These four new releases from Russia and Ukraine all lean towards a validation of smallness. There are various reasons not to be loud, arrogant, and self-assured. Local history is one of them.
One of the more enduring assumptions or stereotypes regarding Slavic songwriting would be that of sadness, if not misery. When melancholy does indeed make an appearance, what form does it take?
The Estonian label Ounaviks continues to produce a wide and wonderful range of folk reinterpretations for a new generation. From within that antique heritage comes a reconsidered worldview.
Moscow's Fancy Music encourages various trajectories: rock, jazz, electronic, and "contemporary." Some representatives of that final rubric establish a common worldview - from Siberia to New York.
On October 27, the Big Samhain festival will take place in Saint Petersburg. It gathers a wide range of folk traditions from Russia, Scotland, Ireland, and France - to name but four windswept lands.
The Minsk netlabel "Ezhevika" (Blackberry) helps to confound any stereotypes about Belarusian electronica. There are no connections to civic or political issues. Instead we find a creative maximalism.
The "Put' k Sebe" folk festival is held in Russia's Kaluga region each autumn. Some of the performers from this year's lineup suggest how ancient practice might correct various failings within modernity.
Some gentle, introspective works from industrial Ukraine and Kazan place high value on the importance of aimless, purposeless composition. Gradually, however, a fixed worldview takes shape.
The Sketis organization continues to champion а crisscrossing of folk traditions. Not only is canonical practice forced to incorporate novelty; peripheral locations are also paid major attention.
Four recordings from three Russian cities show increasing concern about the promise of adulthood. Greater hope emerges from literature, retrospection, and even thoughts of "prenatal" oceanic life.