Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Voyage of Discovery--Liubeh

....Nikolay Rastorguyev turns 50 on February 21. So this post goes out to him.

For a little more than a year, I have been obsessed with Liubeh. Sure, I've always known about them; I've always been able to recognize their soft-rock songs like "Berozi" and "Poyut Gitara." But I only started "discovering" this band--for me, that means getting into them in a big way, buying all of their albums, and blogging about them--one night in Paris in December 2005. I was at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter and the guy one table behind me looked oddly familiar--he was Nikolay Rastorguyev, lead vocalist of Liubeh! That wasn't my first chance encounter (ie, non-concert meeting) with a Russian celebrity--I saw Andrey Danilko (Verka Serduchka, minus the makeup and drag outfits) at a grocery in London, Philip Kirkorov and his entourage (including Anastasia Stotskaya) at a Tomy Roma's joint near L.A., the two guys from Ruki Vverh at a pizza place in Hollywood (that was while they were on their 10 Let tour), Dima Bilan at a department store in London, and Soso Pavliashvili at the beach near Los Angeles.

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Anyway, sorry for going off on that tangent--after I saw Nikolay, I became obsessed with the band. I am in awe of Igor Matvienko's production and songwriting talent, and I LOVE the song "Davai Za." In its portrayal of the human cost of war--telling the story of a young soldier's life cut short as his friends try to comfort him--it is depressing, moving, affecting, particularly with all the war and unrest in our world today. It shows that patriotic war does not always have to be glamorized...the line about "new wars replacing the old," actually, the whole stanza, really haunts me.

In an old album, I found a picture
Grandpa, what a man, commander of Red Army
Signed "For son to remember, Berlin 1945"
Passed century flashbacks
The smell of unmawed grass in the dawn,
Moans of scorched earth from bombardements
Pair of old soldier's boots
New wars will replace the old.

Download the mp3 here.

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The entire "Davay Za" Album, released in 2002, is my second favorite ("Kombat," from 1996, has to be my ultimate favorite--tied with the "Brat" soundtrack--of all Russian rock music.) The highlights of the 11-track "Davay Za," in my opinion, are "Berozi" (the opening track--stellar vocals and lyrics, which the band is famous for) and "Okhota." You can buy or stream the album (Windows Media is what I use) here.

Required Viewing:

The band's official website.

Russmus's "About the Band" summary includes a complete discography, a brief description, selected videos, mp3 downloads, lyrics (thank you!) and guitar tabs.


esn said...

You're absolutely right - I'd even say that Lubeh is my favourite band. What I love is how they rarely seem to settle on a style and instead try a variety of different ones, but making them their own each time. The album "Davay za..." is a perfect example of this, and has a great collection of songs. I have a hard time picking favourite songs because I love almost every song on their CDs.

In their latest (I think) CD "Rasseya", they cover a huge variety of subject matter, singing about some quite obscure parts of Russian history (the anarchist Makhno, for example). Unlike the majority of Western music, lyrics are extremely important - their songs are based on actual poetry. At the same time, the music is also fabulous, and if you don't understand everything the first time you can just enjoy it on that level.

I'm a Russian living in Canada, by the way.

DevushkaAvariya/Девушка Авария said...

yes, exactly! The reason I love Lubeh is precisely that--their music is something you actually LISTEN to, not just something you hear playing in the background. I listen to pop for fun sometimes, but I know that the lyrics are just...repetitive, whereas Lubeh's are complex and unique.

I have heard a few songs from "Rasseya" and enjoyed them--I want to buy the album next time I'm at Melodiya. (I live near a Russian neighborhood in California). Thanks for the feedback!

DevushkaAvariya/Девушка Авария said...

and esn: just out of curiosity, as a member of the Russian diaspora, have you ever attended/heard of any lubeh shows in canada or the US? Because I would LOVE to see them live; just wondering if they've been on tour here before.