Unless, that is, they want to grow up to be Ленинградская Ковбои!
That would be Leningrad Cowboys, tovaritsch.
It all began when I saw this video of Sweet Home Alabama posted on Joan's wonderful journal. What she finds funny, I find funny, just as I always find her stories, comments and photos well worth looking at. That's a big hint that you should go there if you don't already. And go there regularly.
Okay, so I watched, and was initially amused by the garish striped suits, unicorn hairdos, long pointed shoes and Spaceman Spiff sunglasses.
But when I watched a second time, I realized there was some serious musicianship going on along with the outlandish stagecraft. These guys are good. They know what they're doing, and do it well.
One has to wonder how a Finnish band with a Russian name managed to get the Red Army Choir to join in. Those guys are heavyweights, Jim. They've made more than their share of recordings and, if I recall, appearances on PBS back in the old Soviet Union days. By and large, they do the traditional stuff and are pretty formal.
The Choir members are not just singers, but instrumentalists as well.
So why were they rocking out -- and clearly enjoying it -- here? I dunno. Money, I suppose, but also surely the "serious" musician's normal urge to cut loose a bit. And some, as seen on the videos, were cutting loose quite a bit.
It's a remarkable combination: pretty decent rock musicians with those performing Russkies in their formal uniforms. Standard guitars, drums, bass and a Russian orchestra with balalaikas, accordions, brass and acoustic guitars.
Think Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention meet the U.S. Navy Band, with the Marines and Air Force musicians thrown in.
A few more must-see/must-hear examples: Delilah and Happy Together.
But my favorites were the "classics." The Cowboys'/Red Army Choir's treatment of the old Russian song Kalinka is downright inspired.
The high point, at least for me, is Those Were the Days, which is of course an old Russian Folk Song given English lyrics much later.
Who would have thought those humorless Commies had it in them?
Not me, comrades.
I doubt they would have (or could have) been in shows like these back in the days of Uncle Joe Stalin and Nikita the K, though.
Это классных. Очень здорово. I'm ordering some CDs. And a t-shirt.
Будьте первым, на блок-сделать то же самое, попутчиками!
21 hours ago