Hello everyone! I promised I'd keep writing on my resurrected blog, because I've missed it, and I realize that people do actually read it and find it interesting. (Especially thanks to the author of (Post)Soviet Popular Music. Thanks to all my readers, and I hope to share my blog with an even wider audience in the future--but I know that it won't happen unless I spend more time updating it. So here goes, here's the longest post I've written in a while. It is a little random, but based on what I am listening to at the moment. Hope it doesn't disappoint. =)
All right, I will admit it--I do listen to Filipp Kirkorov. And I like a lot of his songs. Sure, he's easy to make fun of, and he probably has as many "haters" as he has fans in Russia and the surrounding countries. Living in a Russian neighborhood, I've experienced this--just after the "press conference" scandal several years back, in which he reacted, let's say, immaturely to a female journalist's questions. Well, she asked a question that I would like to know the answer to--why does Kirkorov release so many remakes? We know that he doesn't write his own music or lyrics, so it's easy to say he isn't really a musician--until you see one of his shows. Then, you realize that he is an Entertainer, a Performance Artist, whose whole life--from his flamboyant fashion sense to his turbulent marriage to Alla Pugacheva--is all about putting on a show. And that's the one thing that he does perfectly. So his music isn't 100% original, and it isn't as innovative as that of many of the other Russian bands that I write about, (for example, Leningrad, Lyubeh and Chicherina).
From talking to people who love Russian music and culture as much as I do, I've concluded that a lot of people dislike Kirkorov--or at least find him hard to take--because they think he takes himself seriously. And if you just view his music as funny, shmaltzy, happy but not serious, it will be a lot easier to like. (For me, that is. Of course it;s a matter of personal taste=])
I write this as I listen to a playlist I compiled of random Kirkorov songs, some old, some new.
Several are from the album "Ты, ты, ты..." (released in 1998). Listen at the link below, and you will probably notice that one of the highlights of the album, the upbeat and playful "Ирочки," sounds very similar musically to "Таганка" and has the same showy musicality as "Люстры старинного зала."
But still, it's fun background music if you're, say, writing a blog post. And Kirkorov's new singles are also fun, in a different way, but with the same emotion and theatrical quality that is so characteristic of Kirkorov. One funny, upbeat song that I recommend is "Gigolo," which can be downloaded on zaycev.net.
All of this writing about Filipp Kirkorov brings me to discuss his father, the well-known Bulgarian singer Bedros Kirkorov (well, he was well-known in the 1960s and 70s, when his career reached a peak. His songs are much different from his son's; and not just because there are so few high-quality versions of Bedros's recordings available on the internet. The subject matter and collaborations are different, too. Filipp collaborates with rising stars like Zhasmin and the band in the picture below Fresh Art, and a collaboration with girl group Blestyashi is rumored to be in the works (when interviewed, Kirkorov said that he hoped this would revive his career, much as Valery Meladze's acclaimed collaboration with VIA Gra did.)
However, the older Kirkorov collaborated with the estrada luminaries of his time, and I was pleased to come across an mp3 of Bedros Kirkorov and the legendary Georgian singer Tamriko (Tamara) Gverdtsiteli singing the well-known Georgian song, "Suliko." It's recorded from a live performance, so the quality is not great, but it is definitely worth listening to if you are interested in older Soviet or Georgian music.
This is Tamara, in case you're wondering.
and here is a picture of Bedros Kirkorov from http://www.tden.ru/f/articles/014438/illu_1.jpg
I think Filipp takes after his mother, but he has his father's eyes =))
....And another song I feel like blogging about tonight connects very tenuously to Kirkorov...actually it doesn't connect. It is Georgian, like "Suliko," so I thought of it. It's by two of the most famous rap artists in Georgia--Shavi Princi and Babe. You can listen and download on music.inet.ge, the internet's largest collection of Georgian music.
It's a fun song, in a different way than Kirkorov's are fun. It is a party song, it has a hip-hop beat that you hear a lot lately in Russian pop music. But it's still fully Georgian, in a non traditional way. For more information on the emerging Georgian hip hop scene, check out the eurasianet article I linked to below:
In the picture above, Shavi Princi (center with brown coat), whose name means Black Prince in Georgian, and Babe (center with white coat), whose real name is Mari Topuria, pose with the students from their Tbilisi hip-hop dance class. The two, who are also rap artists and self-taught dancers, met in a dance studio and recently recorded a song together. (picture coutesy of Sophia Mizante for EurasiaNet)
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share links with me!