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.
Four melancholy releases all find solace by imagining a grander, quieter realm. Private anxieties fade away. The same consoling process is evident in new folk recordings, born of a parallel experience.
Some new publications reflect a struggle with institutionalized hassles: the academy, journalistic dispproval, issues of copyright, and "grown-up" cynicism. An alternative is needed.
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.
An overview of five acclaimed Slavic rap projects shows a decreasing similarity with Western fashion. Many aspects of Western rap are overshadowed by a unique and very local philosophy.
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.
"The Baltic Scene" has just published an LP bringing together producers from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The result does much to emphasize both individual modesty and collective hope.
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 "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.