Shevchuk in Finnish
DDT frontman Yury Shevchuk goes to Finland with a concert, a rap and a new book. DDT’s upcoming concert in Helsinki will be more intimate than usual, with Shevchuk reciting poetry between the songs.
Published: April 10, 2013 (Issue # 1754)
Yury Shevchuk, the singer and songwriter with arguably Russia’s leading rock band DDT, is becoming more of a household name in Finland, as his songs and poetry will be published in Finnish to coincide with his band’s concert in Helsinki later this month.
The collection – “Every Spring I Die” (Joka kevät minä kuolen) – is named after a quote from Shevchuk’s song “Tenderness” (Nezhnost) from DDT’s most recent album “Otherwise” (Inache). “Every spring I die, from the strict fasting,” it goes.
Translated by Finnish author Tomi Huttunen, the book is based on Shevchuk’s Russian collection of lyrics and poetry called “Solo” (Solnik), which was published by Novaya Gazeta in 2009, but more recent material – mainly selected lyrics from “Otherwise” – has been added.
The work is a follow-up to a book about St. Petersburg rock music that Huttunen published last year.
Called “Pietari on Rock” (a pun that can be roughly translated as “St. Petersburg Means Rock”), the book was furnished with an appendix of selected Russian rock lyrics both in Russian and Finnish, including those by Shevchuk.
Huttunen – the University of Helsinki’s acting professor of Russian literature, whose academic interests are focused on the early 20th-century Russian avant-garde – said the literature-centered St. Petersburg rock music of the 1980s had been his other longtime interest since the era of perestroika and the Russian rock revolution.
Unlike the bombastic “Otherwise” set that DDT took to Finland last year, the upcoming Helsinki concert will be DDT’s alternate set, “Solo.” Though it features DDT’s full band, it is more intimate and poetic, with Shevchuk reciting his poetry between the songs.
The collection will be out by the date of the concert, at which it will be available for a nominal price.
“Alongside [Akvarium’s Boris] Grebenshchikov, Shevchuk is one of the authors in Russian rock who should be seen as serious poets and whose work deserves to be published as literature,” Huttunen said.
“This is what happens to Finnish rock poets such as Tuomari Nurmio and Ismo Alanko, whose songs were published as poetry collections. So there is a certain parallel between Russian and Finnish rock poetry.
“On the other hand, Shevchuk can be understood by the Finnish reader; I think this is quality poetry, which is accessible in translation. He has both love poems and social poems that tell us about the pressing issues of today.
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