Using the ecosphere, Orthodox Christianity, an isolated address, and other reference points, these musicians suggest there's much to be gained from abandoning the chutzpah of Moscow life.
Two bands from Minsk and two from St. Petersburg give collective thought to issues of self-determination. In all four cases, there's an awareness that freedom and fate are tightly bound.
Against the backdrop of a happy, productive hip-hop community in Latvia, some new publications by Russian artists take a dark view of group membership. Kindness and collaboration are both absent.
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.
The Schilling Music Festival in Estonia likes to advertise itself in terms of a quiet retreat from showbiz. Nonetheless, several of the local bands embody a spirit of professional persistence.
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.
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.
Three female vocalists and an all-male outfit from Minsk consider the ideal environment for lyric creativity. Two of these projects find liberty in solitude; the other two draw upon folklore in order to counter reality.
For all the musical inspiration that Russian rap takes from a US heritage, things are very different when it comes to lyrics. We offer three examples of new recordings from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The ensembles Leningrad and Vintazh represent two ends of mainstream pop and its promise of liberty. The former is overtly sexual and designed for visual display; the latter is grounded in freedom of verbal expression - and less hopeful.