Known simply as the Farlanders in their native Russia, Inna & the Farlanders formed in 1994 out of the remains of one of the nation's biggest rock bands, Alliance. Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Inna Zhelannaya, the Farlanders embrace rock, jazz, classical, and folk elements in their distinctive update of Russian music.
Along with founding and performing with Alliance, Zhelannaya's rich musical background includes her operatic vocal training at the Ippolitove-Ivanov music school and her stint with a punk band as a teenager in the '80s. She was introduced to Russia's musical heritage during her time with Alliance, and soon Russian folk became one of her main inspirations, as reflected on her 1995 solo album, Vodrosli (Water Fronds).
The Farlanders continue this inspired blend of Russian folk tradition and contemporary influences; multi-instrumentalist/singer Sergey Starostin was already one of the country's most respected folk musicians before joining the band. Traditional woodwind instruments, guitar, and Zhelannaya's expressive vocals combine on their 1999 U.S. debut album, The Dream of Endless Nights, released on the Shanachie label.
Unfortunately, the group encountered difficulties releasing the album in their homeland, where economic troubles and a lack of interest in traditional music resulted in poor sales for some of their other releases. Abroad, however, Inna & the Farlanders continue to rise in prominence, performing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Ghent Music Festival in Belgium in 1997, and at the Worldwide Music Exposition (WOMEX) in Stockholm in 1998.