Saturday, April 20, 2019

Oyme - "Horol Ebel" (music video)

Oyme is one of the few bands whose news I follow very closely. They're an unique all-female project whose mission is to collect the authentic folk music of Finno-Ugric minorities of Russia (the cultures unfourtunately very few people care about), and to make its modern interpretations. However, this new song and music video is based on the pre-Islamic folklore of the Nakh-Dagestani (more precisely, Avar) people:

The leading voice of Oyme, Ezhevika Spirkina, is a professional ethnomusicologist that's very happy to answer any question about the cultures she studies. Last year she spent quite a lot of time and efforts to gather the obscure musical folklore of rural parts of Dagestan (she met with the members of Inoe, among others), and the first results you can see in the video above. The name of the song and video translates to "Mother of Wind", which is a reference to a pre-Islamic Avar deity.

It should be noted, though, that this work got a lot of flak from both the radical nationalist elements among the Finno-Ugric peoples (which perceived an interest in a non-FU culture, especially a Muslim one, as a betrayal, although being interested in different cultures is a crucially important part of being a good ethnographer), and some strictly religious people in Dagestan which didn't take well the perceived pagan connotations of the video (even if Ezhevika explicitly stated that's now what the video is about). Some of them also didn't like her attire - which is surely un-Islamic, and doesn't need to be (needless to say she's also a model with a very beautiful figure, and she has every right to be proud of it).

The band themselves view the "Horol Ebel" video as a multi-layered work, which is, among other things, a social project that concerns the cultural heritage of humanity transcending the national/ethnic and religious boundaries. The video was filmed in Gamsutl, a historical village in the mountainous rural Dagestan, which is mostly abandoned and ruined by now. Oyme expresses hope for the minor languages to live on, and the heritage monuments like Gamsutl, or Notre-Dame de Paris, or the Dormition Church in Karelia, to be restored.

Feel free to share the video anywhere you want.

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