“..you don’t need to tell about Russia
to the foreign people. It’ll better to them
to listen to the cd of the Pokrovsky Ensemble.”
The Dmitry Pokrovsky Ensemble was founded by prominest musician, scientist and researcher of Russian national culture Dmitry Pokrovsky(1944-1996) in Moscow in 1973 as a «living laboratory» for the study of different Russian folk traditions.
The Ensemble was the first group of professional musicians who performed the folk music in authentic village styles at the academic scene. To learn the essence of the village music, Ensemble's members have traveled the lenght and breadth of rural Russia, documenting and studying to perform themselves the music traditions they encountered. The special vocal school of Ensemble based on various styles of traditional Russian singing is absolutely unique.
It is difficult to find now another collective of singers that can conquer the audience with their original interpretation of classic and avant-garde musical compositions, having a large repertoire of Russian village music of different traditions and styles.
The variety of the Ensemble’s interests is seen in their constant collaboration with different musicians, contemporary composers, theatrical directors and filmmakers..
The Ensemble had been performing modern music, working together with many modern composers and at the same time having classical compositions in its repertoire. Having introduced western audiences to Russian traditional and modern music, the Ensemble has become a figure of world music culture.
01. Epic Song
02. Birch Tree on the Sea
03. Where Have You Been You
05. 116TH Psalm of King David
06. Girls Are Walking
08. Green Grass
09. Prayer of a Young Man
10. Down in Kiev
12. Friends Horsemen
15. Soft Light
16. First Commandment
Angry folk-country-punk-blues, whatever, banjo wielding showman Eller sings dark and ageless tunes. An excellent and highly intriguing singer/songwriter who is based in New York City, Curtis Eller has successfully brought a variety of influences to his unorthodox folk-rock vision. The banjo-playing Eller’s work has an old-time feel, drawing on an abundance of direct or indirect influences from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s (including country singer Jimmie Rodgers, cowboy icon Gene Autry, and Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson). But Eller’s material is far from a carbon copy of music from that era — there is plenty of rock bite and attitude in his rootsy work, which also contains elements of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and the ballsy outlaw country of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Eller, consciously or unconsciously, reminds listeners what Dylan, Cash, Son House, Pete Seeger, and Haggard have in common — they are all known for being effective storytellers, and storytelling is where Eller himself shines.
The Queens resident is clearly fascinated by American history; he has written about the American Civil War, silent film star Buster Keaton (who he considers a strong influence), and aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Quite often, Eller’s subject matter can be dark; “Alaska” is about a mining disaster, and “The Execution of Black Diamond” was inspired by a bizarre 1929 incident in which a circus elephant was paraded through the streets of a small Texas town and “executed” (the mayor took the first shot) after attacking and killing a local woman. Circuses, in fact, are a major interest of Eller, who studied juggling when he was a kid and calls his band Curtis Eller’s American Circus. Eller has often said that his goal as a performer is to “capture the spirit of the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944,” a tragedy that cost 167 people their lives and became the worst disaster in the Connecticut city’s history.
A circus inferno is a bizarre way to measure artistic or creative success, but then, Eller’s eccentricity is part of what makes his work so interesting. A website on the history of Hartford has posted the lyrics to “Hartford, CT,” an Eller song describing the World War II-era tragedy. Another unusual thing about Eller is the way he plays the banjo, his primary instrument. Instead of playing it in an exuberant, bluegrass-like fashion, Eller often makes the banjo sound moody, haunting, and dark — in Eller’s hands, the banjo becomes the perfect instrument for songs about mining disasters and circus tragedies.
Originally from Detroit, MI, Eller listened to a variety of music when he was growing up in the Motor City — everyone from Son House to Iggy Pop. After leaving Detroit, he spent some time in North Carolina, where he was the musical director for a local theater troupe. But Eller grew disenchanted with the theater and moved to New York City (where he made music his primary focus). His third album, Wirewalkers & Assassins, continues to explore and expand upon the themes and influences (both musically and lyrically) from his previous work. Overall, the music on the album is a little fuller and darker than his previous albums.
01. After the Soil Fails
02. John Wilkes Booth (Don't Make Us Beg)
03. Hartford Circus Fire, 1944
04. Sugar For the Horses
05. The Curse of Cain
06. Sweatshop Fire
07. Plea of the Aerialist's Wife
08. Daisy Josephine
09. Firing Squad
10. Save Me Joe Louis
THE AMERICAN CIRCUS:
Curtis Eller: Banjo, Lead Vocal
Chris Moore: Drums, Percussion
Gary Langol: Lasp Steel, Upright Bass, Organ, Mandolin
Joseph "Joebass" DeJarnette: Upright Bass
Liisa Yonker: Harmony Vocal
Marilee Eitner: Squeezebos and Harmony
Gerald Menke: Pedal Steel
Amy Kahn: Accordion
Rima Fand: Violin, Harmony Vocal