Some believe Music is 'idle entertainment'. Less important than weighty matters such as arms agreements, export levels, trade deficits, diplomatic relations, and so forth and so on. Recently the "US-Russia Relationship", as they say, has gone down, because a US politician passed a law banning certain Russian leaders from traveling, while Russia responded by banning US adoptions of Russian Children. I don't know who "they" are but the "US-Russia Relationship" they refer to appears to be between politicians and, honestly, when have they ever gotten along? Meanwhile, in the world of Music, and those who find love inside of it, things are blossoming and blooming. On sites like last.fm, Russian music is incredibly popular with people from all over the world, and vice versa. You can find Cyrillic класс!!!! mixed in with "Awesome, beautiful" in all of the comment sections. People who love Thrash Metal are as likely to have clicked 'thumbs up' on Slayer as they might on "Traktor Bowling", a Ukranian band whose song "Ni Shagu Nazad" might not have quite the same cultural attachments to an America kid, but, who, in the end, is more interested in the fact that the sound is dynamic, coursing, pouring through the speakers while the singer rides the massive wave of guitar noise like some kind of surfing operatic performer. The Russian Bards, the old ones, from the mid century named the "Twentieth", have found new fans too. The ex Soviet child Regina Spektor, has, in fact, after many many years in New York City, and becoming a Big Star with her face selling Ipads in Target Superstores in the United States, visited her Home Country of Russia, and belying her breif comment to American TV host Stephen Colbert's character Stephen Colbert, that she loves Russian Bards, has recorded two songs of one of the most famous, Булат Окуджава Bulat Okudzhava In light of this, the love people feel for the work of Regina Spektor, the love that Russian people feel for music from America and vice versa, it is hard to see how the anger and anguish of the old, dying generation will ever last. How can anything these old talking heads on the television news program have to say ever amount to anything in the imagination of the young people of the new generation, when stacked against the Window on the Universe that is music? How can any single politician have anything to say that has more meaning that the fact that a hip-hop artist is using a piano riff from Arlina Orlova? What do these young people care about the cold war, about the bitter hearts of old men? You might as well tell Romeo to stop loving Juliet.. . . No, US Russian relations are better than ever. If you live in the world of Music. And of course the reader can decide which world is more "real". The world of music or the world of politicians.
In RT there is an entire section about the transition from "Soviet Times" to, well, "Post Soviet Times". Nadezhda Kevorkova has written several of these articles, specifically Mentality, on the Existence of Homo Sovieticus. A fascinating snippet
"revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky expressed the charm of the new Soviet image:I could not help but laugh. I have wanted to learn Russian because of Anna Akhmatova, ( Анна Ахматова ) and I am not alone. I heard of a woman who learned Russian specifically to translate Akhmatova and all of her poems to English. I wonder what the Great Heroes of the Revolution would think about this? That poetry can bridge gaps that politics never could... That the woman they kept in a box for years, whose husband they killed and son they imprisoned... the "nun whore" thrown into their ash heap of history, a bronze statue with pigeons shitting all over it, is beloved throughout the world, while their names are forgotten and their "work", for which they lived and died, and sacrificed their own souls, lies empty and abandoned rotting like Ozymandias. It only took Seven Lines for me to fall in love...
“Even if I were a Negro of old age,
Still, without idling,
I´d learn Russian just because
Lenin spoke it.”"
"He loved three thingsThere is a wonderful collection of translations of these Seven Lines reprinted on the blog of Janet Skeslien Charles who apparently used the poem in a Novel about Odessa. Odessa. Home of war and violence and intrigue and the Black Sea for thousands of years, but what I remember most about Odessa is that in the film "Everything Is Illuminated", the Old Man says that "Odessa is the perfect place to fall in love and start a family." It reminds of something I read in a collection of "Russian Life" magazine. The article is "Siege", the author is Polina Fomina.
Evensong, white peacocks
And old maps of America.
He hated crying children,
He hated raspberry jam with tea
And womanish hysteria.
. . . and I was his wife."
"Humans can do anything. If they are without food, heat, and light, they will drink spirits and eat grass. They will listen to the radio and tell jokes. The reason is simple: humans love life, even if it means enduring 900 days of horror."I do not know if there is a word for this sentiment. There is a film by Zhang Yimou called "To Live", and one might say the same feeling is expressed there. That somehow the 'human', survives multitudes of horrors, even ones created by itself... perhaps especially ones created by itself. And by the way. Who is Judith Hemschemeyer?