Club Contact

The new MP3 blog from London's club Contact. The idea is to allow people to hear new music they wouldn't have otherwise found but, if anyone has any copyright issues with a particular song, i'll take the link down. Songs are only available for a limited amount of time.

Friday, September 30, 2005

I can just imagine Ivan "Tatu" Shapovalov's ears pricking up when the storm over Oskar / Shamil's Jihad song broke. On the whole, not a lot phases Russia, a couple of girls kissing on stage is hardly going to shake it to its core. It's not a Richard And Judy kind of country. One of the few raw nerves however, is terrorism - specifically terrorism from the Caucuses. For years, the "black widows" of dead Chechen guerrillas have been strapping themselves with explosives and taking the war to civilians at rock concerts and on metro trains. I can't imagine Ivan has ever laid claim to having good taste but his next high-profile project might have been pushing the boundaries a little too far for even some of his most ardent defenders.

Dressed in black, veiled and surrounded by armed men in balaclavas N.A.T.O taking to the stage to a projected backdrop of Iraq / Chechen war footage would have drawn international attention even if her debut concert hadn't been originally penciled in for September 11th 2004. Naturally, she's as Chechen as Yulia Volkova's a lesbian but, never one to let technicalities get in the way of a good story, Shapovalov has her pretending she's a shakhid-in-waiting. Although i've absolutely no doubt there was method behind the madness of Tatu (i regard them as one of the most politically important European groups in decades), it's slightly more difficult to interpret their manager's latest efforts as anything other than shock-mongering. Our man says "NATO is merely a female singer with a headscarf and a veil. If our society is afraid of a woman in a black headscarf, that means only one thing: the society is sick and needs to seek treatment" but it might be fair to say it would have been easier to believe him had her Spetsnaz-a-like bodyguards not ended the concert by opening fire on the audience with paintball pellets. Incidentally, if Ivan's reading, we'd crawl over broken glass to get her at Contact.

Believe it or not, there's music to accompany the circus and it's really rather spectacular. It's largely in Chechen and her native Georgian (although most accounts have her as born and raised in Moscow). I was once informed, i don't know how reliably, that her most famous song Chorchovon is an update of a Tajik folk tale about four brothers lost in the mountains. It's from the Tatu V Podnebesnaya CD, incongruously placed next to a breathtakingly pretty song by Elena Katina about bunny rabbits and squirrels.

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