Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Russian Music Wednesdays #3 - Yanka Dyagileva

This week's RMW choice is Yanka Dyagileva, a troubled talent from the depths of Siberia. Her style was a folk-influenced punk with soaring vocals, dark lyrics and some veiled attacks on Soviet Communism (she also featured in the more openly critical band Civil Defence). She often fell victim to bouts of depression, especially after her close friend Alexander Bashlachev committed suicide in 1988. On May 9, 1991, as the Soviet Union fell apart, she went for a walk along a river near her rural home, and was found drowned eight days later, aged 25. Shortly before her death, she had recorded a four-song EP "Styd i Sram" (Shame and Disgrace), which ends with the song "Pridet Voda" (The Water's Coming).

Dyagileva never produced a professional album, working in improvised studios and performing in friends' flats. Her music only became nationally popular after her death, despite scratchy recordings being the only ones available. The song featured here is "Gori-gori yasno" (Burn-burn brightly) from the album Anhedonia. Lyrics in Russian here, my translation underneath. If you want to hear an electric recording, this one is excellent.



You don’t chase, you won’t understand, you didn’t chase, you didn’t steal,
Without work you won’t knock out your teeth, won’t sell, won’t fuck...
This song you won’t stifle, won’t kill,
This song you won’t stifle, won’t kill.

The house is burning – the wanker doesn’t see
The house is burning – the wanker doesn’t know
That it was born into the world with the wanker
Too to answer to the wanker

Burn-burn bright, so it doesn’t go out,
Burn-burn bright, so it doesn’t go out!

On the road I hung about, mud diluted with tears:
They tore up a new skirt, yes they shut up her mouth.
Hail the great working people,
The invincible, mighty people!

The house is burning – the wanker doesn’t see it,
He got drunk and started a fight,
He won’t understand who
Called whom a wanker first

Burn-burn bright, so it doesn’t go out,
Burn-burn bright, so it doesn’t go out!

Flow, song, in the open, fly across the chimney pipes,
The little mouths and feet of the black house on the beautiful ground.
The sweet sun laughs with a loud red laugh,
Burn-burn bright, so it doesn’t go out!

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