A little context. It had been years since I bothered to perform at one of Motya’s parties. Life got in the way I suppose, but it also felt like it just wasn’t my crowd. Almost everyone at these parties is Russian or Ukrainian born and they all speak fluent English, but I somehow got the feeling there was a screen between my music and the audience that had something to do with language.
So I had a crazy idea. Take a couple well-known Russian rock songs by a band named Аквариум (Aquarium) and learn to sing them in Russian. It took a few months of practice and a lot of help from my collaborator on guitar, a Russian guy named Lyosha who I’d enjoyed playing with in the past. I figured maybe they’d pay a little closer attention if I sang in their mother tongue. Little did I know how much fun I’d have and how effective it could be. We played both Russian songs first and the audience was actually singing along with me. It was a thrill. After a short break I took on the real challenge. An original song I’d written in English translated into Russian, and an old Jupiter Sheep classic that I’d never imagined I would have the nerve to try singing myself.
I forgot to turn on the video for the first song, but I heard somebody else got it and will send it to me. The second song was probably the best. Небо Становится Ближе (The Sky is Getting Closer), a very poetic and philosophical song rooted in the subversive, pre-revolutionary time it was written. Next thing I’d like to try is to re-write it in an English idiom, because it’s musically a great song. I’ll post it soon.
BTW – that unusual sound you might hear on the tracks is a bowed saw. I had no idea it would be there. A guy named Igor just pulled one out and started jamming with us. Cool.
Here’s the other one (probably best performance all around):