The tragedy of Beloe Zlato

As this will be read by Russians as well as English speakers, I’ll keep the English simple. If you need to go to the other language, Google translate is as good as any. [Использовать Google-translate для перевода.]  It’s stilted and sometimes strange Russian but you’ll get the general idea.

The sheer amount of work put in by the young ladies of Beloe Zlato [white gold], including all the train and bus travel, the attempts to crack the market, the promises and disappointments – this would parallel that of any hopeful new musicians.

As one who was behind all sorts of projects in Russia for twelve years, I do understand what they are trying to achieve and as always, behind any project are the ones who drive the project forward.  In Beloe Zlato, I suspect these comprise a young lady called Masha, possibly one called Valeria but certainly the main driver [рукaводитель] is Darya Luneeva Yatsenko [Дарья Яценко].

And I noticed quickly that not all the girls in the group like to be pushed – look at the girl at the back of the room, near the end of the youtube and the body language:

One advantage Russians have is the hard life they grew up with and the determination to do whatever it takes to succeed but when there are unusual obstacles stopping the music reaching the whole world, mostly out of their control, then it could be called a Russian tragedy.

The first post I did on them was here:

Ансамбль “Белое злато”

… and immediately, I was intrigued by Dasha, who was demonstrative and theatrical, who obviously cared about the project, yet not everyone was responding to her.  I know this feeling well and feel some empathy.

A parallel was The Bangles from the 80s, an attempt at a girl band but because the media and fans only wanted Susannah Hoffs – everyone loves a pretty girl – it fell apart.  Nobody did more to keep that band together for decades than Ms Hoffs and did she get any thanks?

I hope the drivers of Beloe Zlato do.

Origins

What happened was that some girls from an art college wanted to sing old Russian songs and spark a revival, they were from all walks of life and so they came together to do this – in parks, train stations, shopping centres and so on, in summer, in winter.  Even in concert.

And as you can see from this youtube below, they are no TaTu, artificially devised – this is their own project:

My loyalty

As I began to look at different interviews with the ensemble [this one below was straight after a concert, so they were tired], it was clear that the blondinka, Zhenya, was the one the crew wanted to hear from but she was the least talkative.

The one in the middle, Dasha was always expressive, indefatigable and always looking to explain. The one to her left [our right] is Masha, the other principal driver.

My loyalty is always to the main drivers:

What I did not like was that in the second interview, Dasha had been moved to one end of the line, out of camera shot.

Someone clearly wanted the blondinka, Zhenya, on her own – she’s certainly lovely, with a great voice, but all of them are good and Dasha is a natural leader – they should get solo concerts too.

The new world culture out here is appalling

It was noticeable that while many Russian commenters [plus me, plus half of the westerners] just want to marry all the girls at the same time, the other half of the westerners felt they had to make dirty comments and as a westerner [half Russian perhaps], I resented this.

At least some of us realized that what we have here are “daughters of Russia”, not loose women [шлюхи] like Beyoncé or Rihanna. The cultural difference is vast.

The whole point for western audiences is that these girls represent something now lost in our culture, free spirits with good hearts – the redheaded Maria who shouts is one such.  It adds colour to the performance.

Obstacles to success

Just a quick word – they need to stop calling us “foreigners”, an unfriendly term in English.  Why not brothers, sisters or cousins?

Beloe Zlato have had undoubted local success, many concerts and festivals and they’ve been to Germany, but they haven’t completely made the international transition, primarily because of the language issue, plus the lack of coordination of the English language webpages. They also need to do more on Twitter.

https://vk.com/folk.zlato

http://beloezlato.ru/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOxJxUc4g57ka1KAXcV32tA/about

They also do some strange things – it’s an extraordinary thing to post a bank account number openly:

… and hope someone in the west will give his own number to them in return.

Privacy is a major issue here in the west, so the idea of giving credit card details is just too insecure for safety.

I mentioned them on Twitter today, there are some Russians on my timeline and the Americans and British might like to see them too. I’m sure my French friends will like Beloe Zlato.

My Russian mate wrote, about the first post on them:

What a tribute to the ones I see everyday on snowed bus stops with their long lashes and legs and heart-stopping, killer smiles.

But a word of caution:

You should see the new generation (they were kindergarteners when you left) … IN-SA-NI-TY.  Far too materialistic – the pain and agony of today’s Russia.

Beloe Zlato seem to have avoided the worst of World Culture, although I noticed cellphones sometimes glued to their ears.

Maria kills it here [plus the dog is good too]:

They need a manager or maybe agents in various countries – in Germany, in France, in Britain, in America, to promote them in those languages.

The girls need to understand too that it is not only the Russian folk songs which people want to see and hear but the girls themselves, with their harmonized voices and Maria’s shouting.

I used the word “tragedy” in the title of this post. Yes, it is a tragedy that something so old-worldly and beautiful has not yet swept the world … but there are reasons which can be addressed.

Beloe Zlato are far more than just a singing group, they represent a revival, a return to old values.

С Новым годом!

22 comments for “The tragedy of Beloe Zlato

  1. The Blocked Dwarf
    December 20, 2017 at 14:11

    ” it’s an extraordinary thing to post a bank account number openly:”

    Is it? In a lot of Europe it is normal to give out your IBAN/BIC as , especially in Germany, paper transfers (ie when you go to the bank and fill out a form) are still very common, even on ebay.de. About the only thing someone can do with your bank account number is pay *in* money. Anyone with the skills to take money out with your account number, didn’t need your account number to start with (or rather they didn’t need to scour the web looking for it).

    And anyways one assumes the girls have set up a separate account for the group.

    *just listened to a couple of their songs. Sorry can’t see the appeal myself but each to his own….I quite like Volksmusik , of a sort most Germans find ‘grating’.

  2. December 20, 2017 at 15:56

    Without words.

    • The Blocked Dwarf
      December 20, 2017 at 18:23

      “Without words”

      They do kinda grab you right *there* and take your breath away, don’t they?
      Unfortunately the one group’s smash hits, nay ‘Norfolk anthems’ even, are not available online. I refer of course to “Zoophilia At The Norfolk Show” and “I Lost My Virginity At Banham Zoo” (I jest not).

      *wanders off humming “I’ve been banned-banned from Banham Zoo, Thriby Hall they’ve banned me too and the Dinosaur Adventure Park…”

  3. Mario Chavez
    December 25, 2017 at 20:39

    How can you buy their music? Is there an English website to purchase their albums? I would like to support them.

    • December 25, 2017 at 21:30

      There are only the links in the post, they have a Youtube presence and Twitter – I noticed they’ve updated the Youtube but not the Twitter. When I tried to access the Youtube channel, I couldn’t.

      Shall explore it more and report back.

      Reporting back:

      Can’t find too much more – their PR could do with a shake up.

    • Katya Luba
      June 8, 2018 at 17:52

      They mostly deal with their VK account. But to see theirs you need an account and it’s all in Russian, I have difficulty navigating the English version. They do have a website where you can request and send an email. It took a while for a response back and I believe it was mostly Darya who responded to the request. I haven’t bought a cd since, so I’m not sure if it is still the same process.

  4. January 10, 2018 at 19:16

    I fell in love with their voices a few months back when I stumbled upon them surfing YouTube. They would have some moderate success in the US in the upper midwest area because of the high Central/east European immigrant (from the late 19th/early 20 century) population, especially in places like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. They just need management/publicists that will work hard for the ladies.

  5. January 26, 2018 at 11:51

    Hi,
    Are you always in touch wit beloe zlato ? In sended mails on their site without answer. I look to organise som flash mob in great shops in switzerland for one week and to build a budget for the shop. Can you help me ?
    Thanks and regards, Denis

  6. January 26, 2018 at 12:27

    Matt and Denis – sadly, the PR is in the hands of the girls, mainly Dasha, and she’s hopeless. Can’t get through there myself. She really needs to get a proper publicist on the job for her foreign fans.

  7. Robert Wyatt
    February 18, 2018 at 18:00

    What these young women do is magical – All the tunes, presumably ,
    traditional , are good, and what is so great is the perfectly natural grasp of the appropriate harmonies.Wonderful .
    And their presentation is so fresh, so unpretentious . I’d like to be able to buy their cds ( records? videos? )I search, but cannot find how to do that.
    One thing would get them known a bit better would be , to include english-alphabet names on the youtube films -it’s taken me a long time to actually find the name Beloe Zlato ! Few here in England are familiar with your alphabet, alas.

  8. February 18, 2018 at 18:25

    See the reply to Mario Chavez. I’ll write to them again in Russian and ask them to get their act together with distribution.

  9. Ilya
    March 9, 2018 at 23:24

    James,
    You’ve freaked me up with the TRAGEDY word. I thought someone died or something…

    • March 10, 2018 at 07:33

      Sorry ’bout that. No, Dasha and two others of the core group seem to be still there.

  10. May 1, 2018 at 18:10

    Your point about wanting to marry all the girls at once could not have been better put. It’s uncanny how much their manner, body language, street clothes and hair styles resemble the way my sister and her friends used to behave, back in the 1970s in California. May those Russian girls never travel the road we in the United States have traveled since then. No twerking and no tattoos, if you please.

    I stumbled across the Beloe Zlato videos while looking up a Russian folk song by Ivan Rebroff, a German who assumed a Russian identity and had a long and successful career dazzling people with his basso profundo / soprano range ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXKZaPSbQC0 ). Maybe the girls could get a manager like his. In the meantime, let them know that the striving for success can be a more satisfying experience than actual achieving success turns out to be. Just ask Loretta Lynn ( https://www.amazon.com/Coal-Miners-Daughter-Sissy-Spacek/dp/B001VM7DYC ).

    I found the girls’ singing so enchanting that I wove them into an article I was working on for the American Greatness web site ( https://amgreatness.com/2018/04/28/the-music-maids/ ). They make their appearance about halfway into the piece but are essential to its main point. What I say about them is very much in line with your closing statement: “Beloe Zlato are far more than just a singing group, they represent a revival, a return to old values.”

    May their efforts be rewarded with ever-greater fame and success. The more people hear them, the better and safer a place this world will be.

  11. stas
    May 9, 2018 at 13:51

    Great article.

    I’ve been trying to buy their CDs stateside, but it is almost impossible. Their website is basically non-functional to purchase their music, and they don’t have a complete list of songs on YouTube, nothing on Google Pay, nor iTunes.

    Honestly, whoever their IT/Sales manager is needs to pull their head out of their **** immediately – They would be making much more money, and have a much broader exposure if they were distributing their music digitally instead trying to mail out physical CDs. There are stores/restaurants/people I know that would love to have this music in Texas, but cannot get to it except for the short clips on Youtube.

  12. May 28, 2018 at 03:15

    “Beloe Zlato are far more than just a singing group, they represent a revival, a return to old values.”

    Yes ! 🙂

  13. robbo
    May 28, 2018 at 05:32

    If you like the sound of females singing..type in Kulning on you tube Scandinavian women singing to the cows!

  14. Simon Gale
    June 25, 2018 at 13:48

    Thank you for this info on Beloe Zlato. Could I recommend the even better Trio Mandili from Georgia on You Tube.

  15. Joe Lovell
    August 9, 2018 at 04:00

    I “found ” White Gold on YouTube last summer and fell in love with their singing, presentation, natural poise, and the joy and pathos with which they sing.

    I’ve tried to navigate their site and, as others did, got frustrated.

    The world needs what they want to give us.

  16. August 9, 2018 at 06:35

    Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *