FAME Review: Volga - Kumushki Pjut
Volga - Kumushki Pjut

Kumushki Pjut


Asphalt Tango Records - CD-ATR 4814

Available from Asphalt Tango Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

How only three people can make such an entrancing sound is beyond me. Volga is composed of Anzhelika Manukyan on vocals, Roman Lebedev on guitar and electronics, and Uri Balashov on zvukosuk (hell if I know and Google doesn't either, but I'm guessing drums of some kind) and 'tibet cup', but what they do is first simultaneously airy and stripped down yet expansive, then heavy as an anvil, and oft sideways berserk Balkan with aliens invading. Manukyan's high register tone and inflections are insanely attractive, like a female side adjunct of the Lollipop Guild with Savage Rose's Annisette. She encants in an ancient Russian tongue that CCCP writer Alan Cherchesov confesses "has long become a foreign language to us". HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! Move over, Christian Vander, this is the real thing, bubba.

On Postylyi Muzh (Bad Husband), Lebedev sounds much like Tony Duhig in the early days of Jade Warrior, then Golova (Head) seems to be some Wire gig with Gary Numan stuck-needled as Kate Bush goes neighborhood native. The insistent rhythm digs down into your thorax and pretty soon, trust me, you're up on your feet and ambling around the living room doing The Psychotic Robot, so don't put this on while the dog's around, he'll be howling like a werewolf. No…wait a minute…that's perfect!! Do it! Then post the video on YouTube! Pomol (Grinding) is something Nash the Slash might do in meeting up with John Foxx, the two getting down to business with one of the chicks from Voix Bulgares.

Geez, the longer this goes on, the more I feel like jumping into a Lost in Space episode with Boris the Dancing Bear, vodka snouters, Blade Runner barscene habitues, and someone's gypsy mama. Twisted, I know, but that's what happens if you don't back out of this immediately. You're hooked! Kumushki Pjut (translation: Gossiping Ladies Having a Drink) is World Music from another planet cross pollinated with Russo-Balkan-Armeno pulsations. Oh, and that ancient language? It's actually more than one, and alchemy may be involved, taken from arcane texts, something you'll be hardpressed to doubt when it pours into your ears. Of course, once you glom the title track, you'll be laughing your rear end off as well, probably naked, dancing in the moonlight, waiting for the mothership. This is very hip stuff, ranging from eldritch Transylvania to the Monuments of Mars.

Track List:

  • Kaverzi (Unexpected Trouble) (Lyrics: Anzhelika Manukyan)
  • Rzhanie Zhito (Rye Rye)
  • Postylyi Muzh (Bad Husband)
  • Golova (Head)
  • Pomol (Grinding) (Lyrics: Anzhelika Manukyan)
  • Mala Nochka (Small Light)
  • Zacharovan (Enchanted) (Lyrics: Anzhelika Manukyan)
  • Kumushki Pujt (Gossiping Ladies Having a Drink) (traditional)
  • Za Vorota (Outside the Gate) (traditional)
  • Bolozi (To Goodness) (Lyrics: Anzhelika Manukyan)
  • Solovejushka (Nightingale)
All songs written by Anzhelika Manukyan and Roman Lebedev except as noted. All lyrics public domain except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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