Tuesday, 24 May 2011

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.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I wish I was stronger,I wish there was someone else to blame

One of my biggest sucesses in recent years is getting my parents to watch Eurovision a bit more seriously,particularly my mum who before 2007 pretty much never watched it.Anyway this year my dad was especially impressed with Romania's song and now he has Ovi's album.It's called This Gig Almost Got Me Killed,and though it's a bit 90s in parts,it's actually a pretty good album.My favourite song from it (apart from Playing With Fire of course) is Reason,and I just found this lovely live version of it from an NRK TV show.

Soundtrack of eternity,unendliche Sinfonie

Ooh I am liking this...

Not sure how long it will stay on youtube given the situation these days,so enjoy it while you can.This is the title track from Polarkreis' fourth album which will be out on 19th November apparently.It's not radically different from The Colour of Snow album (always a good thing),and although it's not as immediately catchy as Allein Allein or as dreamy as some,well MOST, of the other tracks on the album,I like it very much and look forward to hearing what else they've been up to in the last 2 years.Also loving the retro style video.Sehr cool.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Livin la vida russkiy

World's Most Beautiful Man Aleksei Vorobyov has gone all Ricky Martin on us.In musical terms that is.

No idea what Bam Bam is about,but to be honest he could be singing about wicker conservatory furniture for all I care.It's just a nice catchy tune with a...charming video.Lyosha isn't the squeaky clean perfect Russian boy he was in New Russian Kalinka anymore.No,he's got chavvy friends,gets off with girls in nightclub toilets and he breaks things.He'd fit in so well in Gillingham,I want to organise a visa for him.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Potential ESC entrants for Liechtenstein Part 1: Rääs

Yesterday I wondered aloud on this blog about the existence of the Liechtenstein music industry.Well it turns out there is one after all,and rather interesting it is too from what I've seen so far.So welcome to the first in a (probably very short) series of Potential ESC entrants for Liechtenstein.

Meet Rääs.

(from their website www.mundart.li)

How very reminiscent of Revolverheld's latest album cover (released a year after the picture of Rääs was taken).Who's copying who I wonder? :)

Anyway,Rääs are interesting because not only do they sing in German,they sing in the Liechtenstein dialect of German,which has more umlaut a's than you can shake a stick at.This alone would make them great candidates for ESC next year- there's not nearly enough dialects in the contest.

This is Bis du sälb (something like Be Yourself),and from what I can glean from the lyrics it's just about being responsible for sorting out your own problems.It contains good drums.

I take it that video is where the picture I posted comes from.Unless they were two separate occasions and there's just a lot more paint-flinging done in the Germanic countries than I ever realised.

Rock of course never does well at Eurovision,unless you're Turkish,in which case any old tat you send does well.So we wouldn't want Rääs to send something like that and end up doing a San Marino and bombing in their debut year.

So how about a good old ballad?

It's the paint again! Good Lord... Anyway,I think that song is lovely.But ballads are divisive at Eurovision.Maybe we want something a bit more mad?

Now I understand most of the words to this one.Balzers is the village in Liechtenstein where Rääs come from,and they're saying that they've been all round the world,but there's only one place they want to be.That being Balzers of course.This has Eurovision written all over it surely? It's a bit Ovo je Balkan but without the weird subplot about kissing,it's a better tune than Mama Corsica (a song that was also in a dialect AND finished 4th in 1993),and it isn't bland ethnopop like Hohrehronie.Sadly though,it is 3 years old so they wouldn't be able to use it next year.Maybe they can quickly knock one up about how great a capital city Vaduz is though and cobble together a Zauvijek Volim Te type video with lots of gratuitous shots of castles and flags waving in the breeze.

Come on 1FLTV,let me be your Eurovision consultant!