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:
… 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.
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:
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.
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!