@tomos - We've apparently come a long way from the days when it was only Boris Grebenshchikov you'd hear about from Russia.
I've always been a big fan of Eastern Bloc Metal, but... accordians! :Thmbsup
Wow, an accordion that looks like the front of a 1953 Cadillac, a balalaika, a set of Ludwig drums, and a Fender Jaguar bass...doing a Bon Jovi piece in Russian (mostly) in the Ukraine on TV!
Anybody have any doubts it's a small world?
And it gets even crazier. This is Abigale Washburn, a traditional and roots player (along with her own stuff) who is popular over in China.
NPR has her in for one of their Tiny Desk Concerts
. (Note: I really like the Tiny Desk series because it pares everything down to the basics. Much like a private "living-room concert," Tiny Desk is just the band or performer setting up and playing in NPR's offices to a small audience of people who really know music. There's no lights, or exotic sound tech, or stage sets - so there's absolutely no place to hide. It's musical performance stripped down to its absolute essence. If you really want to see what a musician or group is made of, just have them perform in a similar setting, and you'll soon discover who really 'has it' - and who just gets away with it.)
From the NPR website:
Abigail Washburn's music career, now 10 years old, had an unlikely start. Washburn had plans to study law at Beijing University in China. She'd also recently bought a banjo — she wanted to take something to China that was American — and she'd fallen in love with the music of the legendary Doc Watson, in particular his banjo playing in the classic folk tune "Shady Grove."
So Washburn decided to embark on a road trip to study the banjo, and to learn tunes. She found her way to the Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia, then to North Carolina and then Kentucky to the International Bluegrass Association. It was there that she sat down with a few women to play music, and right then and there was offered a record deal.
So her plans changed and she canceled her journey to China. Still, even though Washburn began a music career instead, the country remains in her heart. Her career has since taken her to China, and she now mixes American bluegrass and folk with Chinese folk music.
You can watch it and find out more about her here
. (Sorry. NPR doesn't allow you to embed video like YouTube does.) There's also a bunch of videos of varying quality of her up on YouTube.
This isn't the sort of music I usually listen too. But I must admit her music has grown on me with repeated listening. It's got a certain simplicity and purity of sound that masks the sophistication of the music and the group that performs it. It's a subtle thing they do. And they pull it off brilliantly.
Breath of fresh air AFAIC. And just the thing to clear the head after a busy day.