Thursday, December 4, 2008

BG publishes today an e-interview with Boris Grebentschikov , the most insightful and enlightened person of anybody whose music is popular in Russia today. It's really too bad that his poetry is hardly translatable and his music, while being very good quality singer-songwriter music, isn't self-sufficient.
Perestroika has ushered in a new era of opportunity for rock musicians; several of the more prominent ones got breaks in the West. BG's came from Dave Stewart (ofEurythmics fame). Stewart-produced "Radio Silence" was released in 1989, featuring covers of Alexander Vertinsky's "China" amid songs by BG, including a song written to Sir Thomas Malory's "Death of King Arthur". Annie LennoxBilly MacKenzie and Chrissie Hynde helped out, as did several of BG's bandmates from Aquarium.
The name of the album proved self-ironic in the extreme as it hasn't made so much as a dent in the charts. Part of the failure can be attributed to the fact that unlike the Anglo-American rock-n-roll culture, the Russian song tradition heavily emphasizes lyrical complexity over hooks or drive, which reinforces the not entirely fair comparisons between BG and Dylan. (from here) [..In the end, BG was disillusioned about the possibility of exporting Russian songwriting tradition to the West..]
In other words, if you're looking for a reason to pick up or improve your Russian, BG is a pretty good reason,  probably one of the best among other phenomena of contemporary Russian culture.

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