Posted: November 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last night, I had one of the best nights yet in Ulyanovsk. I went to a concert at a club with three of my friends from the university. We went to see the group Sunsay, which was really special for me. I don’t remember how I came across them, but about two years ago I got really into the Russian/Ukrainian rap/rock/reggae/acoustic group 5’Nizza. The group’s name is a play on the Russian word пятница (pyatnitsa), which means Friday. The music of 5’Nizza provided the soundtrack for the fall semester of my junior year of college. I’m pretty sure that the majority of my 30-page research paper on desertion from the Russian army during the First World War was written while I listened to 5’Nizza. I also definitely listed to 5’Nizza from time to time while working on my thesis, although I tended to listen more to movie soundtracks while writing it.

5’Nizza was made up of two guys, Sergei Babkin and Andrei Zaporozhets. The group broke up a few years ago and both guys went on to form other acts. Andrei Zaporozhets’s new group is called Sunsay. I was really excited to go to the concert because I heard that Sunsay sometimes plays some 5’Nizza songs.

The performance was great. Zaporozhets sang and was backed up by a five member band. There were the standard members of bass, rhythm, and lead guitars as well as a drummer. The fifth member was somewhat out of place for rock concerts. He was basically a wood-wind player. He jumped around from various instruments from bagpipes, recorders, and flutes to the clarinet. At one point, he did a really cool trick where he played two recorders at the same time. The guitarists made me happy with their choice of instruments and effects. The lead guitarist played a Fender Telecaster and the rhythm guitarist played a Gibson RD. Call me predictable and a conformist, but I’m a fan of Gibson and Fender solid-body electric guitars. They used a range of effects including a wah-wah pedal, which always makes me happy. At one point in the show, I’m pretty sure they used a pre-recorded bass track. The bassist was playing an acoustic guitar accompanied only by drums and solos from the lead guitar. You may have fooled the majority of the audience, but you can’t get tricks like that past me.

I was really impressed with all of the Sunsay songs. I was slightly bummed, though, that they didn’t play any 5’Nizza music despite chants from the crowd to do so. The band left the stage, but came back for a brief encore of two songs. The lead singer said that he wanted to sing his new material, so he sang another one of his songs. After it was over, the crowd once again started chanting for the group to do 5’Nizza songs, especially one of my favorite songs called Нева, or Neva. Thankfully, though, the group gave in and played the 5’Nizza song Солдат, or Soldier. It was a perfect end to a perfect evening.

As we waited to get out coats after the concert, someone kept playing one of the songs from Amélie on a slightly out of tune old piano. It somewhat reminded me of Yankee Stadium where they play the Liza Minnelli version of New York, New York when the team loses instead of the Frank Sinatra version. While I normally really enjoy that particular song, I don’t like it played improperly on an out of tune piano for fifteen minutes at a time. Oddly enough, it seems that the music from Amélie is somewhat popular in Russia. A few hours ago, my neighbor was listening to a rap remix of another piece from the Amélie soundtrack. That’s another fun development in my life. My neighbors have just acquired a set of speakers and a subwoofer. I now get to enjoy all the house/trance music I can stand, which is not much. I would be much happier if they listened to Daft Punk or Depeche Mode instead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s