Listening to World Music: Party For Everybody by Buranovskie Babushki. Forms of Authenticity.

Как я писала раньше, я решила принять участие в образовательном курсе Пенсильванского университета Listening to World Music. Курс проходит на английском языке и его посещают около 30000 студентов со всего мира!
Первая неделя обучения была посвящена истории звукозаписи, вопросам аутентичности в музыке. В качестве примеров была рассмотрена популяризация Григорианских песнопений в 90-х годах ХХ века, колыбельная Афунаквы, использованная группой Deep Forest в одном из своих популярных треков «Sweet Lullaby», и другие.
Было и домашнее задание. На одну из 4 предложенных тем нужно было написать сочинение. Сочинения оцениваются «одноклассниками» по 5 критериям. Максимально за работу можно получить 10 баллов. Параллельно каждому студенту на проверку предлагается несколько чужих работ. Только те сочинения, которые получают самые высокие баллы, попадают на проверку к преподавателю.

Вот задание, которое я выбрала:

Find youtube examples of the three forms of authenticity outlined in this lecture segment, and explain how they are articulated in the clip. It maybe that there are only one or two of these authenticities expressed in the clip. How does the presence of authenticity contribute to the power of the music for you as a listener/consumer?

А вот моё сочинение, каким я его разместила в классе:

First of all let me go back to the key concept and to answer the last question of the assignment. What is authenticity in frames of music and how does it contribute the power of the music for me as a listener / consumer?

The most important constituent part of this concept is primality. When we talk about world music authenticity we always turn to the origins, ready to hear our ancestors’ voices, traditional instruments and ancient dialects. In general I associate authenticity with the past, with something not in use, obsolete or even forgotten nowadays. Listening to the authentic music make me feel a deep connection with the Earth, nature, people and life stream. In other words authenticity gives me a feeling of something global and important.

Have you ever noticed that ordinary people can sing from the heart and profoundly touch you without special education? When you realize that you can do it as well you become closer to the musical art. Emotionality is the 2nd component of authenticity which consists in revealing human feelings. Authentic music is closely related to the customs, beliefs and life events, e.g. wedding, war, death, hunt etc. All strong emotions proper to this or that life experience are concentrated in a piece of music and expressed through it. As a result listening to such music arouses deep emotional response even if we do not understand the language of a song. Thereby emotionality of the authentic music gives me the contact with true feelings.

Another significant thing in authenticity is positionality. When we listen to rare examples of the authentic music we understand that originally it was not made to be recorded and sold even if contemporary sound production companies sell it. Thus authentic music is perceived as something unique and therefore more precious than countless numbers of tunes “for sale” overflowing the modern world.

To draw the above forms I’d like to examine a well-known example of Russian music which won the European audience this spring. I’m talking about “Party For Everybody” by Buranovskie Babushki:

There is no official video for this song and it was made especially for the Eurovision Song Contest. This fact means that the song was made to be consumed. We are told that Babushki are not interested in the personal income and pursue another goal. They need money to rebuild the destroyed church in their village (see This means that positionality of this song is violated though Babushki supposed to sing seflessly.

As for emotionality I can see that Babushki sing from the heart because of the song’s content. They sing that they fired a furnace, made dough, dressed up, laid a tablecloth and wait for their sons. And then the house is full of children, they sing, dance and have fun. The Udmurt lyrics were written by one of them to show us the real joy and pleasure of being together with children and close relatives. All women in the group work hard, have children and grandchildren and love family occasions. So they know what they are singing about.

Now let’s consider the issue of primality. Buranovskie Babushki are elderly women from the village Buranovo. They live without luxuries as our ancestors did, and use natural economy. They maintain traditions working in the garden, feeding the cattle, knitting and sewing clothes and cherish heirlooms. “Party For Everybody” was written in two languages: verses in the Udmurt language by the group’s participant and the refrain was made in English on a by-order basis. The music was composed by a well-known Russian pop-music composer Victor Drobysh. We can hear that there are two essential parts in the song. First, the slow chanting beginning (about 38 seconds) with the polyphony, tambourines and echo. And in the second part we hear the modern rhythm, simple dance music with a very catchy tune. In that part we can hear accordion and balalaika sounds on the background. Even if these are only synthesized sounds, a feeling of something traditional is created in such a manner. Folk sounding of voices and an unknown language attracts our attention. During the stage performance we can see 6 elderly women robed in national costumes. They sing in front of the furnace while traditional pasties “perepechi” are being cooked. The commentators tell that though the furnace is fake, the pasties are real and were cooked by Babushki. Then the women dance and one of them walks along the stage with “perepechi” on the salver. No trick effects, no backup dancing – a simple performance without luxuries just like the real life in Buranovo.

We can see that none of authenticity forms is kept severe. “Party For Everybody” is a well-made mixture of authenticity and contemporary means of hit-making. This example shows us how the best use of authenticity elements and tender emotions to the cute grannies singing in English in order to rebuild the church in their native village can make people consume a musical product but we can patchily call this composition a piece of world music.

Я успела оценить только 3 работы «одноклассников» и схлопотала штраф в 20% :) Так что, несмотря на мои 10 баллов от других студентов, в итоге у меня «8» за эту неделю. Оценивали мою работу, как минимум, 3 студента, а может быть и больше, но отзывы к работе оставили только трое:

Well-organized, and excellent use of a video clip. (Personally, I appreciated being introduced to this song — we don’t see Eurovision here (Boston), so that was interesting to me.) The summary paragraph could have explained your point a bit more clearly. Overall, though, very well written.

Great job! Congratulations!

The song you presented represented an interesting mix of old (the Babushki) and the new. It is sad sometimes to see old cultures taken advantage of in this way and modernized for others’ entertainment, even if it is for a good cause. Must have been an interesting experience for the Babushki.

Поскольку ограничение на объём сочинения установлено в 1000 слов, «за бортом» моих изысканий остался небольшой кусочек работы, который, на мой взгляд, может быть любопытным:
Off-topic: I’m convinced that the necessary prerequisites for the success of Buranovskie Babushki in Russia were created more than 10 years ago. I point this out because without being recognized in Russia the group would have no chance for the performance in Europe. When I heard them for the first time I had an immediate association with Russian group Ivan Kupala:

In their turn Ivan Kupala took field recordings of traditional songs and transformed them to the modern tracks since 1995 being under the impression of “Boheme” album by Deep Forest. This sequence from Deep Forest to Babushki represents how music ideas across the world and transform from one piece to another.

На этом пока всё. Может быть, я сделаю русский аналог своего сочинения для блога и ещё разовью тему связей.
/ушла обучаться дальше/