Alina Markina: behind the scenes

Alina Markina, UAA lead media assistant and music student, has a surprising take on music.

“Words are just too descriptive for me,” Markina, who works behind the scenes at UAA productions as well as performs, said. “The sound of the voice is what makes me feel heard.”

Alina Markina stands in front of a painting displayed in the Fine Arts Building, where she spends most of her time. Photo by Mary Ryan.

Despite being a vocalist, Markina focuses on music quality, or tone, rather than lyrics.

“Whenever I sing, I feel like I’m saying exactly what I want to say by just using sound,” she said. “Lyrics are not what my ear is drawn naturally to.”

Markina, currently developing an album, composes ambient songs, which are typically “background music.”

“More often than not, the ideas I have in my head are hard to put into words and I use music as a way to get them out,” she said. “[Ambient music] makes me feel something —  something I cannot describe — but I feel it very strongly.”

Makina grew up in Russia, where her mother sent her to vocal lessons and choirs at age 4.

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“Singing was always a part of my life,” Markina said. “Now singing has transformed into a form of expression for me, and is a way to deal with emotions.”

Driven and passionate about music, Markina plays bass, piano, drums and guitar.

Her degree concentration is in jazz, and she plays bass in the Erotos punk band as well. Though these are very different genres, Markina appreciates the both types of expression.

Markina has performed jazz at the Writer’s Block Cafe and the Gumbo house. Aside from singing at school, she also participates in jazz jams at Elim Cafe every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m.

“I enjoy performing because of the ‘performance high’ and the deep connection or bond that develops between everyone on stage,” she said. “I’ve never been happier in my life than [when performing].”

Markina works behind the scenes for other’s performances, such as concerts and recitals at UAA. As lead media assistant, she helps artists set up and trains students in stage management, including how to work the lights, audio and cameras.

“I love my job. I absolutely love it,” Markina said. “I feel like it is a form of expression also… That’s what really draws me into it, the fact that you can be such a big  part of their artistic intent just by [helping] them sound the best they can.”

Though Markina is unseen by the audience when she works backstage, those involved in the productions appreciate all she does.

“[Markina] is a really good student and has an amazing voice,” music student Anna Berry said. “She’s really important to the music program behind the scenes. She’s very subdued usually and uses a calm tone of voice but everyone listens to her [when she instructs students backstage].”

Markina will continue in the field after she graduates, whether that brings her back to Russia or allows her to stay in the United States.

“I hope to combine my passion for live audio engineering with my passion for being a musician,” Markina said.

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