Мельница (Melnitsa, meaning "mill") is a folk rock band from Moscow, Russia, formed in 1999 by Natalia "Hellawes" O'Shea and Alexey "Chus" Sapkov around the remnants of a local folk band called Till Eulenspiegel.
The band fuses Russian, Irish and other North European folk influences with pop/rock sounds. Natalia "Hellawes" O'Shea, the lead singer and primary songwriter, is an academic and a specialist in medieval European languages and cultures by day. Her expertise lends the typically complex fantasy-laden lyrics a degree of authenticity.
For the first several years the band had worked the club and festival circuit, earned a good cult status in the folk-n-fantasy teenage sub-culture and released an acoustic album Doroga Sna (Дорога Сна, The Road of Dream) featuring the underground hit Gorets (Горец, Highlander) set to the Russian translation of Robert Burns' Highland Harry Back Again.
Luck struck in 2005, when the lead single Nochnaya Kobyla (Ночная Кобыла, Night mare) off their second, more pop-infused album Pereval (Перевал, Mountain Pass) had been sneaked into rotation on Nashe Radio (the name and lyrics of the song are a complex allusion to Mara, a Norse mythical entity that caused nightmares). A grass-roots chart effort by fans propelled the song to #1 position in the "Best Of Year" chart, and the band to the small arena circuit (sparsely populated in Russia).
Natalia "Hellawes" O'Shea - vocals
Alexey "Chus" Sapkov - guitar, vocals
Sergey Zaslavsky - flute
Alexey Orlov - cello
Alexey Kozhanov - bass
Dmitry Frolov - drums
Alevtina Leontyeva - vocals
Alexander "Grendel" Stepanov - guitar
Natalia Filatova - flute
Natalia Kotlova - cello
Evgeny Chesalov - bass
Alexander Leer - drums
Inessa Klubochkina - violin