The club Platforma was packed on Monday. Some fans were even locked outside the launch party for the long-awaited ?Huiniya,? the joint album by Leningrad and bizarre U.K. cabaret trio The Tiger Lillies.
By Sergey Chernov
Photo by Alexander Belenky / SPT
The club Platforma was packed on Monday. Some fans were even
locked outside the launch party for the long-awaited ?Huiniya,? the
joint album by Leningrad and bizarre U.K. cabaret trio The Tiger
What?s more, there was no concert planned, though
indistinctly worded advertizing had led many to believe there would be.
Instead, the crowd was only treated with a documentary about the
recording sessions and the album itself.
Absurdly, the album
that was recorded over three days at St. Petersburg?s Dobrolyot Studios
in Sept. 2003 was still not in sight. Having been postponed for various
reasons quite a few times since then, it even failed to appear on the
last confirmed date of Jan. 15.
According to Pavel Golovin of
the Moscow-based label/promoter BadTaStE, which represents the British
band in Russia, no new release date has been set.
?[Leningrad?s record label] Shnur?OK and The Tiger Lillies are busy
discussing contractural problems at the moment,? he said by phone this
week. ?It will be on sale immediately after they agree on the contract.?
All the same, Leningrad?s Sergei Shnurov seemed proud of the album at the so-called launch party on Monday.
?I listened to it again recently, and I like it even better than before,? he said.
?It is rough, but it?s good just because it?s rough. It?s spontaneous
and it reflects the spirit of what was happening [in the studio],
nothing has been tidied up.?
The 14-track CD contains 12 of
Leningrad?s takes on The Tiger Lillies?songs, with the song ?Alkash?
(Drunk) based on the British band?s ?Swine? represented in two
versions, and two Leningrad songs, ?Vodka? and ?Psikh? (Madman),
performed by the trio.
Shnurov said ?Suka? (Bitch) and ?Sud?
(Judgment Day), the latter being a reworking of The Tiger Lillies?s
?Crack of Doom,? were his favorites on the album.
?There?s very little what left from the original; we?ve transfigured all the music and lyrics.?
Shnurov shares singer and songwriter Martyn Jacques?s interest in urban
lowlife, so the drunks and sluts from The Tiger Lillies?s songs suit
the album, but the religious subjects of ?Judgment Day? and ?Hell? are
somewhat foreign to Leningrad.
?It was OK for me to sing it,
but I did reject many songs,? said Shnurov, adding that he was given
all The Tiger Lillies?albums to choose from.
Shnurov, who does
not speak English, wrote the Russian lyrics from translations by a
Moscow friend credited as ?Mamont? (Mammoth) in the album?s sleeve
?He did word-for-word translations, and I was doing
little poems out of them ? but I ignored the songs?meaning altogether,?
said Shnurov, who wrote lyrics for the song ?Rvota? (Vomit), based on
The Tiger Lillies?s ?Fishheads,? on his knee in 10 minutes in the
corridor while the band was going through an instrumental part in the
The song ?Nashe Show? (Our Show) is taken from The
Tiger Lillies??Cheapest Show,? but while Jacques sings about a bad
circus troupe, Shnurov?s version is about a band that might well be
Leningrad. Shnurov claimed the meaning was totally different.
?They sing about a circus, but not about themselves,? he said.
?Our context is absolutely different. They sing, ?Look, what a horrible
circus exists somewhere, in a mythical space,?but in our version this
circus is us. It?s about show business, in a way.?
among early Russian fans of The Tiger Lillies in the late 1990s and was
profoundly influenced by the band when working on Leningrad?s second
album ?Mat (Bez Electrichestva).?
The no-frills, minimalist
album released in December 1999 became a breakthrough for Leningrad,
with Shnurov, who wrote all the band?s material and played bass, also
taking up vocals, after the band?s first vocalist Igor Vdovin had quit.
One of the album?s highlights was ?Diky Muzhchina? (?Wild Man?), adapted from Jacques?song ?Whore.?
In a way, ?Huiniya? sounds a bit similar to ?Mat,? a similarity that appeals to Shnurov, he said.
The idea of the collaboration came at The Tiger Lillies?concert at Red
Club in April 2003, when Shnurov paid his respect to the trio by making
a surprise appearance to sing ?Wild Man/Whore? with The Tiger Lillies
BadTaStE?s Sergei Korsakov suggested it to Shnurov and he jumped to at the chance.
?It was simply interesting to me; I had no other thoughts at all,? said Shnurov. ?I like to set myself impossible tasks.?
?Sergei is a really good singer; he is probably even a better singer
than people realize,? said Jacques soon after the recording sessions
with Leningrad. ?I think he?s got seeds of greatness in him.?
?He?s got an emotion. I think Sergei?s voice is lived-in; he?s a person
who?s seen things, suffered,? he said. ?I think he?s got that kind of