auroville15 month ago in Auroville a new musical instrument appeared – a special gift to the city from Russia. Born of a powerful desire to embody Beauty and Harmony in sound, flat bells, created by a Russian bell master Alexander Zhicharev, could well be named harbingers of a new type of musical instruments, tasked with performing music of deep vibrations. Uniqueness and power of a sound are caused by the fact that the sounding of a metal plate contain the laws of natural harmony.

Every plate, being itself a musical instrument, also co-tuned perfectly to other plates, which gives them unparalleled potential for intuitive performing, for one person as well as for a group. It’s enough to simply listen to the sound, and the doors to a world of an inner harmony would open. And then, all by itself, a music is born – not composed and rehearsed before, but a live one, unfolding freely, directed only by an inner conductor.

billa_for_auroville Flat bells for Auroville

This rare instrument, known now as “Russian bells”, contains distinctive properties that are now being researched by Auroville. People who come to open lessons of performing on the bells, share their impressions of the play:

“It felt like I was wandering a magical realm… The state of peace and quiet, born from the sound of this unique instrument, fills me up with a feeling of spiritual happiness.”

Anand, India

“Beautiful sounds, rich, resonating, almost curative – it’s a meditation with sound.”

Rajan, India
“This is a way to express yourself. The more you express with the bells, the clearer the path becomes. It is like an invitation to the unknown.”

Ramanarajan, India

“Omm, the vibes of the heart. This an instrument for self-comprehensioning. These mystical sounds bring a harmony to the soul.”
Pierre, France

“Когда начинаются вибрации, кажется, что открываются новые измерения. В этом инструменте есть нечто волшебное …” (Пау, Испания)

“Звук русских колоколов напоминает музыку души. Их вибрирующее звучание помогает нам подняться над временем и пространством. Эта музыка может затронуть, вероятно, все культуры”. (Ананда, Франция)

India_Zhikharev_concertAuroville’s bells began their path in December 2007 with several open concerts, including performances in an amphitheater near Matrimandir and in Shri Aurobindo ashram.

In February 2008 they actively participated in celebration of Auroville’s 40-th anniversary, when they truly served as an instrument to unite people for a collective action.

After that, the instrument have started to gradually take its place in a city’s life.

It is participating in theatre performances and poetry readings, offers programs for children, as well as solo programs, invites people to an inner silence before collective meditations.

The journey has just began and there is still much to find out: instrument’s abilities, ways to employ it in different areas – in self-cognition, self-development, healing, in the area of co-tuning to the Nature and collective co-tuning.

India_Zhikharev_singing_basil_pieceAlexander Ivanovich continues his quest for “divine sound” with a growing inspiration and experiments with new materials for his flat bells: wood, stone, glass, different metals.

He is especially interested in flat bells of large sizes, that of a human height, that give deep, permeating, long resonating sound, filled with overtones and capable of lingering for up to ten minutes.

Master is also ready to create a special sound for Auroville.


Instruments, made by Alexander Zhicharev, are unique for Russia itself too.

But, nevertheless, Russian travelers who happen to hear the sound of his bells in Auroville, immediately recognize something familiar from home in it and say:

“I hear the voice of Russia”.

Alexander Ivanovich dreams to gather all of his instruments under one roof and create something of a “temple f a sound” – a place where a person would delve completely into sound vibrations, co-tuning himself to a harmony of a pristine sound.

Who knows, maybe the dream so long treasured will finally find its realization in Auroville?


I would like to express my gratitude: to bell master Alexander Zhicharev for creating such an amazing beauty; to people who helped to bring this beauty to Auroville and continue to inspire and support this endeavor; to Narad, Ruslan Bayramov, Louise, Aurelio and “Svaram”, Shivaia (Pavilion of Unity), collective of the Amphitheater (Shrimoyi, Zigrid, Suria), to my friends from the Russian Pavilion and to everyone whose souls answer to that sound.

Welcome to the open lessons at the Pavilion of Unity!

Vera Leepen