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.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Hello

Sorry for the lack of updates, i've been in the beautiful city of Kyiv celebrating fifteen years of independence from Russia. I brought back about eighty albums so if you don't like Ukrainian / Russian pop, you may want to look away for the next few months. The centrepiece of the festivities was a concert in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) showcasing some of Ukraine's finest pop talent, including the almighty Ruslana Lyzhychko.

With power neatly divided up between rival factions of oligarchs and Russia apparently determined not to relax its hold over the "near abroad" you could be forgiven for thinking that a celebration of fifteen years of democracy might be as futile an exercise as that of the Liverpool fans in town for the game against Maccabi Haifa handing out leaflets to bemused Ukrainians telling them not to buy The Sun newspaper. Anything as carefully stage managed as the Orange Revolution™ was bound to end in disappointment and few have emerged from the farcical aftermath with their reputations intact. President Viktor Yushchenko has stumbled from one crisis to another, reinforcing the belief that his pre-election facial disfigurement had more to do with the long-term effects of alcoholism than secret Soviet-style poison plots. Viktor Yanukovych, the man credited with stealing power through massive voting fraud has been quietly installed as Prime Minister and the only signs of the existence of the photogenic self-styled folk heroine Yulia Timoshenko, who legend has it went from selling bootleg porn tapes out of the back of a van to being one of the richest women in the word with an estimated personal fortune well in excess of $10bn over the course of the 1990s, comes with the handful of diehard nationalists selling t-shirts from market stalls in the Maidan (the Tina Karol ones shift faster).

Under the circumstances, if Ruslana didn't exist, it would probably be necessary to invent her. Untainted by political corruption, naturally Ukrainian-speaking, internationally recognised and able to effortlessly combine modernity with respect for the agrarian, semi-pagan traditions that still hold sway in much of the country, she makes the perfect figurehead for the nationalist movement. Timoshenko may fancy herself as a Hohol Joan of Arc but it's Ruslana that embodies the spirit of the revolution better than anyone else.

Emerging in a hail of Hutsul drumming, and immediately launching into a bilingual Diki Tantsi / Wild Dances, it's clear that even if you stripped away all of the external cultural significance she'd still be one of the era's truly great pop stars. She's energetic, physically powerful and as strong vocally in the flesh as she is on record. She also has the ability to drop lines as Carpathians-fabulous as "i'm not going to cry / i stay in the woods / when my heart is breaking / i dance with the wolves" without them sounding as daft as they look on paper.

Most of the Diki Tantsi album got an airing, interspersed with patriotic speeches that saw her almost overcome with emotion, exhortations for the crowd to chant "U-KRA-I-NA!" and an inevitable call-and-response session of "hey!" "hey! hey!". Kolomyika had the thousands packed in to the square bouncing to such a degree that it raised fears we were all going to plunge into the newly built (and rather swish) shopping mall underneath -which would be ironic given the manner in which rampant capitalism has undermined the foundations of the independence it's named after.

The new songs sounded wonderful too. Sadly she didn't bring her flamethrower with her for the "SHOUT FIRE!" bits in Heart On Fire (as anyone who saw the interval performance at Eurovision 2005 can attest, it's the coolest fucking thing ever) but the tune itself is terrific. Perhaps even better is the absolutely insane recent single Dika Energiya, which comes with an optional fantasy novel, and saw her smothered by bat-winged backing dancers.

Ruslana - Dika Energiya

4 Comments:

  • At 3:09 pm, Blogger Adrian said…

    Excellent review. I have yet to see Ruslana in concert, but I imagine it to be "WILD!"

     
  • At 3:53 pm, Blogger ShariVari said…

    It was "WILD!" indeed. I also saw Ani Lorak, Alena Vinnitskaya (ex-V.I.A Gra) and lots of other rather exciting people.

     
  • At 1:43 pm, Blogger Adrian said…

    Ruslana also manages to make properly ridiculous lyrics like "nanananananana" "la la la la la" and "dini dijna dini dijna" sound important.

     
  • At 6:38 pm, Blogger francelagale said…

    wow !! she s so fantastic .
    downloaded lots of tracks from her and they are all brilliant !! thank you !

     

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