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Nina Nastasia: Parachute me down to the Moscow underground

Nina Nastasia In Moscow

Concerts of interesting foreign musicians in Moscow are not rare these days; however the arrival of Nina Nastasia from NY came as a real surprise for me and my boyfriend Mikhail, for about a year already enjoying her dazzling records. Nina is not widely known in this country yet, but she undoubtedly deserves most live attention. Femininely alluring and manly strong, compassionate and somber her songs are life-asserting and contributing to high spirits.

Nina Nastasias albums have been produced by Steve Albini who also worked with the Pixies, Nirvana, the Bennies, Will Oldham and many other topnotch musicians. John Peel (1939 2004) was under the spell of her voice and not once invited her to his famous radio program John Peel Sessions. The last concert recorded at Peels Nina played with marvelous Tuvinian musicians of the Huun-Huur-Tu ensemble, genuine, enchanting and perfectly harmonious.

Nina Nastasias concerts in Moscow started with the TV program ProSvet by Dmitry Dibrov and the Goldenmask Club festival, which we missed the chance to see. But we made up for it by visiting two concerts in clubs Project OGI and Jao Da.

Nina Nastasia [Proekt OGI, April 15, 2006] Jim White on drums [Proekt OGI, April 15, 2006] Dylan Willemsa on violin [Proekt OGI, April 15, 2006]

The cramped and smoky den of OGI was cordial as ever but less crowded than usual: not so many music lovers came to listen to Nina. Many of the visitors were there by pure accident. Certain bewilderment Nina had at the beginning she endeavored to shake off with draughts of wine. Slightly screwed drummer Jim White (member of the Dirty Three band) and Dylan Willemsa on violin led by Nina Nastasia gave an unforgettable performance. The most impressive gloomy song I Say That I Will Go is still reverberating in my head it sounded just the way best fit for that very night: stunning and throwing all restraints aside. Nina sang songs from her three official albums and songs we never heard before. There were songs we couldnt keep from joining in: Ugly Face, Stormy Weather, Underground and others.

You are so serene

Underneath the waves

You are watching me

Trapped in my saddle shoes.

Parachute me down, to your cold, cold underground,

Save me, save me

Thats Underground, one of my favorite songs, so beautiful and profound, touching something most vital deep down within. She sang it specially for us this time and was afraid she wouldnt recall the lyrics, but we assured her we would help in case she didnt. Nina coped with it all right. Thank you, Nina!

The energy that night could not probably have been better. Just perfect!

Four days later Nina gave a solo concert in Jao Da. Her musicians had gone back home and she was there on stage alone with her guitar facing the Russians. But in fact most of the public were foreigners. The dimmed lights and the overall setting was an excellent fit for a chamber music concert. Naturally the acoustic program and the execution of songs differed from the previous concert.

Nina Nastasia [Jao Da, April 19, 2006] Nina Nastasia [Jao Da, April 19, 2006] Nina Nastasia [Jao Da, April 19, 2006]

The third song was Underground now she sang it tenderly, just the way we had heard it at Peels records. Some notes on paper sheets that Nina put on the floor in front of her prompted her difficult lines from her splendid fresh songs. Most probably her new album is just around the corner.

After the concert we did not miss the opportunity to thank Nina personally and chat a bit with her.

At this concert Nina did not sing her tuneful song All Your Life. And thats for the better, as there is such a line in that song: Shes never coming back. That means shes going to come back here.

Its a pity I dont speak Russianbut I see its not a problemI want to say its really been great experience for me to be hereit feels likeI dont knowlike Ive been understood, said Nina in the middle of her third concert in Moscow.

April 24, 2006 14:21

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