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.
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.
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.
Some new recordings and live performances raise a couple of related issues. To whom does "Russian folk" belong and - once that dilemma is clarified - how we talk of similar couplings, such as "Russian soul"?
The passage of time leaves its mark on the work of many performers, especially during the transition from youth to adulthood. These recordings try to hold keep those changes at bay.
As some new electronic releases focus on the passage of youth, various ideals appear both fleeting and ineffable. They are, say these performers, better captured visually than verbally.
Unrelated materials from Kiev, Donetsk, Moscow, and St. Petersburg offer an insight into some social failings. Four projects all endorse the benefits of solitude, far from social crudity.
A handful of new releases speak of an inherent "romance." Such phrasing may hardly be novel, but the reasons for which both private and public yearning stubbornly endure are very locally specific.
A sense of time's passage hangs over four releases from Russia and Lithuania this week. Lessons learned in the past make chutzpah and cockiness very unlikely. A certain wisdom takes their place.