Evgeny Khavtan

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Evgeny Khavtan
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Born (1961-10-16) October 16, 1961 (age 62)
Moscow, USSR
  • rock n roll
  • surf rock
  • new wave
  • ska
  • reggae
  • jazz
  • indie rock
  • Latin music
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar
Years active1980–present
LabelsMelodiya, General Records, Moroz Records, Soyuz Music, Polarvox

Evgeny Lvovich Khavtan (Russian: Евге́ний Льво́вич Хавта́н, born 16 October 1961, Moscow) is a Soviet and Russian musician, guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known as the founder of the iconic Russian rock band Bravo.[1], which was formed in 1983, and the Los Havtanos project, which was formed in 2018. Havtan has released 18 studio albums with his bands.

Bravo is a best-selling Russian rock band. In 1986, the record label ‘Melodiya’[2] sold 5 million copies of the band's debut album. In 1999, seven Bravo songs were ranked on the list of "100 Best Russian Rock Songs of the 20th Century," according to listeners vote of the leading rock radio station in Russian, NASHE radio[3]. In 2011, their album "Fashion" (Russian: "Мода") was named as "Album of the Year" by NASHE radio. Bravo's musical career began 40 years ago in the USSR, and the band still tours, selling out concert venues[4]

Biography / Early Years

Evgeny Khavtan, the son of an engineer and an English and German teacher, was born in Moscow on October 16, 1961. His mother was interned with her family in the Sharhorod ghetto in Transnistria during World War II and in 2004 wrote a memoir about her experience. Khavtan spent his childhood and youth in the Moscow district of Kuzminki, to which he later dedicated the song "From Taganka to Kuzminki" (‘Fashion’ album). Influenced by general trends of the time, he started playing guitar at a young age and graduated from a classical six-string guitar class at music school. As a fan of different genres, from the ‘new wave of British rock’ to 1950s classic American rock and roll, he started dressing up and looking like a Teddy Boy in the early 1980s. After graduating high school, he started studying at the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering.

Musical Career

In his early days he played and sang in various amateur rock bands before he managed to form his own. He gained popularity and recognition through his work with Bravo and his unique blend of rock and pop styles that connected with audiences in the USSR and beyond. Throughout his career, Khavtan has been recognized for his distinct guitar playing, songwriting skills, and contributions to the Russian music industry.


In 1983, Khavtan, already an experienced guitarist, and "Postscriptum" drummer Pavel Kuzin founded their own band. They played a mix of new wave and 50s-60s rock. Havtan and Kuzin, without a band name, were joined by saxophonist Alexander Stepanenko, bassist Andrey Konusov, and singer Ivonna Anders (real name Zhanna Aguzarova). After one of their earliest performances, which was held at the "Krylatskoe" disco venue in December 1983, the band decided to keep the name Bravo. The new band had no official registration, so they performed underground / illegally. On March 18, 1984, after an underground performance in a Moscow suburb, the band members were detained for "illegal entrepreneurial activity" (since all ticket proceeds were not declared)[5]. A criminal case was initiated against the musicians, and Havtan was expelled from the University. During the investigation, it came out that Zhanna's passport was counterfeit, and after imprisonment in ‘Matrosskaya Tishina’, Zhanna was expelled from Moscow to Siberia. A few years later, the criminal case was closed for "lack of evidence", and the band joined Moscow Rock Laboratory (twin brother of Leningrad Rock Club), but they didn't stay with it for long. After being awarded as the "Best New Artist" at the Rock Panorama-86 festival, they were invited to work officially at the Moscow Regional Philharmonic. Havtan was reinstated at the University and finally graduated in 1987. The day after receiving his higher education diploma he went on tour with Bravo.

In 1986 the record label ‘Melodiya’ released the first official Bravo album in the USSR - a vinyl record ‘Ensemble Bravo’. The songs were recorded by Alexander Kutikov in Mashina Vremeni band’s studio. The album included re-recorded songs from the first two tape albums. The record was very successful; it sold five million copies and a Finnish record label reached out. In 1987 the Finnish recording label Polarvox re-released the band's debut album for the Finnish market. A successful tour in Finland and performances at summer rock festivals in Sweden, Denmark, and Italy followed. At the Smukfest festival (Denmark), Bravo opened for Duran Duran. By the late 1980s, the relationship between the musicians and Zhanna Aguzarova became strained, and the singer decided to leave the band. Anna Salmina briefly replaced her, followed by Tatyana Ruzaeva. Aguzarova eventually returned to the group but permanently departed at the end of 1988 to focus on her solo career. In 1989, Evgeny Osin joined Bravo as the lead singer and took part in the "Let's Say 'Bravo!' to Each Other" album. However, after a tour around the Baltics, Osin left the band.

In the beginning of 1990, a new singer Irina Epifanova joined Bravo and recorded two singles with the band. Later that year, musician, singer, and songwriter Valery Syutkin joined the group[4]. Despite three successful albums and maintaining an active tour schedule, Syutkin left Bravo to pursue a solo career in 1995. Evgeny Khavtan was searching for a vocalist once again. That was Robert Lenz, whose identity was kept secret until the recording of the album ‘At the Crossroads of Spring’ was finished in 1996. Lenz continues to work with the band until today.Throughout its extensive history, Bravo experienced numerous lineup changes, with Khavtan being the only constant member and composer (and occasionally songwriter) for most songs. After the numerous vocalist changes, Khavtan began to sing some of the songs himself, sharing duties with Robert Lenz. In 2011, Havtan met Grammy-nominated American producer Ghian Wright[6] and their collaboration resulted in the album ‘Fashion’, which was voted "Album of the Year" by NASHE radio listeners[7]. Ghian Wright has produced all of Havtan’s subsequent recordings[8].

In 2017, journalist Alexey Pevchev released the book ‘Bravo. Authorized Biography of the Band’[9]. Music critic Artemy Troitsky praised the book, saying, "The 'Bravo' band is so vivid, romantic, and exciting that even with great effort, it would be impossible to write a dull book about it".[10]

Bravo has remained one of the most prominent bands in Russia, selling out large concert venues of dedicated fans for 40 years. Their fanbase regularly grows with new and younger audiences.

In 2018, Khavtan started a new music project, Los Havtanos.

Los Havtanos

The story of Los Havtanos began in 2017 when Evgeny Khavtan recorded the song "Ships" with musicians from the flamenco-gypsy-jazz band Barrio Manouche, based in San Francisco. Then he brought the track back to Moscow and finished the record with Cuban musicians. The recording was subsequently sent to Los Angeles for mixing by Ghian Wright.[6]

"I've always liked music that has the warmth and sunshine of South America and is based on the fiery rhythms of rumba, salsa, and flamenco. It was something I really missed during my rock and roll era, which I had been doing for so long. So, I decided to try something completely new and record a Latino album," explains Evgeny Khavtan.

The record was produced across the globe: Moscow, Los Angeles (USA), Havana (Cuba), Porto Alegre (Brazil). Producer Ghian Wright handled the mixing, and one of the songs was produced by Latin Grammy-winning producer Leo Bracht[11] (Brazil).

The Russian version of the album was released on October 7, 2020, by Souyz Music.

The Los Havtanos song ‘Mar De Blanca Arena’ (the song which launched the band, known as ‘Ships' in the Russian version) was awarded as the 'Best Latin at the Palm Beach International Music Awards’ (USA) in 2021.

The band is currently finishing work on an album in Spanish.

Musical Style and Influence

Khavtan is a big fan of 1960s music, fashion, and cinema. His guitar sound and style have been influenced by guitarists Chuck Berry, Dick Dale, Scotty Moore, George Harisson, Andy Summers, Hank Marvin, Johnny Marr, and bands such as The Beatles, The Kinks, The Police, The Smiths, Stray Cats, Madness, Heroes del Silencio. Havtan has a passion for vinyl records and 1960s-style clothing. He collects vintage guitar amplifiers and guitars, with nearly 100 items in his collection. The musician prefers electric guitars and amplifiers produced before 1970, and his partners in crime on stage and in the studio are a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a white 1966 Fender Jazzmaster guitar.

In 2015 Fender made a signature model Fender E.Havtan Telecaster. This model differs from the standard Telecasters by the addition of a Bigsby tremolo system and a neck pickup that is located much closer to the neck. The instrument body is covered with old 1980s cut-outs of Bravo newspapers and photos. On his official website, Havtan writes a blog about his guitar equipment and instruments and also provides a platform for people to ask questions about guitars.

Personal Life

Evgeny's wife is Marina Borisovna Khavtan (b. October 13, 1960), engineer-economist. They have a daughter, Polina Khavtan (b. October 14, 1993), who graduated from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (Film Studies Faculty) and works as a film critic.


Studio albums
  • Cassette 1983 (1983)
  • Cassette 1985 (1985)
  • Bravo (1987)
  • Ensemble Bravo (1987)
  • Fops from Moscow (1990)
  • Moscow Beat (1993)
  • Road to the Clouds (1994)
  • The Wind Knows...(single) (1995)
  • At the Crossroads of Spring (1996)
  • Serenade 2000 EP (1997)
  • Hits about Love (1998)
  • Eugenics (2001)
  • Fashion (2011)
  • Forever (2015)
Other studio albums
  • VIE ‘Rare bird’ – Unreleased (1982)
  • Postscript – Cheer up! (1982)
  • Solo project Mickey Mouse and stilettos - EP Jazz in Orbit (2007)
Studio Albums with Los Havtanos
  • Los Havtanos — Come to me! (2020)
Live albums
  • Live in Moscow (1994)
  • 30 Years. Concert in Stadium Live (2014)
Compilation albums
  • Zhanna Aguzarova and Bravo (1993)
  • Songs from Various Years (1995)
  • The Star Catalog (tribute) (2004)
  • Bravospective (2017)


  1. Документальный фильм "Браво Story" (2019)
  2. "О мелодии". melody.su (in русский).
  3. "Лучшие рок-песни XX века — НАШЕ Радио". www.nashe.ru (in русский).
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Стиляги из Москвы — Летопись — НАШЕ Радио". www.nashe.ru (in русский).
  5. "«Браво» поделились фильмом о себе — НАШЕ Радио". www.nashe.ru (in русский).
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Main Home". Ghian Wright - Sound Mixer - Producer - Engineer.
  7. "Гид по альбомам «Браво»: от худшего к лучшему". Афиша (in русский).
  8. "DISCOGRAPHY". Ghian Wright - Sound Mixer - Producer - Engineer.
  9. Musecube (2017-04-11). "Алексей Певчев презентует книгу о группе «Браво» | Musecube" (in русский).
  10. "6 лучших книг о русском роке". Год Литературы (in русский).
  11. "Leo Bracht". TRANSCENDENTAL audio (in português).

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