From chanson to Russian cookies, it was a evening of Eastern Bloc delights at Greenpoint’s WORD last night. Deep in the heart of a Brooklyn neighborhood that still echoes with a long history of Russian residents, WORD played host to Museyon’s andJauntsetter’s curated night of music and travel. After some introductory remarks by Jauntsetter’s Dorothy McGivney and our own Laura Robinson, Alina Simone (who contributed a chapter to our “MUSIC + TRAVEL WORLDWIDE” guidebook) took the stage to discuss the history of chanson—the folk-song form created in Tsarist prisons that has effected Russian music from early 20th-Century protest tunes, all the way to modern Moscow-based punk and rock. After regaling the audience with tales of the musician and artist’s muse Dina Vierny, Simone launched into a classic Vierny ballad followed by stripped down versions of several cuts from her recently released album, “Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware”, a collection of covers of Russian punk priestess Yanka Dyagileva’s influential songs. Switching from lecturer and performer to translator, Simone became the English voice of Mike “Vivisector” Antipow of The Vivisectors Gulag Tunes. Again, it was a mix of history and music as Antipow covered the Russian intellectual interest in chanson prison tunes, then served up song after haunting song. Within a half hour, Antipow had brought the audience on a musical tour from the mid-19th-Century all the way to modern Russian rock, using only his voice and a nylon-stringed guitar. Afterwords, attendees gabbed and gobbled Russian treats between browsing the packed shelves of WORD’s excellent stock.
126 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Above (clockwise from upper left): Mike Antipow (left) and friend, Alina Simone (right) and band performing, the audience at WORD, Antipow performing. All photos by Akira Chiba.