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Devotchka warms up for CSO while in Aspen


“Devotchka” in Russia means “little girl”. When someone says the word “devotchka” in Colorado, it means the Grammy-nominated band from Denver.


The band, known for their work on the soundtrack for the film Little Miss Sunshine, has been described as “gypsy-rock” and burlesque. That’s not a mistake. The band got their start as a backing group for burlesque shows.


Devotchka will find themselves right at home at the Belly Up, but things will change when they perform next week with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks.


The bouzouki wielding, guitar slinging, acrobatic singing front man of the band, Nick Urata, says that the dynamic changes not only when the venue gets bigger, but when the band on stage gets bigger.


“It’s a lot of moving parts. It takes a lot of ears and a lot of concentration, but the musical payoff is unrivaled,” says Urata.


As if Red Rocks wasn’t already impressive, the Centennial State’s premiere orchestra will join one of the biggest bands from the area and adapt current songs to not only be played on a big stage, but with a big band.


“You know, the orchestra is such a big organism that time is of the essence, so when we get in there it’s very much – not too much talking, it’s all business," says Urata. "We run the charts. If there’s any problems we point them out and run it again and move on. It’s kind of exciting that way.”


The band recorded an album with the symphony orchestra a few years ago, but has now made it a habit to play with them each year. Urata says that every year he is surprised that they invite his band back.


“Sometimes melding the rock band with the orchestra requires a little finesse, and that’s what we work out. When you’re a four-piece band, you do things to be loud. When we play with the orchestra, you kind of have to go in the opposite direction, and be sure not to drown the orchestra out.”


If the challenges of bringing the music to the stage wasn’t intimidating enough, Urata says that just having a symphony playing his music instead of the more traditional repertoire was a bit frightening for him.


“You know, we’re a little bit out of our element with arranging our songs for so many players. They’re used to playing pieces by the greatest composers known to man. To put our little charts up there on the stand next to that is a little intimidating. You try not to think about that but…”


Devotchka plays at the Belly Up in Aspen on Friday.