03 February 2011

Ukrainian Avant Garde

I'm sorry there wasn't a post yesterday.  I was at a friend's during the famous "Blizzard 2011", which plays up the significance of the weather a little too much.  It was cool and a bit intense, but nothing to tell the grandkids about in front of a fire.  To make up for the loss of a music post, I'm extending Music Week to Saturday.

Next week's theme is Design Week!  It's going to be about CEE design.  I need to get better about announcing these at the beginning of the week.

Mariana Sadovska (borderlandmusic.de)
Today's post is about Ukrainian avant garde music.  Naturally, I know nothing about it but the wonders of search engines has pulled up some cool results.  The first ones to come up were Mariana Sadovska and Roman Turvosky

I love this photo of Mariana because her necklace is so fantastic.  Her website is in the caption and it has four of her songs available for listening; there is also this unofficial website which has great information on her.  I found this YouTube playlist for anyone who is interested in hearing more of her music.  Interestingly, she lives in Cologne, Germany (hence the .de domain) and not in Ukraine.  She's a fascinating musician because she has conducted numerous ethnomusicology expeditions (be still, my anthropological heart!) to collect traditional music.  She takes these songs and transforms them into modern sounds.  Her main interest is bridging the past and present and in both directions.  If you listen to the tracks, they are inherently folkloric, but she also uses unique sounds and instruments (most notably, her vocal manipulation).  Her music is not specifically Ukrainian, but she put out an album entitled "Songs I Learned in Ukraine", which you can download in Real format in the "Discography" section of the unofficial website.  Check out the websites and hear some of her music!

Roman Turvosky (polyhimnion.org)
The next artist is Roman Turovsky-Savchuck.  He is a painter and a lutenist-composer, which is a combination I approve of.  He has two websites, the first being his paintings and the second his music.  He goes by the pseudonym "Sautscheck", which is a German transliteration of his last name.  He even has a MySpace page (as well as Facebook and LiveJournal), which I think is pretty amazing considering he plays Baroque music on a torban.  You can listen to some tracks there, but you will also notice that he describes his music as "classical/ folk/ minimalist".  His music didn't seem as avant garde and was labeled historicist on Wiki, but I thought he would be cool to include because the torban, as it turns out, is a Ukrainian instrument!  I didn't know they had a claim to any particular instrument, but it's believable especially after a trip to a musical instruments museum.  [Have you seen the scads of instruments that have faded out of use?  It's tragic, really.]  I've listened to a few songs and I like the melancholy sound of his songs.  I also glanced at his paintings and my favorite was his self portrait on the biography page.  You should check out his many web pages because he has some very interesting work.