Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Modern Russian Music Unit: 5

When people think of Russian music the first thing to come to their head is classical music written by famous Russian composers in the 19th and 20th centuries. They think of violins, brass instruments, and winds. However, the music scene in Russia has changed drastically in the 21st century. Russian music culture actually closely mirrors Western cultures like the US.
A very popular movement in Russia is pop music. This modern phenomenon has exploded across the country. There are entire T.V shows dedicated to it like MTV Russia or Muz TV. There has even been a Russian pop group, t.A.T.u, to break through the charts of Russia and gain Western recognition. Due to the group's success, many other groups have popped up around the country and are gaining recognition. However, in the pop industry, there are a handful of producers that control most of the market. This system hasn't changed much since the Soviet Union.
Rock is also a popular movement in Russia. Like Western cultures, Russian rock ranges from punk and alternative to heavy metal and grunge. The progressive message that heavy metal bands convey in Russia has gained considerable popularity and has gathered a significant following. The youth mostly listen to pop and alternative much like many Western cultures. There is actually a music festival in Russia that brings in a crowd of roughly 100,000 each year. It is dubbed the Russian Woodstock because of the rock culture and the massive attendance.
Russia also has other, less dominant genres of music such as folk rock, trip rock, and even reggie and hip hop. However, they have one movement that is foreign to Western culture. This movement is labeled Russian chanson. It consists of the underground crime community and it mixes criminal songs, bard, and romance stories. The main constituency of this genre is lower-class adult males.
Although Russia may not be as up with the times as most Western pop cultures, they are breaking the stigma of stoic classical music. Russia has a huge and rapidly growing modern music culture and I believe that they will be competitive with the rest of the world within the next few years. I find it interesting that even with the new music movement, Russia still has their historic culture of ballet and classical, romantic culture. Their ability to have these two cultures coexist is a rarity in the world today. If they keep this up they could very well be a powerhouse of musical entertainment

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