Saturday, 29 August 2009

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward. Hey!

David Krakauer brought a sense of modernity to klezmer music by adding the electric guitar; but Klezmer Madness still essentially played traditional klezmer music.

The Ukrainians on the other hand took Ukrainian folk music and fused it with a post punk sound.
This kind of makes sense when you consider the majority of the band were first generation British with Ukrainian roots and had served their apprenticeship with the Leeds based indie band The Wedding Present.

With an interest in the music of their ancestors - apparently The Wedding Present would often play around with Ukrainian folk songs and perform Ukrainian styled covers of pop hits due to the Ukrainian fringe within the band - combined with the kind of music The Wedding Present were more associated with it seemed a natural progression to bring the two genres together - although it must be said, when The Ukrainians really went for it they were far more powerful and energetic than The wedding Present ever were.
So, following on from the last post - Cossack dance music isn't a million miles away from the East European influenced klezmer style - here is a couple of early Ukrainians' recordings.

Their first single 'Oi Dovchino' was released as a limited edition [?] 12"; I've no idea how limited the pressing was, but it was available enough to become NME's single of the week; the review describing it as sounding like "The Pogues wired up to an Atomic Speed Generator by their knackers".

It is a great introduction to their music; as well as containing two tracks, one live, that are unique to this e.p.
So even if you own the first album, which 'Oi Dovchino' is lifted from, this recording still compliments that recording perfectly.

The Ukrainians - Oi Dovchino e.p. (1991)

Oi Dovchino
Sertsem i Dusheyu

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
12 inches of Cossack here

The other recording offered here is a Peel session.
My own original source says it was from 1993, but I'm unable to confirm this - it's not the famous collection of Smiths' songs they did for a Peel show; it's later; it may be one of the sessions that was included on the album of Peel sessions released in 2000 (the final four tracks, I think) - although that seems to be ridiculously unobtainable: Amazon Market Place has one copy: £199.99! I kid you not check it out.

More so with the Peel session than the single, the band's post punk roots are far more evident; proving that as a live band they were bursting with energy, producing highly charged music that just makes you wish you'd been born a Cossack.

On seeing The Ukrainians live in the early Nineties at Lampeter University, I really thought I had invented a new kind of dance; a sort of Cossack-pogo.
But rather than others approaching me with the adoration offered to Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, I was actually taken to one side by the student security and told that if I didn't calm down I'd be ejected from the building.

I don't know; give a student a little bit of power and they turn into Uncle Joe: someone else who persecuted Cossacks.

Decent cassette rip @320kbs
Peel yourself a Cossack here

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