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- Posted on Aug 12th 2008 2:00PM by David Chiu
From 2008's 'Everyone Is Crying Out to Me, Beware'
Singer Yanka Dyagileva is not exactly a household name to most American music listeners, but in her native Russia she is sort of regarded as a cult icon. The musical career of this artist from Novosibirsk, Siberia was brief -- she apparently drowned in 1991 at age 24 as the Soviet Union was crumbling. However, her haunting punk-folk influenced music lives on today through Alina Simone, a Russian-American musician originally from Massachusetts.
Simone recently released 'Everyone Is Crying Out to Me, Beware,' an album in which she covers Dyagileva's songs and sings entirely in Russian. One of its tracks, 'From Great Knowledge,' is a beautiful ballad that captures Dyagileva's melancholy and despair.
The original track by Dyagileva is over three minutes long featuring just her voice and some hard and fast strumming on the guitar. Simone's version of 'From Great Knowledge' lasts over six minutes due to a much slower tempo. Her singing is augmented by mournful-sounding electric guitar, cello, percussion and trumpet, which all lends to the song's level of atmosphere and tension.
Dyagileva's lyrics on 'From Great Knowledge' quite bluntly express the late singer's dissatisfaction with life: "From a beautiful soul, only scabs and lice/From universal love, only mugs in blood." But you don't have to understand Russian to be moved by the song's stark mood and the emotive delivery by Simone, whose voice at times is reminiscent of one of her idols, Sinead O' Connor.
Simone accomplishes what she set out to do: pay tribute to an artist who died young but made an important impact on Russian rock music.
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