Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Oyme - "Vaya" [2017 single]

First off: I'm finished with posting everything I planned, so I can lay this blog to rest until the end of this summer. If there will be any new posts in the next couple of months, there will be very few. I have a lot of travel plans for this summer, and I don't want to turn this place into a travel blog (I already use my Instagram account for it). The first destination on my list is Mordovia, to where I hopefully will go tomorrow. This time I plan on visiting some rural areas where the Erzyan culture (to which my ancestors almost certainly have belonged) is still alive and well, and right now there will be a few words about a band who did a great work to preserve that culture.

The regular readers of my blog might be already familiar with Oyme (which means"Soul" in Erzya), a Moscow-based all-female group with Mordovian roots who performs mostly authentic folk songs in Mordvinic and other Finno-Ugric languages. This song, however, while being based on a traditional Erzyan wedding song, has a modern electronic sound arrangement, and it's described by the band as "industrial folk", which I find to be very accurate. It's also their first song to get a proper music video, which touches on the subjects such as ecology and the fate of the minority ethnic cultures in the era of globalization. It was shot on a very cold day near Moscow and took a lot of effort from the band, but the result was worth it.

Oyme's frontwoman Ezhevika is a very interesting person who as a professional ethnomusicologist has done a lot to collect the obscure folk music of various (mostly Finno-Ugric and Nakh-Dagestani) minorities in Russia, which otherwise might vanish into oblivion in the near future. While I don't agree with some of her depictions of the traditional Finno-Ugric cultures (which more resemble the idealized view of "Old Europe" by Marija Gimbutas), her dedication to her work is remarkable. I was very happy to see Oyme live last summer, and I still maintain contact with Ezhevika via social media.

By the way, Ezhevika is also an amateur model, and her main point of pride is her long legs. Interestingly, the beauty of female legs is a major theme in Erzyan folklore, which was already noticed in the XIX century by ethnographers such as Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky (and I also find it far more attractive than the current mainstream beauty standards promoted by the likes of Kim Kardashian). So I think Ezhevika has every right to say that her Erzyan legs are a part of Erzyan culture too :) The musical instrument in first two photos is called "gaitjamo", in case if anyone's wondering:

 
 

The last photo was made in my city BTW, and now it's time for me to pay a visit to Mordovia too. Wish me luck in my travels!

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