The punk from Novobrisk
February 22, 2007 2:45 AM   Subscribe

Yanka (Янка) Dyagileva (1966-1991) was one of the foremost members of the former USSR's magnitizdat circuit. Albeit overshadowed in time by the likes of Vysotsky, she (along with longtime collaborators Grazhdanskaya Oborona [Civil Defence]) played a mixture of folk and punk: raw, unrelenting and angry. Sadly, the greatest memorial to her on the web is entirely in Russian, but offers interest to even those that do not speak the language: her complete discography is available for download, a bevy of photographs providing an inside look into the late 80's underground music scene in the USSR (...and the penalties for participating in it), and some tablatures if you ever just want to play along. She's even got a Myspace profile.
posted by griphus (23 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saved this self-link for the inside: I translated one of her songs (to the best of my abilities, and retaining nothing of the artfulness of the language) over here, as I couldn't find any translations anywhere. It's the song from the second YouTube link.
posted by griphus at 2:47 AM on February 22, 2007


Thanks, dude.
posted by c13 at 3:47 AM on February 22, 2007


Thanks for this fine post. I'd never heard of Dyagileva, nor the magnitizdat movement. The MP3 that accompanies your "self link" (that's a good self link, too, in my opinion) sounds great: I like her voice, and Russian is a wonderful language for singing in. Perhaps you should try your hand at translating more of her stuff? And/or other magnitizdat artists? I'd say there's a cross-cultural linguistic knowledge gap here that could use some bridging. And if your one translation there is any indication, Yanka's (and others?) lyrics are really interesting. This is a fascinating, tantalizing glimpse at an area of music that should be more well-known, I'd say, and better documented from here on out.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:11 AM on February 22, 2007


She reminds me of Kazuki Tomokawa - I speak neither Russian nor Japanese, but intensity transcends language. Thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:51 AM on February 22, 2007


Spasiba, et ohchin haroshe post.

Downloading :)
posted by Komsomol at 5:03 AM on February 22, 2007


Griphus, any favorites from the mp3 collection? There's a lot there!
posted by neustile at 5:43 AM on February 22, 2007


Nice post; I ran across Dyagileva a while back and liked her a lot, and of course her life story is fascinating (and sad). I'm not sure what sense it makes to say she was "overshadowed in time by the likes of Vysotsky," since Vysotsky died when she was 13, and his kind of music didn't have much to do with hers. It's like saying Sonic Youth was overshadowed by the Beatles.
posted by languagehat at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2007


Ochen krasivaya muzika. Spasiba.
posted by SemiSophos at 7:50 AM on February 22, 2007


[this is good]
posted by Rumple at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2007


Great stuff.
posted by Shave at 8:15 AM on February 22, 2007


Am attempting to learn some Russian on the side right now through an audio course (Pimsleur) and a book, and I think this might prove helpful as well :) Thanks.
posted by nihraguk at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2007


In russian the stressed syllable may be anywhere in the word, which tends to make learning pronunciation difficult. Some people suggest reading poetry, since it tends to make mistakes very obvious...
posted by c13 at 8:37 AM on February 22, 2007


Ya vsegda znal chto meta transcends language barriers. Good stuff.
posted by creeptick at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2007


Молодец! Смерть попсе!

You might be mistaken, though--Vysotsky's heyday was before she was even born. What do you mean by 'overshadowed'?
posted by nasreddin at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


neustle - check out "Prodano!" (an album of just her and her guitar with surprisingly good production values) or "Deklassirovannym Elementam".
posted by griphus at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2007


re: everyone: ...yeah, that Vysotsky jab really doesn't belong on there.
posted by griphus at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2007


Fascinating, beautiful stuff, thanks.

And seconding flapjax_at_midnight's appeal for more translations -- this is lovely stuff to listen to just as music, but your selflink has me eager to know more about the meaning behind the pretty sounds.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:33 AM on February 22, 2007


Here's one of my favorites, "Ot bolshogo uma" ("From being too smart"):

From being too smart, all you get is begging and jail.
From a wild head only gutters and ditches.
From a beautiful soul only scabs and lice.
From universal love only bloody faces.

In a sheet in the wind, over the morning dew.
From fruitless ideas to fleshless guests.
From full tables to smashed skulls.
From closed doors to buried creatures.

Parallel to the way a black companion flies.
He'll calm us, save us, bring us tranquility.
Under a rough wing, night at a round table
A red and white poster--"Hey, start your scooter!"

Come together, people, to a useless congress.
To a worldwide council--how can we decorate our nonsense?
To wedge in your will in an idiotic land.
To sit still, to be quiet, to knock on the table.

Because from being too smart, all you get is begging and jail.
From a wild head only gutters and ditches....
posted by nasreddin at 2:34 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Rizhskaya"--a street in Moscow.

Cast your words into the hole in my ice.
Cast your knives at my doors.
Cast your peas in bunches at my walls
Your seeds at the infected soil.

On the broken bushes--shreds of flags
On the broken streetlights, the remains of nooses.
On the colorless eyes, clouded glass.
On the frozen land, white stones.

Cast your pearls before the upturned snout.
Cast your empty purses on the road.
Cast your coins into the striped caps
Your songs--to the yawning ravine.

In my corner, dried bread and roaches.
In my hole some colored paint and a voice.
In my blood the sand mixes with the dirt.
On the mattress, the hands before the last.

Outside the doors, they're digging pits for the trees.
Children shoot slingshots at the cats
The cats are crying and yelling loudly,
The cats are falling into empty wells.

Cast your words into the hole in my ice.
Cast your knives at my doors.
posted by nasreddin at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, thanks for those translations, nasreddin. Whew, and I've been told some of my stuff is kinda dark, but, man, this stuff is... dark. Deliciously dark. About as dark as songs get.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 PM on February 22, 2007


Let me nth the awesomeness of this post. A friend of mine lives in Russia and he's introduced me to some of this stuff (Aquarium being most prominent) and I keep pestering him for more. Thanks for expanding the boundaries of my musical knowledge.
posted by Kattullus at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2007


oh, man, thanks nasreddin, that's awesome.
posted by griphus at 7:52 PM on February 22, 2007


nasreddin: oh, thank you thank you! Wow. Powerful stuff.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 8:09 AM on February 23, 2007


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