelihood, but they were also proficient at hunting, fishing, and foraging wild plants. After opening earlier in the 21t century, the urban museum became a major focal point for preserving Native folklore and storytelling. If one views some of the earlier videos, they will frequently encounter scenes taken from the apiary activities of the various tribal groups.

Traditional Khakass musicians with musical instruments
Traditional Khakass musicians with musical instruments

Khakass musicians in traditional dress

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost is a song from their most recent album, Phenomenon, which was put out in 2023. It is a powerful and deeply meaningful piece, which deals quite directly with the displacement of Native people. The video also illustrates how much this band has developed and grown over the years. Not only has their musical talent improved, but the world vision and lyrical voice expressed in Paradise Lost is quite sophisticated.


Smoke is a powerful 2023 Otyken single release, focused on the vast forest fires of Siberia, which seem to get worse with each progressive year. This video features a live stage performance, complete with smoke drifting across the stage and into the crowd. English subtitles are present, revealing once again the storytelling skills of this popular musical entourage.

Apocalypse is a powerful song from their 2021 Kykakacha album. This intense video appears to have been made a year or two after the musical release. In a style reminiscent of the American film, Koyaanisqatsi, this music video takes on, not only the horrific Siberian wildfires of recent years, but also delves into other large-scale environmental issues, as well. Unfortunately, I could not find any English translations for this piece, so (non-Russian) viewers will have to go with the visuals.

Siberia Burning

Singing About Calamity

Otyken's Future

Otyken's growing international success seems to have been put on pause by the Ukrainian-Russian war, which as I write this is about to enter its third year. Before February 22, Otyken had received a Grammy nomination and participated in several international events, held within Russia.