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Islands and Kingdoms: Ex-Patriots, Ritmika, 5Loops, and Cheese People
Four recordings from Russian and Estonian bands consider the relationship of language to their location. Does it matter whether one sings in a native tongue? If not, then why choose English?
Sunshine from Afar: Arctic Riddim and the Podsnezhnik Festival
St. Petersburg's Podsnezhnik Festival is about to take place, interweaving the heritage of Slavic folk with distant reggae. Those two traditions come together for important, enduring reasons.
Inclusion: Georg Korg, Komba Bakkh, Arrock cherez Okean, and Kosh
New hip-hop, rap, and reggae publications show a striking difference from US mainstream enterprise. Instead of any proud connection to a district or zip code, spiritual emphases predominate.
The Ongoing Search for Community: Dapdown, AY, Ambidextr, and U:mi
The issues of friendship, fraternity, and civic promise inform a series of new hip-hop instrumentals. These recordings, produced at opposite ends of Russia, wonder whether tough material existence leaves any room for amity.
The Art of Deconstruction: Moa Pillar, Beatowski Beats, and Orlando15
Moa Pillar has just released a remix of equally new material from Modul. His reasons for doing so form an interesting parallel with other beatmakers this month - both from Russia and Latvia
From a Northern Venice to Tank City: Sasha Almazova, SunMan24, and OU74
Sasha Almazova, singer with Non Cadenza, has released a new jazz/hip-hop single. Those same traditions, however, change somewhat if we follow them to other, less elegant locales
Alinah Sipps: Jazzy Hip-Hop from the Cafes of a "Provincial Town"
Subwise Records is an independent netlabel, based in St Petersburg, specializing in electronica from new or little-known artists in northern Russia. The label's various venues online usually contain a small paragraph in their native tongue, sketching these endeavors for the uninitiated. Turned i...
Negruzoviki: "They're Not Smiling"
Negruzoviki is an offshoot of Ukrainian funk-rockers I drug moi gruzovik.  The latter band's name is a broken phrase that translates roughly as "...And my friend Truck."  The back story here involves a long and fairly uninteresting discussion of nicknames, so we'll spare you the tedium. In...
Fish Meeting: "Roundabout Dances"
Fish Meeting are known in Russian as "Vstrecha ryby"; their chosen translation is a little odd, but so be it. They were formed in the city of Cheliabinsk (below) in 2004 and have just released a debut album, "Tantsy okolo" (Roundabout Dances). Initially the ensemble - founded by Ivan Kotikhin -...
Mara: "Unplugged"
Mara is frontwoman for a fivesome put together by producer Dmitrii Groisman in 2000. Prior to being noticed and/or signed, Mara had tried her luck in various talent competitions and small-scale jazz outfits. Groisman offered a different, loftier trajectory. Balancing her university education wit...
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