I'd call this album "The Best Russian Nostalgy" album for listeners out of Russia or even in Russia. People don't much records Russian folk songs anymore. Most wanted in Russia now days is rap-hip-hop music, and Limpopo does not go that way!
Many thanks for you two sample CDs, which arrived today. I think we will
include either one or both of them in our CD Buying Guide in the "Other
items of interest" section. How big a quantity must we order in order to
qualify for a better discount?
Now allow me a few impressions. I like "Give Us a Break" better than
"Traffic Jam". I appreciate the wit and (musical) humor--singing
harmonies in the "wrong" keys, etc--, even while you preserve the folk
tunes in their characteristic and recognizable likeness. I also see
elements of "Weird Al" Yankovich and... Frank Zappa! You see, being a
Russian-American of the "second" wave, I grew up in Southern California
(Glendale) during the 1960s and 1970s, when all that musical craziness
was starting to happen; I know who both Frank Zappa and John Cage are.
But in the second CD I already see many more elements of Western tastes
You have to understand that, although I grew up in America, something
deeply Russian has been planted in my soul and spirit. I understood this
when I heard Dmitry Pokrovsky for the first time in Russia, where I was
gathering materals for my book "Choral Performance in Pre-Revolutionary
Russia." (Subsequently, I developed a certain degree of closeness with
Dmitry and his ensemble. Shortly before his untimely death, I sat with
him here in Connecticut and discussed possible plans for publishing some
of his folklore transcriptions.) I grew to be a great admirer of
Pokrovsky, Slava Shchurov, the Russian Druzhina Ensemble, etc., and my
dream was always that, freed from the Socialist yoke, Russian folk music
would give rise to a "popular" music, but one that would remain somehow
truly Russian--maintaining some of that "purity," "innocence", and
"beauty" that have always been present in the Russian character, and
which, sadly, have been almost totally lost in "decadent" Western
music--both classical and popular. In the West, broadly speaking, we are
now dealing largely with the art of Nihilism, which has no life or
future in it.
Please forgive my "filosofstvovanie"! You are obviously very gifted and
talented musicians. My earnest wish for you is to succeed, but can you
do it by emphasizing the positive and beautiful and spirited that is in
Russian national art, "wowing" unsuspecting Western ears? Can you resist
at all costs the temptation to subvert and distort (dare I say
desecrate) Russian art just because the West says "now you can" and nods
its head in cynical approval.
Vot! Vyskazalsia! Maybe you will read this, laugh at me and will never
care to speak to me again (just sell me CDs). Or maybe we will be able
to continue this conversation.
Wishing you all the best artistic and musical successes,