Estrada?!

Estrada?!: Grand Narratives and the Philosophy of the Russian Popular Song since Perestroika

David MacFadyen
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 260
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt813h1
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  • Book Info
    Estrada?!
    Book Description:

    In Estrada?!, the second volume of a three-part series on Russian popular song, David MacFadyen extends his overview of Russian culture and society into the post-Soviet period. Having dispelled several myths surrounding Soviet popular entertainment - known as "estrada" or the "small stage" - in Red Stars, MacFadyen shifts his attention to a newer musical tradition that has emerged from the simultaneous disappearance of Soviet ideology and the loud influx of western music.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7024-5
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. x-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
    (pp. 3-4)

    With this book I continue the research ofRed Stars, extending an overview of Russian popular songs into the post-Soviet period, to the end of the twentieth century. The primary objective of that first volume was to dispel several myths surrounding Soviet popular or light entertainment, known to audiences in Moscow, Leningrad, and beyond as the “small stage” orèstrada, a wide-ranging term that includes pop music but also applies to modern dance, comedy, circus arts, and any other performance not on the “big,” classical stage. I aimed to show that Cold War rhetoric was and continues to be extraordinarily...

  6. FOUR PREDICAMENTS
    • THE DECLINE OF A SOVIET REPERTOIRE
      (pp. 7-36)

      Just prior to communism’s death throes in 1991, the most popular musical ensemble in Russia was the all-male Laskovyi mai (Tender May), which exchanged the jazz, rock, or folk strains of major Soviet performers for something very new: clumsy, weakly produced synthesized pop. The adolescent members had all at some time been housed in state orphanages, and their manager, a certain Andrei Razin, had made good use of these maudlin origins to win both government and audience support for the band’s work.² Their rapid ascent to mass popularity, however, was swifter than the willingness of Soviet television to embrace the...

    • THE ABSENCE OF IDEOLOGY
      (pp. 37-63)

      Ideology came to an end. In its place there arose critique. As shown in the last chapter, a gradual movement in estrada towards ideologically free, meandrous thought had allowed for different – often critical – points of view of the status quo and, consequently, for different views of the personality living within it. Personality, as we have seen, became a construct made up of all that it slowly passed through, together with all that wandered throughit. Multiple phenomena were thus encountered for the first time, as estrada passed inquisitively in and out of its own heritage. Many were mocked or even...

    • PERFORMERS’ UNTUTORED UPBRINGING
      (pp. 64-88)

      This third problematic area in estrada, that of performers’ upbringing, is closely connected to issues of chance, narrative, and linearity: a young person is brought up in a certain fashion over a number of years in the hope that he or she will become someone else. Our investigation of cultural narratives thus far has shown how estrada’s personalities affirmed a state of flux contradicting well-intentioned straight lines. Ignoring or shunning a linear perception of one’s own life, though, is more than difficult. It is considerably easier to applaud a post-modern, folded view of public history than it is to do...

    • DIRECTORIAL WORK ON THE STAGE AND ON THE ROAD
      (pp. 89-112)

      We have now seen how late or post-Soviet estrada shaped and justified itself in the context of three problems: a fading artistic tradition, a system of ideological rules that suddenly became obsolete, and a heritage of ethical tutelage that seemed unable to deal with modern excesses. Estrada used an affective, sentimental attitude towards tradition, ideology, and its own upbringing in order to keep remembering or re-employing the best, dearest, and most apolitical aspects of the previous seventy years. In doing so, it was actually practising a sentimental worldview created or begun by many Soviet popular performers. It thereby revealed the...

  7. EVIDENCE OF TWO SOLUTIONS
    • AUDIO: THE SOUND OF MUSIC AND MUTATION
      (pp. 115-131)

      This chapter and the next offer some recent evidence from songs and video that solutions do indeed exist to the four post-Soviet predicaments of repertoire, ideology, upbringing, and directorial work. We have seen how performers philosophize, but what do their creative texts and videos sound and look like? The preceding pages have included many descriptions of our singers’ music, but a summary of sorts will be useful, especially in unison with the lyrics offered here. All the texts in this section satisfy three criteria. They are from the repertoires of our chosen performers; they are widely known and have been...

    • VIDEO: ESTRADA ON FILM SINCE PERESTROIKA
      (pp. 132-158)

      We have already seen the problems of reality and effort involved in broadcasting and filming music; here we look at the films themselves. This chapter offers some explicit examples of ways in which aural estrada has used visual representations since the eighties. The fact that the Russian song today often resorts to the newer media of film, concert footage, and promotional video does not mean that its multigeneric heritage vanishes into abject mimicry of some post-modernist melee. Itself born of a heritage that dismissed exclusive, intolerant “verities” with humour or movement to another genre (song to circus to puppetry), estrada...

  8. RUSSIAN POPULAR CULTURE AFTER 1982:: THE BIG PICTURE
    • “WHY AM I SINGING NOW?” GRAND NARRATIVES AND THEIR HARD-WORKING SURVIVORS
      (pp. 161-180)

      If I am correct in hypothesizing that little people such asCharity Ball’sShirley harbour or embody extremely big ideas, that her minor “Slavic” state reflects several major cultural and historical processes, then we are now in a good position to formulate some broad theories about our chosen subject. There is perhaps no better place to start than 6 June 1999, when Russia celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of its most famous cultural figure, the poet Aleksandr Pushkin (1799–1837). Already in January state television had started trumpeting the “Cultural Event of the Year,” but it managed to...

    • CONCLUSION: ONLY THE SENTIMENTAL AND INDUSTRIOUS CAN ENDURE
      (pp. 181-186)

      The central issue investigated in this book has been estrada’sraison d’êtreafter its Soviet history and tradition had vanished seemingly forever. Concluding with Lyotard’s definition of post-traditional existence as that of a survivor, we have investigated the relationship of Soviet grand narratives to the musical stories that ran beside and then outlived them, the stories told by songs and those who penned or performed them. Each of those survivors initially asked himself or herself: “Why me? Is surviving a given or a cultivated state? Do I – or should I – wilfully choose to be this way?”

      The answer suggested by...

  9. APPENDICES