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February 23, 1999

Life in Rostov


by Julia Urakcheeva

Rostov-on-Don is a big-enough city. People here differ, and the music they listen to differs as well. To begin with, there are a lot of Armenians and Georgians in our city. It seems they all are extremely fond of their folk music. Russians aren’t. Russian folk music is enjoyed by very few people.

Generally speaking, every social group has its own musical tastes. Tell me what you listen to and I’ll tell you who you are. You hear “Oh, thief’s life...” or smth. When you yell out of the car window the kind of talk that can land you in jail - be sure the owner of the car is New Russian or bratok (one form of the gang). These are peculiarities of our life today.

Ruki ëverkh (“Hands up!”) will give a concert in Rostov. One thing that’s for sure: there will be no free ticket. All the Rostov girls aged about 15 (or older but have poor musical taste!) will be yelling and jumping up and down there. There is an army of girls all around Russia who love such “boy-groups” as Ivanushki International and Ruki ëverkh. The good-look of these guys means much more than the quality of The scornful name for the pop-music of this kind is popsa. The critics constantly laugh at their senseless lyrics. However, there are some pop groups that are loved nation-wide - more stylish, more individual, more refined. Masha & Medvedi (“Mary & the Bears”) and Moomi-Troll were sensationally successful last year.

There are rappers and ravers, rockers and bluesmen, metallists and punks in Rostov. It’s no problem buying the cassettes and CD’s you like.

The intellectual elite listens to classical music. The concerts given by Rostov Philarmonic Orchestra are very popular. (And we’ve also got the Conservatory and the Musical Comedy Theatre.)

There are more than 10 Rostov radios which all have their own niche. The elderly generation listens to Nostalgie. Teenagers like Radio 103 with its electronic rhythms. Europa plus Rostov promotes foreign hits mostly. The absolute favorites of the last and this seasons are Sher with Believe, Scooter with How much is the fish, and Madonna with her last album Ray of Light.


Rostov is recognized as one of the so-called progressive music centers. The Association of Violet Points (progressive music shops painted in bright violet) started in Rostov has now expanded to the whole Northern Caucasus.

Teenagers hang out at the endless rave and house parties. Most DJ’s who are well known in the city promote electronic music. Two DJ’s made their own musical project, PPK. But still, I have to admit that their musical creations are too boring to listen to - for instance - all night long. Maybe, it’s only a personal point of view. But the fact is that lots of young people love ECLECTICA, parties where the best examples of different styles combine. 120-beat/minute drum-n-bass rhythm followed by good old rock-n-roll. Then everybody dances! It seems the Rostovites - even 20 year-old ones - feel a deep nostalgia. Jazz, blues and rock-n-roll are extremely popular with many people, especially among students and people in the same age group of the musicians. There is a Rock-n-Roll Club where you can meet serious Elvis Presley fans and the experts in Billy Holiday’s discography. The center of this alternative culture is Dunkan Club. Its little stage was the place of debuts (premierras and openings) for many Rostov blues and rock-n-roll collectives (i.e. Amurskie Volny and Sputnik-Vostok, which are popular all over the country nowadays). Dunkan Club really advertises itself, but the habitues know the party days!

In the 60’s in Rostov there lived a man who played jazz, though it was prohibited as capitalist propaganda! The rebel’s name was Kim Nazaretoff, and nowadays the City Jazz Band is named in his honor.

Julia Urakcheeva is a second-year university student from Rostov-on-Don, Mobile’s sister city. Ms. Urakcheeva will be reporting about life in Rostov in future issues.

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