Prog River Records is releasing some very obscure, but absolutely crucial, progressive rock gems from all over the world. This particular release comes to us from Belarus, where the group, the legendary Pesniary, melded folk-rock with prog-rock weirdness and a tinge of psychedelic rock, sounding something like early Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention at times.
Their popularity was so strong in the former Soviet Union that they were granted a shot at touring in the United States in 1976, proving to audiences that Soviet Rock was something to take seriously.
The lyrics are based on the works of Russian and Belarusian poets, including Yanka Kupala. This is quite a charming work.
It looks like we’ve found an obscure little beastie upon our return. Khurmo Shirinova was a rather attractive singer from the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan who plied her trade and reached fame during the 1980s.
Sounds of Asia have done the world a fine service by reissuing this strangely charming Soviet pop gem.
Thank my friend Predrag for this slice of Soviet New Wave.
Ian Nagoski of Canary Records has released yet another amazing artifact of turn-of-the-century Armenian music. This was the label’s last release of 2018. Here’s hoping that 2019 will see a continuation the release of such archival treasures.
Here’s a bit of light pop music from Latvia made for a relaxing day. The artists, Edgars Zveja and Valentīna Butāne, both came from conservatory backgrounds in what was then the Latvian S.S.R.
The Medeo Ensemble were a jazz-fusion band out of Almaty, Kazakhstan (then a part of the USSR). As far as I can tell, this is the only album they ever released, but it holds up nicely.
There isn’t a lot of information on wild psych music coming out of places like Tajikistan, but this isn’t a bad slice of Central Asian arabesque disco-prog, courtesy of Makhfirat Hamroqulova & Gulshan. Hamroqulova is not only a famous singer in the country, but an actress of note as well.
There’s something incredibly cheesy about this track, but it has the same charm that ‘Popcorn’ did in its heyday. As usual with these artists, there’s nothing I can find in English on Boris Tihomirov. Any information about him, of course, would be wonderful.
Another Soviet ethno-jazz project of high quality. Boomerang hailed from Kazakhstan, and this particular album is considered their rarest.
I really owe all of my passion for Eastern European/Soviet Improvisational and Experimental music to one man: Leo Feigin of Leo Records. It was through his introduction, via his catalog and a few letters back and forth, that I was introduced to such artists as Vyacheslav Ganelin (the Ganelin Trio’s leader, now based in Israel), Sergei Belichenko and Roman Stolyar, a friend to this day.
Here is the Ganelin Trio near the peak of their improvisational powers. Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Chekasin join in.