Posted by: ktzefr | August 10, 2018

A Night in Russia with American Rock

I spent last night in Russia.  What a blast — hopping from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg to Ufa.  Eleven cities in one night!  And what did I learn from my evening visit via Radio Garden? People across Russia are listening to American rock.

First stop: Krasnoyarsk, a city located on the Yenisei River. It’s the third-largest city in Siberia after Novosibirsk.  I was there, too, for a short while.  I found Krasnoyarsk’s Romantika radio playing Merk and Kremont’s “Hands Up” and when I hopped over to Novosibirsk’s Russkoe radio, they were spinning “Phantoms and Friends” by Old Man Canyon.  

Then it was on to Dalmatovo, east of the Ural Mountains, near the Iset and Techa Rivers.  This town of fewer than 14,000 people was founded by a monk and was once a major center of cucumber cultivation.  Last night (this morning in Russia) the early risers were listening to Zara Larsson’s “I Would Like.”  

Back to Siberia.  To Irkutsk, a city of more than half a million people, was supposedly founded in the 17th century as a winter quarters for traders and tax collectors.  Folks who frequent Trip Advisor boast of the city’s universities, beautiful historic churches, and interesting museums.  Radio Rossii was playing a song I actually recognized (I’m not too familiar with today’s tunes, prefering to listen to coffee house re-do’s of 60s and 70s music).  “Save Tonight” — I recognized the song but had no idea the artist was someone named Eagle-Eye Cherry.

Trip Advisor calls Yekaterinburg, the “thinking tourist’s” city with its libraries, theatres, and museums.  The Culture Trip puts Yekaterinburg, the unofficial capital of the Urals, among the world’s “12 Ideal Cities” for its architecture and historical and cultural monuments.  One of the more unusual monuments is to Michael Jackson.  I didn’t hear any Jackson favorites on the radio, but I did listen to Jerrod Niemann’s “A Little More Love” before heading to Ufa.

Lonely Planet’s guide provides everything a visitor needs to know to visit Ufa and recommends a bus trip to the nearby Shihany Mountains, which are said to be some of the oldest mountains in the world.  The land is composed of tiny coral rocks, noting that they were once deep under the sea.  Last night, Ufa’s Radio Cafe was playing R.E.M’s “Shiny Happy People.”

In St. Petersburg I listened to “Things” by Maggie Lindemann, and a station in Moscow was playing “Addicted” by Saving Abel.  Halfway between St. Petersburg and Moscow the city of Tver lies at the junction of the Volga and Tvertsa Rivers.  In Tver there is an 18th century Imperial Palace housing Russian artwork and a university botanical garden that protects rare plants.  They also like Kygo and Selena Gomez (“It Ain’t Me”).  

Buzuluk does not appear to be a hopping place to visit as Trip Advisor shows only 5 “Things to Do,” with the most interesting being the Tikhvin Holy Monastery where it is noted that one could spend 2 or 3 hours.  All of the reviews are in Russian, however, so it may be a difficult place to visit if you don’t speak the language.  Still…the folks were getting Offaiah’s “Private Show” on the radio last night.

My most surprising stop was in Veliky Novgorod, known as the “birthplace of Russia,” which is also home to the beautiful Cathedral of St. Sophia, the oldest church in the country.  The city’s Center of Musical Antiquities is dedicated to the ancient musical culture of the city and the restoration of musical instruments of the 10th to 15th centuries.  Still, I was startled to hear an “ancient” American tune — Ella Fitzgerald singing “Undecided” from 1939!

If you’ve never tried Radio Garden, give the globe a spin.




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