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*Sochi Singers *

ays and th ik and fine And I’m r f Sochi for r you and


hree e cognac ready r me


Restaurant Zhemchuzhina Novomikhailovsky

* Zelenoglazoe taksi *


Restaurant Katusha Sochi

* Zhelest *


Restaurant Yug Kudepsta

* A dlya vas ya nikto *


Restaurant Balaeva Sochi

* Perekrestok semi dorog * 


Restaurant Raduga Khosta

* Nu vot i vse * 


Restaurant Eurasia Sochi

* Kuriu * 


The sun was shini brighter /Than in Madagascar I wish you all goo health /I wish you could live a hundr years /That you and your children will know no grief


Restaurant Romashka Sochi

* Gorod Sochi * 


Restaurant Sochi Sochi

* Mezhdu nebom i zemley * 


Restaurant Slaviansky Dvorik Sochi

* Bez Tebya * 


You have plunged a knife into my heart. I can forg you anyth But not be trayal and lies.


Restaurant Tri Kedra Sochi

* Sorry seems to be the hardest word * 


Restaurant Vody Lagidze Sochi

* Strana Svetsi *


Restaurant Shelkovy Putj Sochi

* Quando, Quando, Quando * 


Restaurant Idillia Adler

* Poteriala ya kolechko * 


Restaurant Odisseya Loo

* Kuriu * 


Restaurant Sabrina Loo

* Kayfuem * 


Restaurant Rendevu Loo

* Davai pogovorim * 


Like a sea without waves so I only have you, Sukhumi I know every rock on your shore, Sukhum


s

i…

mi…


* Sochi Singers *


Young and old, because seniors refuse to be banned from the dance floor. With skirts hitched up and breasts strapped down, davay, the women are off. Older men excel at dancing as though they have just sat in a red ants’ nest. Small children are hoisted onto shoulders or wrap their arms around a partner their own size. After each song the dancers shuffle back to their tables, but often turn around again midway when they hear the beat of the next number.

The modern Russian chanson is also called popsa, giving disco, house and pop music influences their own place in the genre. Although our Russian interpreter and – it appears - chanson specialist can tell us precisely whether a song is chanson or popsa, we struggle to make a distinction. In theory, popsa is pop music while chansons are ballads. However, many chansons have also been given a thumping beat. The chansons of past and present are often remixed into house music numbers which young and old can dance and sing along to.

Chansons are Russian ballads, but the comparison with French chansons is only partial. The songs have their origins in the age-old Russian tradition of labour camps and prisons. They are tragic songs, about lost loves, life on the taiga and the longing for home. The prison songs were mostly sung by men with raw, rough voices. The typical prison genre still exists, but nowadays the term ‘chanson’ more often refers to the saccharine genre of Russianlanguage dance music. It is usually accompanied by a heavy disco beat and occasionally even a dash of techno. We rarely encounter acoustic music on our trip along the boulevards of the Russian costa.

‘A bunch of white roses, love lingers in each petal.’ Like an amusement park, the sickly sweet music is fired on the million or so tourists crowding the long coastline around Sochi. It is inescapable. If there is no singer performing his tricks, the music pounds from huge speakers, and if there are no speakers, the music blares from several televisions. The same songs are played everywhere. You could fill notebooks with the number of times Biz Tebya (Without You) is played. Chansons and Sochi belong together like sausage and mash. Those looking for a relaxing holiday would do well to come in the winter, because in the summer Sochi is the capital of the Russian chanson.


Every self-respecting restaurant has a singer. Restaurants that have to share the cramped space on the riverbank – like at Sochi’s desirable Riviera Park location – have built special singing booths of ribbed glass to direct the sound towards their own restaurant. These stand back to back with the booth of the next restaurant. It does little good. In restaurant Romashka it is a cacophony of different songs. Many guests seem to appreciate this and choose the exact spot where the sound converges. Two songs for the price of one. And why not?

The singers are all ages. The older and more serious they are, the greater the chance that they were classically trained, at the Conservatory in Rostov or Krasnodar, sometimes even in Moscow or St Petersburg. For 50 euros a night they are happy to display their vocal talent. Some do it all year round, others move from restaurant to restaurant throughout the summer. Some work solo, others form duos. Some accompany themselves on a synthesizer, while others play real instruments. And while some put their heart and soul into the songs, others seem miles away.

The promenades in the various resorts are almost identical: packed with the same wooden souvenir stands and a long row of restaurants, almost all serving the same food and playing the same kind of music. There must be thousands of them; the singers who grace the dinner and drink joints every evening with their chansons and popsa.

The region’s promenades extend for dozens of kilometres, from Adler in the south to Dzhubga in the north. The coastline is composed of long stretches of pebble beach, concrete and the occasional tuft of grass. To visit the resorts, we take the slow train from Dzhubga back to Sochi. The train lives up to its name, stopping every few hundred metres or so at another station, often nestled in a small valley where rivers flowing down from the mountains are hemmed in by apartments, hotels, a promenade and beach. In the few places where there are no beaches or hotels, the train passes the rugged foothills of the Caucasus, through which the road winds with difficulty.


Our conversation is interrupted by a passing train. Then the woman next to us interrupts. Ekaterina, she introduces herself. ‘Sochi is the Florida of Russia,’ she says, ‘but cheaper. My daughter lives in Kansas and we bought an apartment together in Sochi, so that I can retire here. It’s heavenly. The climate is subtropical but you can hike in the cool mountains whenever you want.’

Vasya sits on a concrete slope with pebbles and rusty piers that run into the sea. A cameraman from Moscow, he has just completed an assignment in Abkhazia further to the south. He is now enjoying a short holiday in Adler, just over the border. His older girlfriend Yulia has come with him. She has stuck two silver stars over her nipples; topless sunbathing is not done in Russia. ‘Look around you,’ Vasya points to the stone desert. ‘It’s fantastic.’ The waves break on the beach and make a magical sound as they retreat, dragging the pebbles with them. The sound almost drowns out the popsa and house music coming from various phones and ghetto blasters. ‘There aren’t many good nightclubs, but hey, we Muscovites are spoiled.’ Yulia’s only reservation is ‘all the Caucasians’ who live here. ‘We’re from Moscow and the culture here is very different. There are more Muslims.’

Sochi’s coastal region almost exclusively attracts Russian tourists. They arrive by plane, or more often by train and car. The point where the road through the mountains finally reaches the sea is bursting with roadside campers, exhausted from the journey but glad to finally see the sea. Or they hang out of train windows, sweaty and unwashed, hankering for the beach and fresh sea breeze after travelling for 24-hours from Moscow or a week from Siberia.

The restaurants further from the promenades attract older visitors and families. In Novy Afon restaurant, the dance floor is empty. An exhausted group huddles around a table. The music renders most conversation impossible, but the guests do not seem to mind. After a long, scorching day on the beach, in the amusement parks, gardens and shops, most of them seem to enjoy losing themselves in the dramatic lyrics of chansons and popsa. ‘My soul cannot sleep without you,’ issues almost cheerfully from the speakers. Satisfied heads bob to and fro. ‘I am beaten and crushed and am writing to you for the last time...’ and at the table the guests drink a toast.


The locals have little choice but to put up with it. Well-heeled Russians take refuge in Sochi’s fancier hotels or more often opt for Italy, Turkey or Thailand. The Olympic Games in Sochi may bring the level of quality that would keep the Bzdykhs away. It is more likely, however, that as a result the city would become more expensive, chaotic and crowded, making it difficult even for the Bzdykhs to come on holiday here and listen to their favourite chansons or popsa hits.

The smell of sunscreen, sweat, alcohol and roasting meat pervades the air. On the beaches, perspiring men with baskets of blackberries, popcorn and corn advertise their wares. Respectable families and drunks carrying large bottles of beer walk side by side. In the alleys and streets behind the beach, clouds of smoke from grilling shashlik drift upwards. On the promenades, voluptuous girls lure visitors to the attractions. Throwing darts at balloons, shooting, having the skin on your feet nibbled off by special fish, parasailing, banana boating, posing for a photo with wild black people – whatever takes your fancy. The real inhabitants of Sochi can be found in the residential neighbourhoods behind the promenades, far from the incessant flow of tourists. They disdainfully call the tourists Bzdykhs, a word unknown outside Sochi. But anyone who has been to a beach resort understands what it means: the overweight bodies sweating beer and spirits, the bare torsos in sandals, the noisy eaters surrounded by drunken bluster and tacky music.

Many tourists come from far-flung places like Murmansk, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Tagil or Novosibirsk. Yelena is from Novy Urengoy. She has spent days on end lying motionless on the beach. She occasionally rotates her arms to distribute as much sun over her body as evenly as possible. ‘Where I live, summer lasts three weeks; there’s snow and ice until late May. And when summer finally arrives, so do the mosquitoes. We spend three weeks slapping ourselves and itching.’ This is paradise in comparison.


The long, hot summer is coming to an end. On our last evening on the coast we walk into restaurant Lilya. Just at that moment, a singer wearing leopard-print trousers starts playing our favourite song, Digi Digi – no translation – which we had been bombarded with in every bar in the North Caucasus on previous trips. When the song ends, the most beautiful woman in the world takes the microphone and begins to sing provocatively in a whiskey-soaked voice. ‘Deep inside, I cry cry cry,’ she croons the instant classic and we melt. We order another carafe of vodka and gherkins and like a couple of melancholic Russians stare silently at the stage. For a moment, everyone is in love. As the evening draws to a close, the woman seems to be singing just for us. ‘We’re leaving, but we’ll come back to where the sun melts into the haze of autumn.’


Novomikhailovsky

Bl ac ea S k

Adler

Sochi Khosta

Dagomys

Loo

Lazarevskaya


Johannes Abeling Antoine Achten David K. Adams Liesbeth van Aerssen Paul van Akkeren Jeroen Akkermans Yulan van Alphen Johannes Amm Brechje Asselbergs Neville Austin Inga Lara Baldvinsdottir Harry Barkema Peter Bartak Saskia Barth Eugenijus Barzdzius Det Bazelmans Stefan Becker Rainer Berg Nele van den Berghe Danielle van Berkel Joost M. Beunderman Mark Beunderman Marc Bierings J.J.M. van de Bijl Leontine Bijman Michel Angelo Binsbergen Eefje Blankevoort Victor Blankevoort Niels Blekemolen Jelle Bloem Kees Boef Roos Boer Maarten Boerma Flip Bool Kris Borgerink Chloe Borkett Jack Bos Nicolaas Bot Gerwin Botterhuis Els Bovenberg Allan Bovill Enda Bowe Valentijn Brandt Patrick Bras Karel de Bree Jacco Brink Corine van den Broek Marca van den broek Gerard Broersen Anke van Bruggen Erik van Bruggen Janny en Popke van Bruggen Irma Bulkens Heleen Bulthuis Tessa Bunney Simon Burer Melchior Bussink

Sochi Singers is the third annual publication produced as part of The Sochi Project.

Photography: © Rob Hornstra / INSTITUTE. Courtesy Flatland Gallery NL | Paris. Text: © Arnold van Bruggen / Prospektor Translation: Cecily Layzell Design: Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht Printed by: Drukkerij Slinger, Alkmaar Print run: 1,000

© The Sochi Project 2011 / www.thesochiproject.org

Thanks to:

Colophon David Campbell Stefan Canham Theo Captein Nelson Chan Jasmin Chang Francesco Chiericoni David Christensen Sally Clark Chris Clement Toon de Clerck Joerg Colberg Rutger Colenbrander Color Utrecht Giorgio Comai Jeannette Cornelisse L.J.A.D. Creyghton Benno van Daalen Nelson Daires Alessandro Dandini de Sylva Dieter Danzer Adrian Davies Laura De Marco Debras Debras Maartje Degenaar Els Dekker Hans Dekker Helga Dichte Andrea Diefenbach Emilio D’Itri Martin Dixon Stichting Doel Zonder Naam Carola van Dongen de Boer Ivan Donovan Albert Doorenbos Jochem Driest Derk Duit Marc Duponcel Tom Dziomba Chris Ecclestone Simen Edvardsen Janus van den Eijnden Simone van Eik Anna Eikelboom Jan Pieter Ekker Simon Eliasson Hanna Emmering Frank van den Engel Michael Ensdorf Leo Erken Peter Evans Nicole Ex Asselbergs Sarah Eyre Federico Ferrari Silva Ferretti Olivier Fierens Richard Fieten Eva Flendrie Peter Flik Joeri Folman

Markus Franke Klaas Fris McKenzie Funk Esther Gaarlandt Francoise Gaarlandt Kist Thijs Gadiot FreeLens Galerie Dirk Gebhardt Marijke Geelen Borker Coen Geertsema Jan van Gemert Christo Geoghegan Bertus Gerssen Carlo Gianferro Heidi de Gier Frits Gierstberg Jasper Gilijamse Roos Gils Mariette Glas Albers Jan Glerum Lia Goldman Ingo Gotz Peter Granser Henk Greven Jasper Groen Martijn Groeneveld Cocky de Groot Inge de Groot Peter Guettler Anke van Haarlem Anne Haenni Arjan van Hal Ingrid Harms Gregory Harris Neil Harrison Hans Ueli Hasler Frans van Hasselt Maarten van Heems Mieke Heeringa Chantal Heijnen Mark Henderson Hans Hendriks Marlene Herkemij Michael Hermse Arthur Herrman Paul Herrmann Marloes Hiethaar Richard Higginbottom Paul ‘t Hoen Eva Hofman Emile Holba Bert van Hoogenhuyze Korrie Hopstaken Joop Hopster Joost en Joke Hornstra Luc Hornstra Maarten Hornstra Tom Hornstra Alexa ter Horst

Laurien ten Houten Marjan Hoving Ewout Huibers Elisabeth van ‘t Hull Vermaas Eelco van Hulsen Michiel Hulshof Fred Icke Juliette Janssen Lucia Janssen Tom Janssen Els Jekel Michael Jellema Fred Jelsma Cornelie de Jong Mayke Jongsma Antie en Jan Kaan Roy Kahmann Karijn Kakebeeke Felix Kalkman Manja Kamman Emile Kelly Dolph Kessler Vivian Keulards Robin Klaassen Erik Klappe Martijn Kleppe Anneke Kloostra Kim Knoppers Talmon Kochheim Ria Kock Olaf Koens Ben Krewinkel Lars Krueger Sybren Kuiper Jeroen Kummer Tom Lagerberg Margaret Lansink Rindert W. Leegsma Theo Willem van Leeuwen Aernout Leezenberg Percy B. Lehning Oscar Leker Beate Lendt Andra Leurdijk Carolyn Levisson Jann Liebert Baptiste Lignel Geisje van der Linden Christine Lindo Johan Linssen Emmy Lokin Piscaer Alma Loos Hans Loos Marijke Louppen Ron Louwerse Allard Luchsinger Menno Luitjes Celina Lunsford Femke Lutgerink

Michael van Maanen Igor Malashenko Henrik Malmstrom Paul Malschaert Michael Marten Jack Martin Francesca Masarie Michael Mccraw Carol McKay Andre van der Meer Andrea Meuzelaar Gustavo Miotti C.F. van der Molen Davide Monteleone Giovanni Monti Fotolab MPP Gerda Mulder Joachim Naudts Patricia Nauta B.C.M Neggers Simon Neggers Herbert Nelissen Esther van Nes Dieter Neubert Floor Nicolas Pepijn Nicolas Pipo Nicolas Leonie van Nierop Bart Nijkamp Michiel Nijland Bram Nijssen Corinne Noordenbos Job Noordhof Giuseppe Olivieri Mieke Oostwoud Henk Otte Katrien Otten Floris van Overveld Ilker Ozdemir Lodewijk van Paddenburgh Nell Pastors Douglas Penn Steve Pepper Marcus Peters Anna Pfautsch Andrew Phelps Cock Pleijsier Rik Plomp Astrid Pollers Max Prooy Jeppe van Pruissen Mireille de Putter Ingvar Hogni Ragnarsson Rianne Randeraad Marco Rapaccini Elsje van Ree Jukka Reverberi Ramon Reverte Masco Wilfred Roelink

Mike Roelofs Laura van Roessel Loek van Roessel Heidi Romano Peter Rommens Johannes Romppanen Jacqueline de Rooij Tijmen Rooseboom Alexander van Rootselaar Pieter Roozenboom Jewgeni Roppel Jeanette van Rotterdam Rixt Runia Jacobien Rutgers Erik Ruts David Schalliol Pieter van Scherpenberg Hannah Schildt Marike Schipper Samuel Schliske Nils Schmeling Ralph Schmitz Andreas Schoening Meindert Scholma Soeren Schuhmacher Gerrit Schurer Hannah Schwarzbach Roel Segerink Patrick Sijben Iris Sikking Katja Sinnema Fransje Sjenitzer Bart Sleegers Robin Sluijs Rob en Eva Sluys Merlijn Smeele Hans Snellen Frans Soeterbroek Baato Soort Peter Sorantin Frieda Spanjersberg Sander Spek Marijn Staal Michiel Stadhouders Hans Stakelbeek Bonnie Steenman Conny Steenman Jolien Steenman Joop Steenman Lorette Steenman Anoek Steketee Kitty Steketee Truus Stevens Alain Stoeckli Glen Stoker Philip Stroomberg Rik Suermondt Evgenia Sveshinsky Ton Sweep

Marlies Swinkels Bjoern Theye Mirelle Thijsen Mandy Thomas Giovanni Toccafondi Chiara Tocci Jeroen Toirkens Reinier Treur Piero Turk Serge Van Cauwenbergh Jan Vandemoortele Anneke van Veen Christiaan van Veen Evelien Vehof Hanneke van Velzen Mia Verhagen Kirsten Verpaalen C.M.E. Versteeg Henny Verstege Danny Veys Marieke Viergever Jon Vismans Dirk Jan Visser Ellen Visser Geert Vlastuin Henkjan van Vliet Elise Volker Jurryt van de Vooren Tom Voorma Zelda de Vries David Vroom Martijn de Waal Theo de Waal Gijsbert van der Wal Jan van Walsem Rob Wandelee Rolf Weijburg Theijs van Welij Hans van de Wetering Michael Wichita Thomas Wiegand Friso Wiersum Yannik Willing Lars Willumeit Goof van de Winkel Marijke Winnubst Jan Willem Wirtz Peter van de Witte Marieke ten Wolde Stephen Wooldridge Valentin Wormbs Peter Yankowski Walker Lap Ming Yeung Antonia Zennaro Elza Zijlstra Wytze van de Zweep


Everyone has their cross to bear But it is easy to forget things for a while,And when you drink vodka with a lady of the night,Fate creeps up on us again.


Restaurant Lilya Lazarevskaya

* Digi Digi * 


Restaurant Priboy Lazarevskaya

* Proshay * 


Restaurant Yug Lazarevskaya

* Ot Pusti * 


Restaurant Kavkaz Lazarevskaya

* Rasskazhi * 


Restaurant U Moria Novomikhailovsky

* Po Moryu lodochka plila * 


The lady went to the restaurant/After all, you only live once.She ordered a hundred grams of vodka /She wanted to forget. He has a large family,But he said nothing.His heart was poisoned


Restaurant Moniya Novomikhailovsky

* Lubimy moy * 


Restaurant Sprut Novomikhailovsky

* Buket iz belikh roz * 


Restaurant David Novomikhailovsky

* Za chetire morya * 


Restaurant Flamingo Adler

* Argentina –Jamaica 5:0 * 


Restaurant Regatta Sochi

* Nebo na ladoni * 


Restaurant Olymp Novomikhailovsky

* Vino kachnulos na dne bokala * 


Restaurant Astoria Novomikhailovsky

* Bez Tebya * 


Restaurant Volna Adler

* Vspominay Menya * 


Anoth nights what a to kiss bringin


her three da of shashli a delight. s the city o ng togethe


Sochi Singers