Monday, 7 March 2011

Maslenitsa in London: Part 1

Three years ago I had one of (if not THE) most lovely day ever amongst a hundred thousand Russians in Trafalgar Square. It was I believe,the last Russian Winter Festival to be held in London,so you can imagine my excitement when I found out (thanks to acediscovery) about yesterday's Maslenitsa event.

I'd never heard of Maslenitsa before- my teachers only seemed to recognise Women's Day as a Russian holiday- but it's a week long festival that marks the end of winter and the run-up to Lent,during which there are pancakes aplenty.

Anyway,after finding out that not only would Sergey Lazarev be there (you might have heard of him- he did the idents for our radio show...),but Prohor Shalyapin and Chelsi too,me and Keira just had to go.

I don't know what I missed,as I got there an hour after the whole thing kicked of,but the first act I saw was Bayan Mix with their light-up accordions.I was scoffing a chicken fajita and Twix at this point so didn't get any pictures or anything,but here they are on Russian telly. I quite liked them.But not as much as I liked Namgar,a group from Buryatia where Russia borders China and Mongolia.Their fusion of traditional Mongolian music and guitars and drums is like nothing you've ever heard before,as I'm sure you can believe.

Keira arrived just before Prohor "if you're stars,then I'm a legend" Shalyapin took to the stage wearing a characteristically flamboyant outfit.This was just as well because by being there she'd just doubled his fanbase.I've always had the impression that Prohor wasn't very popular during FZ6 and afterwards,and nobody seemed very enthusiastic during his set,despite the fact that he did a few traditional Russian songs which I'm sure everyone would have gone mad for if it had been anyone else.To finish,he did Tolko Ty which is one of his own songs as far as I know.
The old lady next to me (not Keira) was clearly enjoying it very much as she turned to me and said "when are the Russian dancers on?" Hmm.And then she asked if Prohor was one of Russia's top pop stars.I should have said yes.Anyway,the lack of enthusiasm didn't seem to put him off- he is a legend in his own lunchtime after all.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

WYM comes back to life...

So Eurovision season is well upon us again,and as usual I've chosen to ignore the more in-your-face national finals in favour of the lower budget,lower key ones.Well that's a bit of an overstatement really,I've not followed much at all this NF season,but I certainly got into the Georgian one when I heard the songs a few weeks ago.Georgia of course started their Eurovision legacy back in 2007 with the brilliant My Story/Visionary Dream by Sopho Khalvashi.Then followed a few massive cockups and then a return to form last year with Sofia's impressively mobile performance of shine.With this unpredictability,I was a bit worried that it might be time for another crap year from the Caucasion nation.

Thankfully I needn't have been worried.They chose One More Day by Eldrine on Saturday night,which was probably the best and most obvious choice given the rock fad of the last few years.This is good rock though,with the USP of a good female singer.It's got a polished sound,a wailing chorus and some rap that doesn't sound embarassing.I've got a good feeling about this one,and hope to see them at the Esprit for the jury final on May 13th.

I'm still a bit sad that my favourite didn't win,although I didn't expect him to.Temo Sajaia's Soldier Song was apparently the favourite of a few ESC fansites,which surprises me a bit,as the song is a bit on the cheesy side.I still love it though,and I love Temo's voice and I'm not sure anything will beat it as my favourite song of this year's Eurovision season.