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Shevchuk in Finnish

DDT frontman Yury Shevchuk goes to Finland with a concert, a rap and a new book. DDTs 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 launches a new collection of his lyrics that have been translated into Finnish in the hope of reaching a wider audience.
    Photo: Suomi-Venäjä-Seura

  • The cover of Shevchuks book of poems.
    Photo: VILLE SUTINEN

Yury Shevchuk, the singer and songwriter with arguably Russias 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 bands concert in Helsinki later this month.

The collection Every Spring I Die (Joka kevät minä kuolen) is named after a quote from Shevchuks song Tenderness (Nezhnost) from DDTs 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 Shevchuks 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 Helsinkis 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 DDTs alternate set, Solo. Though it features DDTs 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 [Akvariums 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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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